10-Man Ride: Monday Night Lacrosse Preview
CLEAR! The ride is on. We’re recapping the Atlas’ comeback against the Waterdogs and previewing Redwoods-Chaos (7:00PM on NBCSN) and Atlas-Archers (9:30PM on NBCSN). Let’s go!
1. Rob Pannell quarterbacking from X
Pannell (1G, 3A) is as advertised. His 11 assist opportunities are the most in any game since Tom Schreiber in Week 3 of 2019. Pannell floated skip passes to the farthest man on the field, alley-ooped Eric Law (4G) on the backside pipe, and jammed lever feeds into the crease with a stick in his gloves.
The Waterdogs mixed up when they were sliding and when they were just showing. When they went, they left shooters from deep; nine of Pannell’s passes set up midfield shots, none set up Ryan Brown shots (more on him in a minute). One step faster on a two slide to Law early in the game, and we’re praising their gameplan. Remember: Pannell is going to put up points in every matchup. “Containing” him would be holding him to three points.
Tonight the Archers – the quickest-to-slide defense in PLL – take on Pannell. Will they slow their slides and force Pannell to beat them as a scorer? When they slide, who do they slide from? It shouldn’t be Law, and it definitely shouldn’t be Ryan Brown…
2. WARNING: Do NOT hedge from Ryan Brown
Hedging from Ryan Brown (2G) turns into time-and-room shots for Ryan Brown. And time-and-room shots from Ryan Brown usually turn into goals.
The Atlas offense had some spacing concerns entering the tournament. They’re playing six right-handed players. Everyone thought they’d solve it by playing Ryan Brown as a lefty. Wrong. They’re playing him wherever on the field puts his defender into a help position.
Brown got on the board with an overhand hammer off a pass from rookie Bryan Costabile (1G, 1A). Tough to justify that hedge as Costabile dodges out his angle. Even tougher to justify this hedge to Romar Dennis (1A), who shot 9.1% off the dodge last summer, with five seconds on the shot clock.
3. Jack Concannon on the doorstep
Jack Concannon saved 51.8% of shots taken from within five yards last year. That wasn’t a fluke. He’s still meeting dunkers at the rim and swatting them away. Although I’m sure he’d like to see fewer shots from five yards-and-in tonight. Wake up, Callum!
4. Drew Snider’s “bee sting”
We caught our first glimpse of the Waterdogs’ six-on-six offense. There were plenty of two-man games (as promised), especially pass down pick downs in transition. Ben Reeves (1A) looked more assertive than he ever did with the Whipsnakes. And the righty-lefty balance led to some beautiful east-west ball movement.
Open sets are so hot right now. Defenses don’t know where to slide from without a crease defender. Off-ball scorers can cut into the void. This Reeves-Zach Currier two-man game doesn’t even draw a slide, but the backside work by Ben McIntosh (1G) and Drew Snider (2G) creates a goal.
Deemer Class called this pick by Snider a “bee sting.” I love the term. Snider is one of the best sealing midfielders in the game (next to John Haus). Keep an eye on him throughout the tournament for more of these.
5. Closeout of the Day
Brodie Merrill is everywhere all at once. He will smother the crease then scurry to the arc to contest a 2-point attempt. So many would-be shots never come to fruition because of a subtle play he makes on the inside. And other shots never reach the cage because he blocks them as he approaches.
6. Redwoods re-picking
The Redwoods rolled out some new offensive looks on Saturday against the Whipsnakes. The 2019 Woods dodged from up top more often than anyone. We’re seeing more two-man games on the wings. (Woohoo!)
Let’s see those two-man games strung out a little longer. If the initial pick doesn’t work, run it back. Play the hangup two-man game. The Whipsnakes push the picker around (a lot); we’ll see a different scheme from Chaos. They dropped the picker’s defender back for some lazy, reactionary switches. That space gave the ball handler a runway for takeoff.
7. MJ vs. Salcido
Myles Jones and Sergio Salcido were traded for each other in the offseason. Jones thinks Redwoods won the trade (naturally); Salcido believes Chaos won (again, naturally). They tossed some stats and emojis out on Instagram comments, but nobody won. Yet.
This one might get even spicier than the last time Chaos faced a player whom they traded away.
8. Eddy Glazener directing traffic
US Lacrosse Magazine’s Nelson Rice wrote a feature on Eddy Glazener’s unique role within the Redwoods defense. His former defensive coordinator at Notre Dame, Gerry Byrne, called him an “air traffic controller.”
Like a middle linebacker prior to the snap, Glazener directs the defense through its slide packages. The major difference is that Glazener does it during the flow of play. There is no “pre-snap” period in lacrosse. So Glazener guards an off-ball attackman – typically on the crease – which allows him to see the field better.
Here’s the problem: Chaos doesn’t have an off-ball attackman. Connor Fields, Curtis Dickson, and Josh Byrne are all dodging threats. Very dangerous dodging threats. They play a ton of “six out” sets with the crease wide open. Who does Glazener cover? And how will he and head coach Nat St. Laurent adjust the Woods’ slide packages to work against an open offense?
9. Grant Ament’s pro debut
The Penn State product takes the field for the first time tonight against the Atlas at 9:30PM ET on NBCSN. Get ready for behind-the-back passes, sidearm through passes, no-look passes, and some passes that you’ve never seen before. Ament is the Archers’ quarterback behind the cage. Read fellow PSU alum Jerome Taylor’s feature on Ament, whose middle school dreams of playing pro lacrosse are about to come true.
10. Archers powerplay vs. Atlas penalty kill
Atlas had four minutes of penalties against the Waterdogs on Sunday. Not great! Remember: They’re playing with five poles on the roster, hoping that captain Tucker Durkin can join them eventually (if he can test negative for COVID-19). Taking penalties is an easy way to tire that group out in a hurry.
Archers had the league’s best powerplay unit (44.4%) in 2019. They mostly ran a simple 3-3 set. When you plug Tom Schreiber top-center with Manny and Holman on the pipes, you don’t need to overcomplicate things. Add Ament into the mix, and, well, you’d probably rather have six defenders on the field than five if you’re trying to stop these guys. Just my opinion.
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!