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Rookies Rule in Week 1

Analysts have a hard enough time explaining the past, much less predicting the future. For this rookie PLL class, you don’t need a PHD to realize that the class is both deep and star studded. Watching this play out will be a primary storyline of the 2024 PLL summer. The conversation about the 2024 rookie class has begun. 

There were eight first goal scorers in the PLL from Week #1 in Albany.

  • Brennan O’Neil – Denver Outlaws midfield (1,1)
  • Josh Zawada – Denver Outlaws attack (1,0)
  • Ross Scott – Carolina Chaos attack (2,0)
  • Shane Knobloch – Carolina Chaos midfield (1,0)
  • TJ Malone – Maryland Whipsnakes attack (3,3)
  • Tyler Carpenter – NY Atlas LSM (1,0)
  • Connor Shellenberger – NY Atlas attack (3,5) 
  • Matt Brandau – Philly Waterdogs Midfield (1,1)

Debut performers:

  • Pat Kavanaugh – Boston Cannons Midfield, (0,1)
  • Jake Piseno – Denver Outlaws LSM (0,1) 
  • Luke Wierman – Denver Outlaws FO 18-27 FO’s (66%), 10 GB’s. 
  • Ajax Zappitello – Maryland Whipsnakes defense
  • Jack Dibenedetto- Utah Archers defense 
  • Mason Woodward – Utah Archers defense
  • Stephen Zupicich – Maryland Whipsnakes LSM
  • Graham Bundy Jr. – Denver Outlaws midfield 
  • Beau Pederson – Utah Archers SSDM
  • Liam Entenmann – NY Atlas goalie 

18 rookies made their PLL debut. 

Undrafted free agent from Denver, Jack Dibenedetto dressed and played defense for the Utah Archers. The Buffalo native was a longtime mainstay for Matt Browns quarterfinalist 2024 Pios squad. 

Tewaaraton winner and national champion Pat Kavanagh had one assist for the Boston Cannons while running out of the box. That’s out of position – it’ll be interesting to see how long he’s employed in that role. A week of rest and recovery prior to Charlotte will benefit the young lad after a celebratory end of May. 

Irish goalie Liam Entenmann dressed but did not play on Sunday for the NY Atlas. It’ll take him around three weeks to adjust to the speed of the PLL and then I fully expect Entenmann to shine. 

Albany’s LSM Jake Piseno had an encouraging debut showcasing the ability to safely snare first time grounders and then delivering strikes to teammates. His skills and passing regimen is without peer for the LSM position. He will be a force on the face-off wings, in transition and then in the early offense sub phase, where the rookie can thrive as a playmaker. He’s versatile and powerful, a keeper for sure and a potential All-Star. 

Maryland alum Luke Weirman got his first taste of the PLL in Albany and after rehabbing a national championship finger contusion performed very well for the Denver Outlaws. He went 18-27 and scooped up 10 ground balls and appeared comfortable with the accelerated face-off cadence. Weirman has a great capacity for finding technique solutions, an ingenuity that should allow for a fruitful career. 

Ronan Jacoby scored against the Cannons and the Whipsnakes last weekend in Albany. Technically, Jacoby is not part of the rookie class, but he is a first year player in the PLL. 

Give him some D3 love.

Credit: Wesleyan Athletics

Jacoby played in 48 games for Division III Wesleyan, scoring 150 goals and adding 28 assists before transferring to Rutgers prior to the 2022 season. That spring RU was a semifinalist and Jacoby started in all 19 games and scored 37 goals with 11 assists. The Glastonbury, CT native earned a big break when Chris Bates activated him for the Archers in the 2024 Championship series. He finished with 20 points and the lefty was invited to camp in Albany. His entry into the PLL hasn’t been easy. 

The day after the Championship series Jacoby was contacted by Atlas Head Coach Mike Pressler. On the back of his breakthrough performance he was invited to camp by the Atlas and ultimately made the week one starting lineup.

In the complex world of the PLL, successful players boil their game down and specialize. Jacoby has a sidewinding left-handed shot and hunts opportunities from the wing. He appears to have an acute sense of when to stick to the script and when to ad lib. 

Freedom is not attained by always following the formula. But those who don’t follow the formula aren’t granted freedom. Finding that sweet spot for offensive players is paramount. Becoming a playmaker within the scheme is the goal. 

Jacoby is an underdog worth rooting for next weekend in Charlotte when Atlas plays Chaos on Saturday night at 7:30pm (ESPN+). 

Here is the full schedule for week #2 from Charlotte in American Legion Memorial Stadium. Chaos fans, the home team, should wear red. 

Week 2 Schedule

Friday June 7

California Redwoods vs Carolina Chaos 6pm ESPN+

Utah Archers vs Denver Outlaws 8:30pm ESPN+

Saturday June 8

Maryland Whipsnakes vs Boston Cannons 5pm ESPN2

New York Atlas vs Carolina Chaos 7:30pm ESPN+