10 Man Ride: Final Four Recap
CLEAR! The ride is on. We’re recapping Chaos’ 13-9 win over Archers and the Whipsnakes 13-12 OT win over the Redwoods. Let’s go!
1. Right trigger, d-pad up, green, yellow combo
“I think that was actually a four-button combo,” Chaos LC head coach Andy Towers described Josh Byrne’s highlight goal heading into halftime. “We haven’t seen that before. We’ve seen two- and three-button combos. We haven’t seen the four-button combo.”
Byrne (2G, 3A) went deep into his bag of dodges last night. This one-handed, “off-handed,” between the legs, low-and-away, #SCtop10, four-button combo was absurd.
And he wasn’t done after that. Containing Byrne one-on-one is nearly impossible. He’s too fast sweeping over the top; he’s too strong and crafty finishing underneath.
Every championship team needs a player like that who can create with low time on the shot clock. Both of Byrne’s goals last night were unassisted with under :10 to go. In his pro career, he has shot 41-for-116 (35.3%) off the dodge. That between-the-legs goal may have been the first of its kind, but Byrne beating his man off the bounce is nothing new.
For more on Byrne – and his bromance with teammate and roommate Dhane Smith – check out Doug Greenberg’s feature.
Curtis Dickson (3G, 1A) deserves a lot of credit for the unselfish brand of lacrosse that Chaos is playing. He’s a ball dominant player indoors – and a damn good one. During this series, he has picked his spots to dodge (and to dive). He showed why the call him Superman above the border, taking flight while the defense was hung up last night.
3. Two Slide of the Day
Eli Gobrecht (3CT, 5GB) has been awesome for the Archers defense. This unit, which relies on trust and timely rotations behind double teams, could have crumbled without Jackson Place. Gobrecht has filled that void. The DIII product has devoted himself to the Many-Faced God. This rotation to the slip by Austin Staats – arriving on his dominant left hand to force a roll back and wild backhand pass – is as good as it gets.
4. Salcido-Froccaro-Scott line
We need names for the Chaos’ two midfield lines. Ryan Boyle floated out American (Salcido-Froccaro-Scott) and Canadian (Dhane-Staats-Buchanan). Lightning and thunder? Field and box? We’ll workshop it. Hit me with your best suggestions.
In the meantime, the line of Sergio Salcido (1G), Jake Froccaro (1A), and Eric Scott (2G, 1A) produced Chaos’ best looks last night. Scott flies under the radar. Last year when Miles Thompson was injured, Scott started on attack. He gave Chaos a dodge-to-shoot option against a pole. Now he’s drawing short-stick matchups out of the box, and he is cruising by them.
Lacrosse Flash’s Alex Siegel broke down the dodge-and-mirror concept that this line used against Chrome.
5. Jack Rowlett back in the lineup
Jack Rowlett (2019 All-Film Team member) is back from the brain health protocol, and immediately making an impact for the Chaos defense. He drew the top assignment: Grant Ament.
We’ll touch on it more over the next 48 hours (does Rowlett guard Rambo?!). For now, here’s Rowlett matching feet as Ament rejects the razor, fighting through the re-pick, stripping the soon-to-be Rookie of the Year, and tossing him to the turf. Dude plays nasty.
6. Wall pass alert!
On a night when Jay Carlson scored four goals (including another smooth backhand finish) and dished zero assists, my favorite play by him was a pass. This inside-out pass on the powerplay – known as a wall pass – was an absolute back breaker for the Woods’ penalty kill. It is so much easier to turn and blindly fire a shot in this situation; having the composure to make this pass while soaking a cross-check allows Brad Smith (1G, 5A) to find Mike Chanenchuk on the backside.
7. Rambo and Zed shut out
Matt Rambo (0-for-0, 2TO) and Zed Williams (0-for-7, 4TO) were blanked. Think about that. Matt Rambo – who can create his shot at will – attempted zero shots. Garrett Epple (2CT, 3GB) has struggled with that matchup in the past. Last night, he put his degree from V-Hold University on full display.
The Woods help defense smothered the middle of the field. Zed has rolled by so many defenders with this move in the past week – and it has usually taken four or five defenders to get him to the ground. This is a decisive, explosive slide from Pat Harbeson.
As always, the Woods’ off-ball defense was hyper-aware of the threats. They knew where Zed was at all times. Finn Sullivan (THE PRIDE AH WEST ROXBURY!) fills to Carlson on the crease, fights through a fish hook from Carlson, and deflects this skip to the backside pipe.
8. Max Tuttle: Two-Way Midfielder
Max Tuttle is two-way certified. He played mostly SSDM for Chrome last summer. I thought the Waterdogs would scoop him in the expansion draft. He turned defense into offense on Sunday against the Archers. Last night, he had a strong stand after a switch left him on Matt Kavanagh.
This might not look like much in a vacuum. He’s doing his job. But an offensive midfielder gets scored on, gets sealed, or takes a penalty every game. Tuttle allows a shot, but from a very poor angle. Kyle Bernlohr plays angles better than any goalie; he saves 65.9% of shots from this side of the field, even with his stick on the pipe. That’s strong defense by Tuttle.
9. Ryder’s fearlessness
In yesterday’s preview, I mentioned how Ryder Garnsey (2G, 2A) had struggled against the Whipsnakes. Entering last night’s game, he had shot 0-for-10 off the dodge in his career against the Whips (compared to 35.3% against all other clubs). Everyone struggles against the Whips. This is a tough defense!
The thing about Ryder is that he doesn’t care how tough the defense is – he always has been and always will be willing to take a hit to score. Ryder’s two goals – the Redwoods’ 11th and 12th of the night – were both unassisted. He was millimeters away from a crease dive goal, his second dive called back in as many games.
10. Matt Kavanagh: Riding and scoring in clutch moments
For the first time in his pro career, Matt Kavanagh (4G, 1A) will miss the championship. It’s unbelievable how many times he has willed his team to a win. And he almost did it again last night.
When Kavanagh gets that look in his eyes, it rarely ends well for the other team. He leaves it all on the field. This ride – detwigging Ehrhardt and then stripping TJ Comizio – was a bounce on the turf away from being this year’s version of the Redwoods riding back a goal against the Whipsnakes while trailing late in a postseason game.
The Redwoods were massive underdogs, yet were a play away from upsetting the reigning champs. The end result should not overshadow the effort by Kavanagh and this Redwoods team. They could have packed it in when Jules Heningburg received the news that a heart condition would keep him out of the Championship Series. They could have packed it in down 8-2 last night against a juggernaut. They didn’t. Kavanagh wouldn’t let them. This team will be back.
Thanks for reading!
Spread the word, submit any questions you want to see answered in this space to me on Twitter (@joekeegs), and I’ll talk to you tomorrow!