With the regular season behind us, it’s now win or go home for everyone: it’s the 2021 PLL Playoffs.
Fans were spoiled with great lacrosse in the last weekend of the regular season, and they said goodbye to two legends of the game in John Galloway and Joel White. The great lacrosse should continue this week with some very intriguing matchups in the quarterfinals.
The PLL returns to Utah in what should be a picturesque weekend of playoff lacrosse. The Waterdogs get a week off after finishing atop the league standings and earning the bye, which will be an extra benefit come next week.
2021 PLL Playoffs: Quarterfinals
No. 6 Chaos vs. No. 3 Archers – Friday, Aug. 20 at 8:30 p.m. EST (NBCSN, Peacock)
Although it’s a different season, many people are wondering if you’ll see the Chaos make a run again like they did in last year’s PLL Playoffs. Standing in their way is one of the most dynamic offenses in the league that’s fresh off a Connor Fields OT winner.
The Archers have been a consistent team all season, and one has to think that they have been building for this playoff run all summer long. They have an embarrassment of riches at the attack and midfield positions that can cause major problems for opposing defenses.
On the other hand, Chaos is a team that will back down from no one and has a head coach who knows how to motivate players in big moments. The Chaos need a huge game out of Blaze Riordan to stay in this one, and if they can win the middle of the field at the faceoff stripe, they will put themselves in a position to score an upset. Faceoffs have been an issue for the Archers, and if they can get past the Chaos, that will continue to be a major storyline.
No. 7 Cannons vs. No. 2 Atlas – Saturday, Aug. 21 at 2:30 p.m. EST (NBC, Peacock)
The Atlas have had two close calls the last two weeks, first a one-goal victory over the Cannons, then a one-goal defeat to the Waterdogs in the final game of the regular season. The Cannons are riding the emotional wave of a big W last week that put them in the 2021 PLL Playoffs.
The faceoff stripe has been the Achilles’ heel of the Cannons for most of the season. If they can keep it close to 50 percent against Trevor Baptiste, they will give themselves a good chance to be in the game down the stretch. Defending Jeff Teat will be no small task, but guys like Dan Bucaro and Jake Carraway, who have emerged lately, could cause major issues for the Cannons.
Playoffs are a different animal, and as important as it is to have players who get the job done, it’s just as important to have coaches who have been battle tested in this situation. Coming off of an MLL championship, we’ll see what Sean Quirk has up his sleeve for the PLL postseason!
No. 5 Whipsnakes vs. No. 4 Redwoods – Saturday, Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. EST (NBCSN, Peacock)
This will be a rematch from last week but with one major caveat: the absence of TD Ierlan. His injured knee kept him out of Redwoods’ second game of last weekend, and he has been ruled out for Saturday.
This matchup is slowing becoming a repeat thing in the playoffs and is quickly evolving into a major rivalry in the PLL. The Whipsnakes have been playing with fire all season long, constantly dealing with close contests, but with Matt Rambo back and an advantage at the faceoff X, this definitely gives them some advantages heading into Saturday.
The Redwoods will have to control the transition game and try to win possessions back with their ride to make up for any lost possessions in the middle of the field. Expect this matchup to come down to the wire, just like the 2019 and 2020 PLL Playoffs. The Woods are aiming to finally get one over the Whips in the postseason.