2021 Premier League Lacrosse: How to watch, schedule, top players

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The Premier Lacrosse League is getting set for its third season as a league this summer, with games starting on June 4. After a unique 2020 season due to COVID-19, the league is set to start back up with a full-season style of play. 

The format of the season isn’t the only thing that has changed. There are some new faces and even a new team in the league. With that in mind, here is everything you need to know about the 2021 PLL season:

What teams are playing in the 2021 PLL season?

In its third season, the PLL has eight teams now. With the PLL merging with Major League Lacrosse, the league added the Cannons Lacrosse Club. This comes just one year after forming the Waterdogs Lacrosse Club after the inaugural season. 

In addition to the Cannons and Waterdogs, the original six teams -- Archers, Whipsnakes, Atlas, Redwoods, Chaos and Chrome -- will also be competing.

When and where are games during the 2021 PLL season?

The PLL is able to play a full schedule in 2021 after having to change the structure of the season due to COVID-19 last year. 

This season, there will be seven weeks of regular-season play, an All-Star weekend and three weeks for the postseason. The season starts on June 4 and the PLL Championship has been set for Sept. 19. 

Each weekend will feature a different playing location for the league. The places the PLL will be hitting are, in order of schedule, Boston, Atlanta, Baltimore, Long Island, Minneapolis, San Jose, Colorado Springs, Albany, Salt lake City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. 

The regular-season weekends will include play from Friday to Sunday, with five to six games being played in a weekend. Each team in the PLL will play nine regular-season games.

What happened in the 2020 PLL season?

With COVID-19 affecting the PLL season in 2020, the league did not play a full season, but rather had a championship series. Each team played in Group Play games to determine seeding for the championship tournament. Whipsnakes went undefeated and finished first, followed by Chrome, Archers, Redwoods, Waterdogs, Atlas and Chaos. 

Whipsnakes defeated Chaos 12-6 in the 2020 PLL Championship, with Zed Williams scoring five of his six goals in the fourth quarter of the game. He also took home Tournament MVP honors. Surprisingly, Chaos won two straight games to get to the championship, with upset wins over No. 2 Chrome and No. 3 Archers, after going 0-4 and Group Play games. 

So far, it has just been Whipsnakes to raise the PLL Championship Trophy, winning in 2019 as well as 2020. 

Who were the best players in the 2020 season?

Matt Rambo of Whipsnakes continued to dominate the league, leading all players in points (25) and assists (18). His teammate, Zed Williams, led the league in goals with 20, and fellow Whipsnake Joe Nardella had the best faceoff percentage (72%) and ground balls (65). Whipsnake goaltender Kyle Bernlohr finished with the best save percentage in the league at 63%. 

Grant Ament of Archers was sensational in his rookie season, finishing second in the league in points and third in assists. Josh Byrne of Chaos finished top-five in goals, points and assists in the league. Archers’ Matt McMahon and Atlas’ Cade van Raaphorst ended in a tie for caused turnovers with 12. 

What new players have joined the PLL?

With the 2021 Player Entry Draft and the College Draft completed, there are a number of new faces in the PLL.

Most notably from the MLL is Lyle Thompson, the brother of fellow lacrosse stars Miles and Jeremy Thompson. He was a phenom at the University at Albany, setting an NCAA record for the most career points in Division I history with 400 and the second-most career assists with 225. He is now a member of Cannons LC. 

From the 2021 College Draft, Jeff Teat was taken with the No. 1 overall pick by Atlas. The attackman from Cornell was previously drafted in 2020 by Chaos, but he chose to return to Cornell for a year by using his fifth-year of eligibility. Duke’s Michael Sowers was taken No. 2 by Waterdogs and Chrome selected Duke’s JT Giles-Harris with the No. 3 pick. Other notable players taken are Notre Dame’s faceoff specialist, T.D. Ierlan, at No. 4 and Mac O’Keeffe, the Penn State attackman, at No. 6.

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