The Whipsnakes have been the most consistent team in the PLL for four years now. They won the first two championships, have played in all three championship games, and had the league’s first two MVPs. With their dominance in the league’s short history, it’s easy to root against the Whipsnakes, but you have to be able to respect their greatness.
The Whipsnakes have been the top dog of the PLL since their inception. With a 27-8 record, and a 13-3 record in one point games (through Week 10 of the 2022 season), their consistency is something other teams are envious of. They are the only team with multiple MVPs (Matt Rambo and Zed Williams), they have one of the best faceoff specialists in Joe Nardella, and their defense is always one of the top units in the league.
Despite their constant changing of role players, the Whipsnakes never seem to have a true deficiency in their game. Last season when Kyle Bernlohr struggled, the offense stepped up and played even better. With the offense struggling this season, the defense and Bernlohr have been dominant to make up for the offensive struggles.
Every team in the PLL has star power and that’s no different with the Whipsnakes. With Matt Rambo and Zed Williams, the Whips easily have one of the best one-two punches in the league, but it’s the role players that make this team so dominant. The supporting cast truly understands their roles on the team and are willing to accept different roles than what they may be used to.
Connor Kirst was an attackman at Rutgers, after a rookie year where he struggled to find consistent playing time, he was switched to defensive midfield this season. Sometimes, Rambo and Williams take a back seat to Mike Chanenchuk, Jay Carlson, and Justin Guterding. The Whips only care about winning, it doesn’t matter who is leading the charge, it’s all about the team. This is made very clear by coach Jim Stagnitta in training camp every year.
“You have to put yourself aside, If we’re gonna be successful, you’re gonna get the personal accolades and the rewards will come by the success of the whole.”
– Jim Stagnitta, Whipsnakes Head Coach
Even with their balanced roster and previous success, the Whipsnakes came into this season as an afterthought for the league’s best team. Chaos are the defending champions, Atlas were coming off a breakout 2021 season on top of adding Chris Gray with the No.2 pick, and Archers added more firepower while filling other holes. It was expected that the rest of the league would catch up to the Whips.
They started the season 5-1, but there were still a lot of questions, especially since the Whips offense didn’t seem to be clicking with only a +5 goal differential. But over the last few weeks the Whips have taken their game to the next level, gaining momentum as they enter the playoffs. With the regular season wrapping up in Seattle, the Whips have locked down the No.1 seed in the playoffs and a first round bye, and if the last three seasons are any indication, the Whips have a very strong chance of playing for the PLL Championship once again.
The Whipsnakes have easily become the model franchise of the PLL. I hate to compare lacrosse to other sports, but they are a lot like the Patriots in the NFL, or the Yankees from the 90s/2000s, where only one stat matters to them, wins and losses. Even with all the star power and improvements to teams around the league, the Whipsnakes are still the top dog of the PLL and might hold that distinction for years to come.