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Maryland Whipsnakes: 2024 Season Preview

2023 Regular Season Record: 4-6, 6th in the PLL

Final Result: Lost to Waterdogs in Quarterfinals

Key Additions:

Ajax Zappitello, D

Stephen Zupicich, LSM

TJ Malone, A

Colin Heacock, M

Key Departures:

Bryce Young, D (Traded to Cannons)

Connor Kirst, M (Traded to Cannons)

Michael Ehrhardt, LSM (Retired)

Brian Phipps, G (Retired)

Tyler Warner, SSDM (Retired)

The Whips have the look of a team between eras. Michael Ehrhardt, the best LSM to ever play, retired, leaving a big hole in the defense. In media availability, Coach Jim Stagnitta flatly said, “I miss Mike,” and it was clear he didn’t just mean as a player. On the bright side, Stagnitta said draftee Stephen Zupicich has looked “unbelievable” at the LSM spot. He, along with third overall pick Ajax Zappitello, will be charged with filling the openings on defense. Zappitello was just named the Player of the Year in DI lacrosse. The poles filling it look ready to go, the SSDM spot having to replace Tyler Warner is considerably harder. Warner was effectively a fifth pole. Roman Puglise has been very good since he’s been healthy, and Grayson Sallade could be in line for a larger role. 

On the offensive end, TJ Malone joins and gives the team a true X attackman. The offense has shaken up a bit, so much so that Will Manny was released as part of the cut down to the 25 man roster. The attack of Malone, Matt Rambo, and Zed Williams will have to carry the lead for a bit. Tucker Dordevic is out for a few weeks with a foot injury, and Brad Smith could miss the year recovering from knee surgery. That means Colin Heacock will have to be a midfield threat, and they’ll have to look to players like Jackson Morrill to draw slides out of the box as well. 


The Z Boys, Zappitello and Zupicich, hit the ground running and are instant impact guys. They play like vets from day one, with Zappitello seamlessly stepping in for Bryce Young and Zupicich owning the middle of the field. The offense has more than enough threats, as Malone joins Dordevic to form a lethal dodging tandem. Scott Cole makes everyone regret not drafting him, and his speed makes him icing on the cake. The offense stays healthy all year, a major difference from 2023, and as a result they are consistent from week to week, and are productive. Colin Heacock joining Terp teammate Matt Rambo rekindles the College Park spark. A mix of highly effective youth and experience on both ends leads the Whips back to where they are used to being: the championship game. 


The personnel losses in the offseason are just too much to overcome. Ehrhardt changed each game in more ways than people could count, and without Warner it suddenly feels like having one less pole in the lineup. Tim Muller and Matt Dunn still proudly carry the banner of a great Whipsnakes defense while breaking in rookies Ajax Zappitello, and second year player Elijah Gash, but that end of the field suffers a bit with new faces in key spots. On the offensive end, Brad Smith’s knee injury keeps him out the lineup, adding more dodging pressure to Dordevic when he returns. The Whips struggle to find consistent matchup winners in the midfield. Chanenchuk and Bernhardt show their age and have down years, and the roster shuffling looking for a winning combination once again keeps the Whips from gaining positive momentum.


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