Archers

Archers Lacrosse Club: 2021 Premier Lacrosse League Preview

The Archers had a phenomenal 2021 offseason. They acquired star attackman Connor Fields from Chaos, adding him to an already stacked attack unit. I also really liked their first two rookie picks in the draft: Jared Conners was named the most outstanding midfielder in college lacrosse, becoming the second-ever LSM to take home the award, and Tre Leclaire is a versatile offensive player with an absolute hammer from the outside – he could be lethal in man-up situations. The Archers lost in the semifinals to Chaos in 2020, but they are out for revenge. 

Additions

Trade: Connor Fields (A)

Entry Draft: Graeme Hossack (D), Ryan McNamara (M), Warren Jeffrey (D)

College Draft: Jared Conners (LSM), Tre Leclaire (A/M), Jeff Trainor (M), Conor Gaffney (FO)

Player Pool: Latrell Harris (SSDM), Nic Washuta (G), Nate Solomon (M), Noah Rak (FO)

Offense

Projected Attack Starters: Marcus Holman, Grant Ament, Conner Fields. This is the best attack line in the league. Will Manny was the lefty on this line last year, but he will not start over Fields, which illustrates how good the unit is. Instead, expect the Archers to use Manny out of the box and try to get him a short stick matchup. Ament is the model of an x-attackman, and he had 20 points in six games last year to go along with 14 assists. Holman will continue to show up and score goals, and this attacking unit is going to be a nightmare for opposing defenses. 

Projected Midfield Starters: Tom Schreiber, Christian Mazzone, Ryan Ambler. Schreiber had the most points in the league from the midfield position in 2020 and has cemented himself as the best midfielder in the league after being named the Midfielder of the Year two years running. He can shoot and pass with both hands with ease and he has the traits of an elite midfielder. Mazzone and Ambler each scored 9 points last season. Mazzone is the sharpshooter, as he scored all his points through goals, while Ambler provides another passing threat from the midfield. 

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Defense/ Goaltending

Projected Defensive Starters: Graeme Hossack, Matt McMahon, Jared Conners. McMahon led the PLL in caused turnovers last year with 12 and the Archers also have the best LSM in the professional lacrosse in Scott Ratliff, although they just drafted the best LSM in college lacrosse in Jared Conners. Expect Ratliff to remain the starter at LSM and Conners to bump down to close defense. Conners will have to work hard to crack the starting lineup, but he appears able to beat out guys like Jackson Place and Latrell Harris. Conners and Ratliff offer a unique ability to shut down the team’s opposing midfield while also providing an offensive spark as a threat to score in transition. 

Goalie: The Archers employed a two-goalie system last year and it seemed to work well. Drew Adams and Adam Ghitelman spit time last year and both had a save percentage above 45%, with Adams at 49% and Ghitelman at 58%. Adams played more than Ghitelmanm, but the one-two punch proved to be effective. Adams is tall and thinner than Ghitelman but lacks some agility and speed in net. They each offer a unique skillset and opposing teams will have trouble creating a game plan when they do not know which goalie they are facing.

Face-Off

Stephen Kelly is the Archers’ primary FOGO. They also have Duke legend, Brendan Fowler. Fowler and Kelly both ranked in the top seven in face-off win percentage, as Kelly won 49% of his draws while Fowler won 48%. With dominant FOGOs around the league like Joe Nardella, Jake Withers, and Connor Farrell, the Archers’ strategy of having two competent FOGOs is smart. Like Adams and Ghitelman in net, Kelly and Fowler each have unique skillsets.

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