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Jeff Teat opened the 2024 PLL season with 11 points in a win over the Cannons.

Atlas, Archers Kick Off 2024 With Wins in Albany

June 1, 2024
Phil Shore
Premier Lacrosse League

Connor Shellenberger, the No. 2 pick in the Premier Lacrosse League College Draft, didn’t arrive at New York Atlas training camp in Albany until Friday afternoon. All-Star attackman and former No. 1 pick Jeff Teat said the two hadn’t gotten a chance to play together in full pads.

You wouldn’t have been able to tell based on the performance they put together Saturday afternoon on the opening weekend of the 2024 PLL season.

Teat scored four goals and dished seven assists, while Shellenberger, in his pro debut, scored three goals with four assists as the Atlas defeated the Boston Cannons 19-12.

“It’s easy for us to find chemistry. That just goes to Shelly’s competitiveness and IQ,” Teat said. “For us, it was a little bit of questions before the game of where we will be, what hand and stuff, but really excited. It’s really easy for anybody to step in and play with him.”

The Atlas’ Virginia contingent got them off to a quick start. Midfielder Dox Aitken, playing in his first PLL game since 2022, scored the first goal, and 36 seconds later, Shellenberger scored his first PLL goal off an assist by Xander Dickson.

The Cannons came back, though, and took the lead with a two-pointer from Matt Campbell and another score from Ryan Drenner.

The teams exchanged runs through the remainder of the first and second quarters, but the Atlas had the final run of the half. Dickson scored three goals in the final 3:19 of the second quarter — two off assists by Shellenberger and one off an assist by Teat — to give New York a 9-8 lead going into the locker room.

The Atlas opened the game up in the third quarter, outscoring Boston 7-3 in the period. Teat assisted the first five Atlas scores of the quarter, including on a two-pointer from LSM Koby Smith that head coach Mike Pressler said was a turning point, and then scored one himself to give the team a 16-10 lead that put the game out of reach.

“Jeff made my job really easy today,” Shellenberger said. “That’s the best player in the world for the last couple years now. That was another exciting thing about today was getting to play with him and learn from him.”

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Cannons head coach Brian Holman said the duo of Teat and Shellenberger was impressive.

“They put a lot of pressure on you,” he said. “We got a little too caught up in starting at the both of them instead of focusing on the off-ball situation.”

Teat acknowledged he and Shellenberger would get a lot of attention for their efforts in the victory, but he made sure to emphasize that it was a team-victory. He praised the defense for its work against a potent Cannons offense.

Brett Maker moved back down to close defense after playing LSM as a rookie. He, Gavin Adler and Michael Rexrode limited Asher Nolting and Marcus Holman — both MVP finalists last summer — to three goals combined.

Tim Troutner started in goal for the Atlas over Liam Entenmann and made 13 saves.


The Philadelphia Waterdogs held the Utah Archers scoreless for the final 23 minutes of the second half and scored seven consecutive goals to end the game, but it still wasn’t enough to beat the defending champion Utah Archers, who held on thanks to two huge saves from Brett Dobson in the finals seconds.

Utah won 12-11.

A close game was expected in a rematch of last year’s championship game. In 2023, the Archers and Waterdogs played three games decided by one goal each. The start of Saturday’s game seemed like a fourth consecutive one-score game was going to happen.

Utah scored the first five goals and held Philadelphia scoreless until Ryan Conrad scored with 29 seconds remaining in the first quarter. The teams exchanged goals in the second quarter, with the Archers retaining a 9-4 lead at halftime.

“We said at halftime, this is in their DNA to come back, and they did,” Utah head coach Chris Bates said. “We made it interesting. There’s a lot we’re going to look at that were first-game mistakes, but to get out of a game like that with a win is exciting for us.”

Grant Ament, playing out of the midfield again just like he did at the end of last season, led Utah with three goals. He also dished an assist for four points, tying Tom Schreiber for the game’s highest point total.

Dobson made 22 saves, including two in the final 2.5 seconds on shots from Ethan Walker and Ryan Conrad, to preserve the victory.