IPLL Playoff Preview: Quarterfinals

The IPLL Quarterfinals kick off this Thursday with Ashdod (3-2) taking on Kiryat Gat (0-5) at 5:00 PM, and Ashkelon (3-2) facing off against Barak Netanya LC (1-4) at 6:30 PM. The doubleheader is part of the Ashkelon Lacrosse Festival at New Municipal Stadium.

Ashdod LC vs Kiryat Gat LC
Though the Kiryat Gat squad has yet to secure a win, their steady improvement has them looking for an upset when they face Ashdod in the first game of the IPLL Quarterfinals. In their previous meeting during the regular season, Ashdod topped Kiryat Gat, 8-6, behind a dominating performance by UPenn alum Zach Penfil who had six goals and two assists.

Penfil leads Ashdod in scoring and is second in the league in points (12 goals, 6 assists) so Kiryat Gat’s defense will need to contain him as well as Ashdod’s other scoring force, Alec Aloni (10 goals), if they want to have a chance at advancing.

On the other side, Kiryat Gat’s offensive production has been spread out with six goals from Silvio Bonetti and Mitch Turley, as well as five goals apiece from Ian Mills and Alex Irizarry. Active IDF soldier Jacob Silberlicht, who scored two goals in a spot start off the IPLL Designated Player List, could be a game-changer for KG if he is available on Thursday.

Both starting goalkeepers, Andrew Copeland (Ashdod) and Dan Kaufman (Kiryat Gat), have been strong in net this season with save percentages of 53% and 51% respectively and are expected to play major roles in determining the outcome on Thursday night.

Haifa (4-1) meets the winner of this game in the Semifinals on Monday.

Ashkelon LC vs Barak Netanya LC
The 2015 defending IPLL Champions have struggled this season, but Barak Netanya looks to rejuvenate their playoff magic when they meet Ashkelon on Thursday night in the second game of the IPLL Quarterfinals. When these teams met in week one, Ashkelon rallied to top Barak Netanya, 11-8, at New Municipal Stadium.

With numerous players capable of multi-point performances, Netanya’s defense has their work cut out for them to limit Maryland’s Caleb Brodie (7 goals, 4 assists), as well as Drew Satlzman (7 goals, 3 assists), Ben Lassow (6 goals) and Max Wendell (6 goals, 3 assists), who have all shown reliability in clutch situations.

Barak will rely on UMass rising freshman Drew Gallant (9 goals, 5 assists) to guide the offensive with help from Jonah Biblowitz (4 goals, 1 assist) and Jacob Milner (4 goals, 1 assist).

Between the pipes, Ashkelon’s Gabe Gross has allowed only 36 goals this season while directing the defense, giving Ashkelon the presumed defensive edge over Barak’s netminding duo of Duncan Kleinfeld and Noah Katz who have combined to allow 52.

Be’er Sheva (4-1) hosts the winner of this game in the Semifinals on Sunday.

Following the quarterfinals at 8:00 PM, the Israel men’s national team will take on the IPLL All-Stars in an FIL-regulation 80-minute match. While much of Team Israel is rostered by Haifa LC, the All-Stars will be comprised of primarily Be’er Sheva LC players for Thursday’s game.