10 Man Ride: 647 (and counting)
CLEAR! The ride is on. We’re four weeks and five games apiece into the 2021 season. Let’s try to cover all of Week 4 on Long Island with 10 bullet points.
1. Paul Rabil: 647 career points (and counting)
With the merger between PLL and MLL this winter came the merging of stats into the pro lacrosse record book. And on Saturday, Paul Rabil passed John Grant Jr. as the all-time points leader in that record book.
En route to the record, Rabil has assisted over 50 teammates. Matt Poskay (30 goals from Rabil) is his favorite target of all-time – followed by Kevin Buchanan (18), Mike Stone (18), Ryan Boyle (15), Will Manny (15), Rob Pannell (13), Joe Walters (11), Dave Lawson (10), Matt Gibson (9), and Brad Ross (8).
The goal that put Rabil ahead is one he has scored hundreds of times. The high wing dodge for either a lefty alley run or righty sweep over the top is Rabil’s go-to.
His lefty shot might be even more lethal, despite the lower angle. Rabil’s bottom hand mechanics are the exact same every time; goalies know he’s shooting low-and-away, and they still can’t get there. When Rabil is dialed – like we’ve seen a couple times in ’21 – he creates so much separation that he’s able to set his feet for that lefty rip off the dodge.
Rabil is shooting 10-for-20 (50%) on unassisted shots. He’s a big reason why this Cannons offense – shooting 35% as a team (1st in PLL) and scoring 13 points per game (2nd in PLL) – is so efficient.
Rob Pannell (487 career points) and Will Manny (372) continue to climb the all-time list as well, moving into fifth and tenth place respectively last weekend.
2. Blaze's butterfly technique
Two-time Oren Lyons Goalie of the Year Blaze Riorden is reinventing the goalie position. Jake Watts wrote about Blaze’s adaptation of NHL goalie Patrick Roy’s butterfly technique last fall. Instead of dropping his stick to save low shots, Blaze keeps his stick high, turning aside low shots with his legs.
This stop against Shayne Jackson is ridiculous.
Blaze is still making a ton of clean saves – 64.7% of his saves against the Cannons were clean. This one (again against Jackson, who Blaze denied 6 times on Saturday) led directly to transition going in the opposite direction.
3. Triple Doubles
Someone suggested to Mikey Diggs that we should have a lacrosse version of the triple double (two points, two CTs, two GBs), and now triple doubles cannot stop happening.
Prior to this weekend, there had been 16 triple doubles in PLL history. On Long Island we saw five (!!) triple doubles:
- Reece Eddy (1T, 2CT, 7GB)
- Matt Abbott (1G, 1A, 3CT, 6GB)
- Zed Williams (2G, 1T, 2CT, 4GB)
- Danny Logan (1T, 1A, 3CT, 3GB)
- Bryan Costabile (3G, 1T, 1A, 2CT, 2GB)
4. Whipsnakes' slam picks
The Whipsnakes’ slam picks set on GLE make Zed Williams and Matt Rambo even more dangerous driving from X. The slam pick is like a free flight to the island. From there, Zed can roll inside or rocker step topside to shoot around a screen.
Zed is unstoppable. He’s shooting 31% off the dodge in his PLL career.
“Zed does such a good job of using his body and angles,” said Whipsnakes LC midfielder Brad Smith. “Today they were kind of going under that pick at GLE. It presented opportunities for Zed to just come off the pick. No one was on his hands, so he could just turn and get his shot off there.”
“I’ll set those picks for him all day long,” Smith said, smiling from ear to ear.
Stay tuned – we’ll dive into the film on these slam picks later in the week ahead of the Whipsnakes vs. Redwoods rivalry game on Saturday.
5. Woods join the 2-2-2 party
The Whipsnakes won back-to-back championships in their 2-2-2. Cannons LC offensive coordinator Sean Kirwan has won back-to-back NCAA championships with a 2-2-2 at the University of Virginia.
The Archers adopted a 2-2-2 with Will Manny and Marcus Holman inside early in 2021. Chaos experimented with a 2-2-2; they’re back to their east-to-west trips set.
The newest 2-2-2 set in the league? The Redwoods. Their personnel is perfect for it. Matt Kavanagh, Ryder Garnsey, and Ryan Lee are all savvy inside. Jules Heningburg and Rob Pannell can feed from X. And with Myles Jones and Sergio Perkovic perched above the 2-point line, you see spacing like this…
The Redwoods’ problem in 2020 (and Weeks 2 and 3 of 2021): Offensive players standing wider than the play. Because of their success from deep, they started prioritizing twos over clear throughs. Free doubles rained down on dodgers. Now in this 2-2-2, the ball is flowing.
After shocking the world by snapping the Whipsnakes’ 672-day unbeaten streak last Sunday, Chrome shocked the world again on Friday night by beating the Archers – and holidng them to 7 points.
Short-stick defenders Will Haus and Crowdstrike Defender of the Week Ryan Terefenko highlighted the defensive effort. Both Haus and Terefenko spent significant time switched onto Tom Schreiber, Grant Ament, and Connor Fields. They went step-for-step with all three, holding the Archers to 2-for-25 (8%) shooting off the dodge. This file came through our Slack channel via Nate titled TEREFENKO_DEFENSE_SEATBELT.mp4 – because Terefenko put the straps on him.
Chrome’s pick-and-roll defense struggled in 2020. Opponents shot 47.4% off two-man games – and 53.8% on two-man games above GLE. Terefenko has helped clean that up. He’s fighting underneath picks and then re-engaging his man to make up for any lost ground.
Chrome plays a hard-nosed, one-on-one defensive scheme. They want to protect and win their individual matchups. Terefenko chips Jeff Teat here to buy James Barclay time to do exactly that – then he recovers to his man, clogs the passing lane, and boxes out for the groundball.
7. Chaos' lefty trip
After taking a 2-2-2 set for a test run and having Josh Byrne attack from X, Chaos finally has the right right-handed personnel to run its trips offense. And it is as beautiful as ever.
That lefty side – featuring three of Josh Byrne, Chris Cloutier, Mac O’Keefe, Kyle Jackson, and occasionally Ian MacKay – is humming.
O’Keefe deserves Canadian citizenship for the way he’s playing the pick-and-roll. Chaos shot 5-for-8 (62.5%) off two- and three-man games against the Cannons – and most of those actions included O'Keefe as the picker.
“One thing I think I do pretty well is setting picks for guys,” said O’Keefe. “The speed that Josh Byrne and some of the other guys have coming off those picks opens up our offense a lot.”
“What I love about him is that he doesn’t point hunt. He takes advantage of his opportunities,” said Chaos LC head coach Andy Towers. “What you’re really starting to see out of him – while he’s known for his unbelievable outside shot – his inside craftiness and his feeding ability to make the extra pass in tight situations with not a lot of time is uncanny. He makes the right play every time.”
O’Keefe is picking and re-picking for Byrne on the perimeter. If Byrne goes underneath, O’Keefe pops high for a 2-pointer. If Byrne sweeps, O’Keefe dives for a dunk.
8. Jack Kelly is back
Seeing Redwoods LC goalie Jack Kelly back between the pipes – three years after tearing his ACL in Netanya while competing for the gold medal with Team USA – was emotional.
Head coach Nat St. Laurent walked into the postgame press conference clutching a ball. Jack Kelly’s game ball. The way St. Laurent and the Woods stood by Kelly during his recovery and greeted him after the game is your weekly reminder of the power of lacrosse. The medicine game at its finest.
9. Crease Collapse of the Week: Ian MacKay
After holding the Cannons to two goals in the second half, Chaos’ suspension from the Crease Collapse of the Week has been lifted. Ian MacKay – acquired in “the Connor Fields trade” – has been a huge addition. Longpole. Short-stick. Offense. Defense. You name it. MacKay has been excellent.
This is by no means a flawless defensive possession by Chaos. MacKay's collapse is lipstick on a pig. (What was that approach to Rabil? Why is Shayne Jackson that open in the middle of the field?) But we’ll take it. MacKay prevents a quality shot here by crashing down from the weak side.
10. Currier-Withers transition two-man games
Zach Currier and Jake Withers have been running pick-and-rolls since their childhood in Peterborough, Ontario. Any time Withers traps an opposing faceoff man on the field, he’s picking for someone – usually Currier.
Nobody wants to switch onto Currier. TD Ierlan tried it for a second. He chipped Currier, then looked over his shoulder for help. And Currier found Kieran McArdle for the bucket.