Redwoods

Redwoods Lacrosse Club: 2021 Premier Lacrosse League Preview

Redwoods is loaded. They went a disappointing 3-3 in the tournament in 2020, although they did make it to the semifinals. They traded for veteran star attackman Rob Pannell to add to an already stacked attack unit and filled a huge need in the rookie draft by selecting TD Ierlan at the face-off position. Ierlan started his college career at Albany, transferred to Yale, then finished his career with the Denver Pioneers. Ierlan left college lacrosse with the highest face-off win percentage in the history of the sport and he should provide a much-needed jolt in the face-off department. The Redwoods also return two top midfielders in Myles Jones and Sergio Perkovic. Do not be surprised if this team makes a run at a PLL title.

Additions

Trade: Rob Pannell (A)

Entry Draft: Ryan Lee (A), Isaiah Davis-Allen (SSDM)

College Draft: TD Ierlan (FO), Charlie Bertrand (M), Jamie Trimboli (M), Charlie Leonard (FO)

Player Pool: Brian Phipps (G)

Offense

Projected Starting Attack: Rob Pannell, Jules Heningburg, Ryder Garnsey. The Redwoods might have the deepest attack unit in the PLL. Rob Pannell will take much of the attention as the number one option on the team, allowing Garnsey and Heningburg to be even more productive. The team also has Matt Kavanagh and got Ryan Lee in the MLL entry draft, the Offensive Player of the Year in the MLL during the 2020 season. Pannell will remain the focal point of the offense, but I expect frequent changes between Lee, Heningburg, Garnsey, and Kavanagh. This unit is going to score goals and should be a fun watch. 

Projected Starting Midfield: Myles Jones, Sergio Perkovic, Joe Walters. Jones and Perkovic are both 6 foot 5 and can shoot well over 105 mph. Walters has been a top midfielder in both the MLL and PLL and provides another threat from the midfield position. The Redwoods also have great depth at both offensive and defensive midfield. Their second line could be veteran Kyle Harrison paired with rookie Charlie Bertrand and Jamie Trimboli. Bertrand was great for Virginia and help propel them to a national championship, but with the attack getting all the attention, the midfield units have to be big for the ‘Woods this season. The team has two excellent short-stick defensive midfielders in Jack Near and Isaiah Davis-Allen, both of whom have shown elite ability to guard a team’s top midfielder as well as pose a threat in transition. 

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Defense/ Goaltending

Projected Starting Defense: Matt Landis, Eddy Glazener, Garrett Epple. Like the Whipsnakes defensive unit that has three Maryland graduates, the Redwoods tout an all-Notre Dame lineup. Landis was one of my favorite players to watch at Notre Dame, as he constantly took the challenge of guarding the opposing team’s top attackman. Epple might be the hardest hitter in the league and has provided many brutal collisions on the field, including causing nine turnovers last season. The defensive unit has elite on-ball defenders in Landis and Glazener and an excellent LSM in John Sexton. Sexton might be the second-best LSM in the PLL behind only the Archers’ Scott Ratliff. Overall, the Redwoods have elite defenders at both the midfield and close defense positions. 

Goalie: Tim Troutner and Brian Phipps. Troutner has been the starter, but Phipps is no slouch. Phipps is an MLL veteran and although the job is Troutner’s to lose, I would not count out Phipps. Troutner had a save percentage of 56% in 2020, and although that number is high for a goalie it was the third-lowest percentage in the league, which illustrates the considerable talent in the league as a whole. If Troutner has a tough training camp and Phipps can do what he did in the MLL, the Redwoods could use a two-goalie look similar to Archers’ Drew Adams and Adam Ghitelman. 

Face-Off

The one thing this Redwoods team was severally lacking in the 2020 season was the face-off department. Face-off wins lead to extra possessions and extra possessions help teams close out games. The Redwoods saw they had a weakness at the face-off dot and immediately addressed it in the offseason by drafting Ierlan, the best college FOGO I have ever seen. Expect Ierlan to be the starter from day one, though they also added another FOGO in the draft in Charlie Leonard. Leonard won 63% of his draws at Notre Dame in 2021 and his presence alongside Ierlan will massively upgrade the face unit.

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