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Matt Rambo Whipsnakes Handle Archers, Claim PLL Championship Series No. 1 Seed
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Whipsnakes Handle Archers, Claim PLL Championship Series No. 1 Seed

The group play in the 2020 PLL Championship Series is over and unarguably the Whipsnakes are the prettiest ponies in the show.

Everyone gets a day of rest on Monday, but the Whips will get an extra little break earning the first round bye. The first two games on the postseason lineup are on NBC Gold, so you might as well get the package early and catch up on all of the action you missed.

After only four games, here’s to the Whipsnakes, our 2020 PLL regular season champs.

PLL Championship Series Standings

Whipsnakes 4 0 57 33 +24
Chrome 3 1 50 45 +5
Archers 3 1 44 46 -2
Redwoods 2 2 39 42 -3
Waterdogs 1 3 39 42 -3
Atlas 1 3 37 47 -10
Chaos 0 4 32 33 -11

The eight goal loss in the finale would drop the Archers to the No. 3 seed, losing by eight goals to fall in the goal differential battle to the Chrome.

Big Stats Guys

  • Matt Rambo (Whipsnakes) 2G, 8A
  • John Haus (Whipsnakes) 4G, 2A
  • Zed Williams (Whipsnakes) 4G, 1A
  • Brad Smith (Whipsnakes) 3G
  • Joe Nardella (Whipsnakes) 21/30, 14GB, 1CT
  • Mark McNeil (Archers) 2CT, 5GB

Playoff Picture

  • No. 1 Seed – Whipsnakes – Round one bye. Face winner of Redwoods vs. Waterdogs on Thursday.
  • No. 2 Seed – Chrome – Face No. 7 seed Chaos on Tuesday
  • No. 3 Seed – Archers – Face No. 6 seed Atlas on Tuesday
  • No. 4 Seed Redwoods – Face No. 5 seed Waterdogs on Tuesday
  • No. 5 Seed Waterdogs – Face No. 4 seed Redwoods on Tuesday
  • No. 6 Seed Atlas – Face No. 3 seed Archers on Tuesday
  • No. 7 Seed Chaos – Face No. 2 seed Chrome on Tuesday

Lose and leave the bubble. Tuesday begins the single elimination aspect of the PLL Championship series and it will take three wins to become champions, two if you’re the Whipsnakes.

Tuesday’s Games

  • No. 2 Chrome vs No. 7 Chaos – 5:30 p.m. ET on NBC Gold
  • No. 4 Redwoods vs No. 5 Waterdogs – 8 p.m. ET on NBC Gold
  • No. 3 Archers vs No. 6 Atlas – 10:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network

Whipsnakes 17, Archers 11

Whipsnakes Handle Archers, Claim PLL Championship Series No. 1 Seed
Photo: Premi

It’s hard to imagine after a six goal pull-away from the Archers that anything could cause the Whipsnakes wheels to fall off. They carried a head of steam into 2020 and, through the addition of pieces like Zed Williams and Brad Smith to the lineup, have only grown stronger.

Matt Rambo and Williams were a match made in heaven, Rambo with a pair of goals and three helpers and Williams with a hat trick in the first 24 minutes. Then Rambo went on to set the PLL points and assists in a game record, finishing with 2 goals and 8 helpers for 10 points. Rambo is the most effective player in professional lacrosse and has just proven why he has a legitimate right to maintain the MVP title.

It’s surprising that the halftime score, 8-6, wouldn’t reflect the margin of the final. The game was seemed to be an evenly weighted heavyweight bout, with both teams exchanging their blows for the strong majority of the game. Then the Whipsnakes unabashedly pulled away.

Three guys completed a hat trick in the big win and one of them wasn’t even Rambo. The versatile skill set of Brad Smith gave hime every reason to be part of the rookie of the year conversation. Although Smith was a 2019 selection, spent last season rehabbing injury and is on an absolute tear through the Championship Series. Smith’s hat trick was crucial to stay at cruising speed but the real man of the second half was John Haus. Haus chipping in four goals, three after the break, adding to the bank all the way into the final seconds.

Joe Nardella had the hot hand again at the face-off X, giving the Whipsnakes the ball on 21-of-30 whistles. He has yet to slow his dominant reign and Nardella’s ability to give the Whips countless possessions without a fight has given them the upper-hand every game. Coach Stagnitta was right to go with only his man man for the Championship Series and the faith in Nardella needs to withstand two more evenings.

Adam Ghitelman got the Archers start again and came of out firing, lowering his shoulder on Rambo trying to wrap the crease on his first drive and walked out with 7 saves on 15 shots. It wasn’t his strongest stand  percentage-wise but his presence was strong nonetheless. Drew Adams was mirrored near identical numbers, posting one extra save on one extra shot. The net-minding duo just saw their defense stretched to a breakdown they haven’t experienced yet in the Championship Series. Sloppy self-control led to penalties and every inch they would give, Rambo’s crew was taking a mile.

The game seemed to be heading for a photo finish until the Whipsnakes busted the doors off with a 5-to-0 run for a five goal lead. Archers had a lot of little surges of energy but the sparks could never start a fire. Everyone was having a good game, but they didn’t have a hero to have a great game. Rookie phenom Grant Ament seemed to be missing looks for the first time this week, missing Marcus Holman floating open a few times in the afternoon. Will Manny and Ament combined for 13 shots, but only connected one time each. Ryan Ambler and Christian Mazzone have been consistent injections into the offense, Ambler scoring on 2-of-4 attempts and Mazzone on 2-of-5.

When things aren’t working, it’s alright to mix it up. Tom Schreiber out of the box in transition is working. Leaning on the whole depth chart is working. Let things work. Archers could very well see this Whipsnakes uint again at the end of the road. They have a few games to pull together the ultimate team win. Archers know what it looks like, because Whipsnakes just slapped them in the face with it.