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10 Man Ride: High Bouncers Will Go

By Joe Keegan

PLL Analyst

Aug 2, 2020

CLEAR! The ride is on. We’re recapping the Redwoods 11-10 comeback win over Atlas, the Waterdogs’ first win in club history, and preview the Battle for the Bye between the Whipsnakes and Archers at 12:00PM ET today on NBCSN. Let’s go!

1. “EW!” –Timmy Troutner

It’s odd to say the reigning Rookie of the Year had a “vintage” game, but this was vintage Timmy Troutner. At High Point, Troutner acted as a seventh defender in their zone defense. He makes a play outside the cage every game; yesterday, it was picking off a RP3 skip pass on the penalty kill. He was taunting shooters with his typical “EW!”s. And this sequence late in the fourth essentially sealed the game.

Troutner tracks the ball from X to the 2-point arc and saves this howitzer from Paul Rabil. Then he tracks the rebound and stuffs Eric Law – are you kidding? Opposing goalies save 22.2% of Law’s doorstep shots. Rebounds are even tougher to react to than feeds out front.

2. Rabil sweeping

Paul Rabil is attacking the middle of the field, and it’s opening up the offense for teammates. When Rabil sees 36 square feet of net, the defense panics. The Redwoods hedge from the crease and from Bryan Costabile here. Bad idea. Costabile slices Epple’s stick in half with his follow through.

When Rabil draws attention off the dodge, it gives the next guy a chance for a redodge against a defense that isn’t ready to slide. The Redwoods switch this banana cut between Rabil and Buczek cleanly, but it sets up Costabile for a hitch and topside goal.

Costabile is at his best catching in these situations. He has a heavy hitch step and a face dodge that reflects his shooting motion. The rookie has been scored off the dodge in unsettled situations; in six-on-six sets, he fits better as a secondary dodger.

3. Ryan Brown, left-handed on the powerplay

We’re numb to it now. But it’s not normal. Ryan Brown – one of the best right-handed shooters in the world – is lights out from the high left-handed spot on the powerplay.

Brown has been playing in this spot since his gold medal run with Team USA in 2018. He was better last year with his right-hand, but over his pro career, he’s damn near even: 26.5% with his right hand and 26.9% with his left hand.

Brown and the Atlas powerplay unit were on fire (4-for-6) yesterday – but they were edged out by the Redwoods (3-for-5 with a pair of 2-pointers from the Perking Lot). 

4. High bouncers still go

An update on yesterday’s stat (after Romar and MJ both blew top-shelf 2-pointers by both the goalie and the spreadsheets):

  • Goalies have saved 79.4% of non-bounced 2-point attempts
  • Goalies have saved 53.3% of bounced 2-point attempts

If Jordie has said it once, he has said it a thousand times: High bouncers will go!

5. Brent Adams: Certified Two-Way Midfielder

BA has been one of – if not the – best two-way midfielders in lacrosse for years now. This isn’t news; it’s a reminder.

Adams scored a stepdown goal, dished a 2-point assist, scooped two groundballs, and played strong on-ball defense, notably when inverted against Chris Cloutier at X.

His two-way play is part of the Redwoods’ identity. It felt like the Redwoods lost some of their two-way prowess earlier in pool play. It’s back. Adams, Perkovic, and company are trapping opposing offensive midfielders on defense, and then making them pay.

6. Crease Collapse of the Day

The Waterdogs two slides took the day off on Friday night. They’re back. Brodie was breathing down Josh Byrne’s neck as Connor Fields attempted this feed. His “hello!” check on Byrne’s hands ensured that the pass didn’t connect, which led to a groundball and transition for the game-winning goal the other way.

7. Zach Currier is everywhere 

Zach Currier does everything you can do on a lacrosse field at an exceptional level. He leads PLL in faceoff wing groundballs (11) despite missing a game. He buried a crease dive goal beautifull wrapped around Blaze Riorden (print the Air Currier shirts!), he scored the game-winner stick side high transitioning from defense to offense, and he plays the two-man game well with anyone on the left-handed wing – including faceoff specialist Jake Withers.

As Josh Schafer wrote during training camp, Currier and Withers have been playing together since they were eight years old. These actions – when an opposing faceoff specialist or offensive midfielder is trapped on the field – are exactly why Copelan selected so many two-way players. Withers stayed and played pick games like this at Ohio State; very few faceoff specialists will want to switch onto Currier here. At the last second, Withers flips the pick, leaving both defenders on the wrong side of it, and Currier flips his hips down the alley for the high percentage shot.

8. Mark Glicini: 1A, 1GB, 1CT, 2 Glicks

Glicini had two Glicks – and he tried for more. You miss 100% of the Glicks you don’t take. Dude leaves it on the line every game. He took the last one off his hand and left the game for a bit. Hopefully the Jimmy Regan Teammate of the Year is healthy for Tuesday.

9. Joe Nardella draws all the right answers

Nardella is on another level right now. He’s the MVP frontrunner. He won faceoffs with post-clamp scrappiness in 2019; this year, he has upped his clamp percentage from a league-low 38.5% to 54.5%.

Nardella doesn’t lose faceoffs when he wins the clamp. He converts a league-high 93.3% of clamp wins into faceoff wins. And he steals back a league-high 72.0% of clamp losses. Let that sink in. Even after a clamp loss, Nardella has a better chance to win the faceoff than any other faceoff man in the league has prior to the whistle.

Marisa Ingemi profiled the Whipsnakes faceoff man. Read more before Nardella’s Whipsnakes (3-0) face off against the Archers (3-0) at 12:00PM ET on NBCSN. Winner takes Tuesday off.

10. Between the benches

A common theme between the top three teams: All run a clean substitution box. It flies under the radar, but it wins games. Chrome LC assistant coach Jacques Monte deserves credit for reviving the league’s 5th-ranked transition defense and 6th-ranked transition offense (and also for popping back up after taking this hit on the sideline).

We highlighted the Archers’ box play – run by assistant coach Brian Kavanagh – on Tuesday. “He just runs the sh*t out of that box,” Ryan Ambler told the Outside The Box Podcast.

The Whipsnakes are no different. They substitute when offensive possessions go stale. They create six-on-five situations after faceoff wins. They’ll play cat-and-mouse games with Michael Ehrhardt to trap opponents on the field. Archers-Whipsnakes will be a chess match from endline to endline, but especially between the benches.

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!

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