Premiere Lacrosse League at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts on June 6, 2021 Photo by Adam Glanzman for PLL

10 Man Ride: Don’t short-stick Jules!

By Joe Keegan

PLL Analyst

Jun 8, 2021

CLEAR! The ride is on. We have five (!!!!!) games to recap. Let’s dive into the film.

1. Don’t short-stick Jules!

Jules Heningburg should draw the pole on every possession. Okay, who should draw the short-sticks? Great question. Not Jules.

Jules can invert a short-stick for an iso or a razor pick with Rob Pannell. The Woods – and offenses around the league – are more dangerous when the ball goes below GLE. This same move from the top of the arc leads to a stick-to-the-outside alley dodge. Instead, Jules is finishing up the hash, increasing his angle with every lightning-quick step he takes.

Jules already has two-man chemistry with Ryan Lee. (Lee is everywhere, by the way – goosing groundballs, cutting with a purpose, and finishing from funky angles.)

It’s great to see Jules, Deemer Class, Jackson Place, and Jack Kelly back on the field.

2. Manny-Holman screening and cutting inside

Traditionally, the interior of the Archers offense is almost always vacant. They pull defenders out to the perimeter with open sets and sling skip passes from coast to coast.

This 2-2-2 set looks like a new addition to head coach Chris Bates’ playbook. How many Will Manny-Marcus Holman two-man games can you remember? Any? Here’s one on the crease as a Grant Ament-Ryan Ambler pick-and-roll unfolds at X:

I don’t think Atlas wanted to slide to Grant Ament, based on the way they played his two goals. They wanted to mark the off-ball threats – yet still lost them in the shuffle. Cade van Raaphorst swivels his head with :22 on the shot clock; when he swivels with :19, Holman’s already gone.

3. PR off-ball

Only 28.9% of Paul Rabil’s shots were assisted from 2019-20 with Atlas – a steep dropoff from 46.7% during his four years with the Lizards prior to that.

His cutting game is back. Four of Rabil’s nine shots were assisted this weekend.

Cannons LC offensive coordinator Sean Kirwan – also the offensive coordinator at the University of Virginia – mentioned using Rabil in an Ian Laviano-esque role inside. Nobody coaches spacing and timing on the inside of the 2-2-2 better than Kirwan. Notice the timing by Rabil, elevating as the defense prepares to slide, allowing himself runway to take off toward the backside pipe.

4. Zach Goodrich, switching

Zach Goodrich won the 2020 MLL Defensive Player of the Year award with a short-stick. Not the Short-Stick Defensive Player of the Year. The straight up, regular, zero-qualifier DPOY.

The Cannons are comfortable switching any pick-and-roll involving Goodrich. And he’s planting attackmen into the turf.

5. Crease Collapse of the Week

Though they don’t slide to Goodrich often, the Cannons are prepared to slide to almost every matchup. They’re helping the helper well, too. Cohesiveness across defensive units isn’t easy. It helps to have Brodie Merrill and rookie Jack Kielty (Notre Dame) back there.

Kielty (#40) is ready to help from X as soon as Kieran McArdle comes out of his roll dodge. He sees Ryan Brown – who the Cannons held to 0-for-7 shooting – and closes the gap.

6. Hittin’ singles 

61.7% of the Whipsnakes’ 6-on-6 shots were assisted. That’s high. Very high. Settled assist rate across the league last year was 41.1%. That’s what you get when you mix the Whipsnakes’ offensive patience with the Chaos’ defensive … scrambling.

Chaos effort-ed their way into some stops last year with pure hustle. Blaze Riorden cleans up most of their mistakes. But this unit needs to be better off-ball.

7. Zach Currier, full speed ahead

Currier led all short-sticks with 11 faceoff wing groundballs in 2020. He already has three in 2021.

Watch Currier sprint toward the stripe. Other wings box out (or “box in”) their opponent. Currier just races them. His chemistry with Jake Withers dates back to their childhood in Peterborough, Ontario. Withers always seems to rake the ball into Currier’s path as he stays in full stride, reaching with one-hand to scoop.

8. A Glaze or a Glick?

Eddy Glazener blocked three shots (including two on the final possession) against the Cannons on Friday night. Josh Schafer asked if blocked shots should now be called Glazes. It’s a solid question.

Verdict: We’re still referring to blocked shots as Glicks.

9. Whipsnakes defense keeping Ehrhardt out of the middle

Michael Ehrhardt eats a ton of space on the outside. He’s always anticipating pops, rolling adjacent from two away, and arriving on time. In the Chaos huddle between quarters, the offensive players mentioned that the Whips were trying to keep Ehrhardt out of the middle.

Ehrhardt was passing off cutters to continue clogging perimeter passing lanes. This might’ve been a gameplan specific to Chaos’ trips offense, but it’s something to watch for in the future.

10. Caught reachin’

Too many defenders are attempting over-the-head checks. Tom Schreiber baited one with his windup, then pulled his stick back to the middle for a finish. Deemer Class – who pointed out the shrewdness of Schreiber’s maneuver – then did the same thing a day later.

This attempt was the worst of ‘em all. Matt Rambo’s stick protection is incredible. I don’t know the right way to defend him (if there is one at all), but it’s certainly not this.

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