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Philadelphia Waterdogs: 2024 Season Preview

2023 Regular Season Record: 7-3, 3rd in the PLL

Final Result: Lost to Archers in PLL Championship

Key Additions:

Matt Brandau, A

Kenny Brower, D

Marcus Hudgins, D

Jake Richard, SSDM

Alec Stathakis, FO

Bill Tierney, Head Coach and GM

Key Departures:

Chris Fake, D

Zac Tucci, FO

Andy Copelan, Head Coach and GM

The biggest change for the Waterdogs isn’t on the field, but on the sideline. Following Andy Copelan stepping down after the Championship Series, the legend Bill Tierney takes over as head coach and GM. Tierney has been vocal about how in the past, he’s been charged with taking over programs at the bottom and building them, and in this case, it’s his job to just not screw up what is already there. There haven’t been many roster moves, and Tierney focused on making his strength stronger and building for the future in the draft. Matt Brandau and Michael Boehm are both versatile offensive pieces who can play multiple spots. Kenny Brower will miss some time this year on the PUP List, but Marcus Hudgins is an elite cover defender who can learn under vets like Ben Randall and Eli Gobrecht while he gets his feet wet. 

Stathakis was released before week one, but Tierney said this was so the faceoff specialist can go finish his degree at Denver, and he expects him to rejoin the Waterdogs this year. How Philadelphia approaches this position will be something to watch; they were the first team to abandon the specialist and embrace the prevent a season ago. The prevent worked for them, but if they can master the 32 second clock on offense rather than defense, they’ll have a whole new dimension to their game. 


Coach Tierney doesn’t just maintain the culture, he improves it. Long time vets like Zach Currier and Dillon Ward lead the roster along with some former Pios in Jack Hannah and Ethan Walker, and the Waterdogs take their loaded roster and run it back. Even with a challenging schedule and some injury woes, the depth in the midfield and the versatility through the attack, built upon in the draft with Brandau and Boehm, carries this team to the best record in the league in the regular season. The team goes from a prevent team to a dominant faceoff team, as Stathakis physicality makes him Sisselberger 2.0. Coach Tierney wins the only thing he really hasn’t won before, a pro lacrosse championship. 


It’s a mismatch between the coaching staff and the players. Changes to culture and coaching style lead to some early struggles, which make players more uneasy. A week one challenging game against the Archers is followed by the bye, and the team which already has had some injury issues has to go the rest of the summer with no weeks off. That schedule leads to more injury issues arising, and the team depth is tested. With a challenging schedule and adjustments to culture, the Waterdogs slide back a bit to the middle of the standings. They’re a playoff team, but they don’t look quite the part of the confident, versatile, able to withstand anything crew they were in 2023.


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