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Carolina Chaos: 2024 Season Preview

2023 Regular Season Record: 5-5, 5th in the PLL

Final Result: Lost to Redwoods in Quarterfinals

Key Additions:

Jules Heningburg, M

Sergio Perkovic, M

Shane Knobloch, M

Eric Dobson, M

Key Departures:

Dhane Smith, M

Ryan Smith, M

Chris Cloutier, A

Before the draft, Coach Andy Towers talked about the philosophical change that’s happened for the Chaos. Look at those additions, it’s clear as day to see. While in the past, Towers gathered box players like infinity stones, this year he’s focused on adding dodging midfielders who can win matchups 1v1, not necessarily always out of the two man game. The midfield weapons he added this year are very new and different, but plenty of the mainstays remain. Thanks to no more overlap with the NLL, the Chaos will have superstar Josh Byrne from day one. Byrne was the NLL MVP, NLL Finals MVP, and NLL leading scorer this year. He’s having a year as dominant as the sport as ever seen. Ross Scott will be a player to watch. After the draft, Towers told me whoever won the spot between Scott and Minicus would play X, the other would come out of the box. Can’t go wrong either way, but it’s a testament to Scott’s quickness that he could outplay Minicus in that spot. 

On the defensive end, things are mostly the same. Jack Rowlett, Jarrod Neumann, and Will Bowen still form a close defense unit that wants to come after you all the time. Playing in front Blaze Riorden, they can take some risks and count on their netminder to make saves. Will Bowen is rapidly ascending to Defender of the Year levels. Troy Reh and CJ Costabile have pole duties. On paper, for my money, it’s the best pole unit in the league. 


Towers has found a way to make his team a challenge to prepare for in every year of the PLL’s existence, and this year is no different. Their pivot away from box talent pays off, and they use their new midfield depth to play a top down offense. Because of how many good midfield dodgers and shooters they have, teams have to make the choice between double poling or taking their chances with a shorty on players like Heningburg. Knobloch and Minicus spend the summer cooking their matchups and scoring from above and below the goal, or skipping passes to shooters. Byrne has an MVP season since he’ll be available for every game. The defense picks up where it left off, as a close unit and goaltender that can hold anyone to single digits. 


Big time growing pains hit the team as the big change in philosophy takes some time to set in. Box first players like Kurtz and Jackson don’t mesh right away with the new field first player additions, and the offense sputters a bit. Byrne feels too much pressure to carry the load, and the offense loses balance. Most of the midfield additions are offense first players. The defense is solid but without a lot of SSDM depth, teams attack through the midfield and are able to get good looks with a lot of net to shoot at, forcing Riorden to make a multitude of spectacular saves per game.


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