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The Cannons’ Next Shot

The Cannons Lacrosse Club is the Premier Lacrosse League’s newest team, and features a legacy in the sport, unlike any other club in the league.

Lacrosse heavyweights such as Paul Rabil, Max Siebald, Bill Daye, and many others who have donned the illustrious red, white, and blue will go down in history as some of the Cannons’ brightest.

Since their inaugural season in the PLL, the Cannons have struggled to explode onto the scene as a force to be reckoned with, week to week in the regular season. The club went 3-6 in its first season in 2021 and 1-9 during the 2022 campaign – it’s second in the league. 

A Closer Look 

This team has some legit firepower on both ends of the field. Finishers like Lyle Thompson, Ryan Drenner, and Asher Nolting have been extremely fun to watch this past season; using their craftiness to get to the cage on some of the league’s premier defenders. 

Offensively, the Cannons ended the season fourth in the league in one-point goals, tied for third with the Whipsnakes in shots on goal, and got in a three-way tie with the Redwoods and Waterdogs in team shooting percentage (28%).

Furthermore, the Cannons’ power play (Man-up) percentage was last in the league as they converted on just three of 23 such chances; which yields a measly 19% success rate. If they can implement more assisted goals into their offense (tied for last in the league) and make more of their power play opportunities, this is a completely different team in 2023. 

Enforcers like Nick Marrocco, Jake Pulver, and Brodie Merrill (who is likely to be this game’s Tom Brady or Lebron James) have been exciting to watch protect their paint game in and game out.

On the defensive end, goalie Colin Kirst and Nick Marrocco need to stop seeing so many shots. The boys in red, white, and blue descended to last in the PLL in the scores against average(SAA) column, were fifth in ground balls, and tied for second in saves (132) last season with the Atlas. The penalty count could also be better as they had the third-most in the league. 

Both sides of the ball experienced statistical highs and lows this past season. Those highs and lows also played out on the field with the Cannons coming extremely close to securing wins in week four against Chrome, week five against the Chais, and week eight against Waterdogs, just to name a few.  

What’s Next? 

With the departure of Head Coach and General Manager Sean Quirk, what is it going to take for the Cannons to make a legitimate boom in the 2023 season? 

Young guns such as Bubba Fairman, Asher Nolting, Stephen Refuss, Jonathan Donville, and Ryan Tierney are going to be go-to guys for a coach coming in to make some big changes for next season. Building some rapport with Thompson, Marrocco, and potentially Merrill, who are the leaders of this team, will also be key.

Offseason Implications 

The way the offseason is played will also be a huge part of this team’s success. The dream of this team turning into a league juggernaut is not too far from reality. We just watched the Waterdogs take the league for a walk and secure their first championship in 2022, but it took them a couple of seasons to get the recipe right. From the Collegiate Draft to the Free Agency, if they can put the right pieces together, the Cannons will find their mojo in 2023. 

Currently, Brodie Merrill, Nick Marrocco, Ryan Tierney, Andrew Newbold, Matt Kavanagh, and Chris Aslanian are the only current players that are eligible for free agency. The Guys that jump off the page for me right now are Brodie Merrill and Nick Marrocco. 

Merrill, who just turned 41 in November, could decide to hang up the cleats this off-season; but Marrocco is one guy who could be a game-changer for any team in search of a goalie. It’s hard to say what his options are currently, but a change of scenery would be great for this keeper’s further development. 

Realistically, the only team I see that matches his style of play, intensity, and personnel fit would be the Redwoods. They have Jack Kelly currently eligible for the Free Agency, but he has taken up a larger role for the team this past season and has improved almost all across the board statistically due to more time. The ‘Woods are known for being a gritty group, and Marrocco surely passes that vibe check. 

Timmy Trouter, who has served as the teams’ go-to guy for the previous three seasons has been minimized in his role since this season and it’s hard to say for sure why. He also has another year left in his contract.

If anything were to happen to either of these goalies I think Nick Marrocco would serve as an amazing option to elevate the ‘Woods next season. Since he will likely play better when he’s not seeing so many shots. 

I personally can’t wait to see what’s in store for this talented program in 2023. The Cannons have the talent and the means to be in the top three this upcoming season.

Source : lacrossebucket