10 Man Ride: Recapping The Rivalry plus Archers-Chrome OT
CLEAR! The ride is on. We’re recapping the Whips’ big win over Atlas, another edition of #PLLAfterDark, and looking ahead to Friday Night Lights between the Whips-Chaos at 7:00PM ET on NBC Sports and Chrome-Waterdogs at 9:30PM ET on NBC Sports Gold. Let’s go!
1. Jay Carlson nearly puts up a double-double
On the first day of training camp, the Whipsnakes were working on contested groundballs. RJ asked Mike Chanenchuk who is best on the team at groundballs: “Jay Carlson, hands down. Eats ‘em up.”
Channy wasn’t lying! Carlson (4G, 7GB) posted a Kevin Love stat line. He scored a tip slam off John Haus’s shot, then another putback off a rebound from Zed Williams (3G, 2A).
The Whips as a team dominated the Atlas on the ground: 43GB to 27GB. It started at the faceoff stripe with Joe Nardella (16-for-21, 76.1%) and his wings (Tyler Warner, who led all short-sticks in wing groundballs last year, gobbled up 4GB last night).
Fundamentals win at every level. It’s not rocket science. Mike Lombardi’s book ‘Gridiron Genius’ recounts his experience with several organizations. Lombardi mentions that the Patriots are the only team that does blocking and tackling drills after training camp. Those are skills, not displays of brute strength – ditto for groundballs. I’d bet the Whips practice contested groundballs more than any team.
(Sidenote: Jay Carlson is one of the most fundamentally sound lacrosse players in the sense that he gets low to pick up groundballs in traffic. But Jay Carlson is also the first player to tell you to stuff your fundamentals in a sack when he's one-on-one with the goalie.)
2. 15 saves for Kyle Bernlohr, 1 for Matt Dunn
This wasn’t a Glick. This was an actual save by Dunn. He is now leading the league with a 100.0% save percentage and the 2-0 Whips suddenly have a goalie controversy.
3. KU, outta nowhere!
If Kevin Unterstein is covering you and you set a pick for a teammate, then I’m curious whether you like that teammate at all. KU blows up picks every chance he gets. (His Team USA teammate John Haus should know this!) Not many people will step on the train tracks and stare down Matt Rambo. KU is different.
Only the Redwoods allowed fewer unassisted goals off two-man games last year. Atlas has to clean up their recoveries, but nobody is questioning this defense’s physicality on-ball.
4. No Slide of the Day
The Whipsnakes defense didn’t have to help much. From DPOY frontrunner Matt Dunn at X to their shorties, they owned every single matchup in this game. Because of that, today’s crease collapse is taking on a different look.
There’s no help to TJ Comizio at X here. No need. He shadows Eric Law’s every move. The Whipsnakes are set up to support the invert. Dunn is locked on the mirror. Bryce Young passes off a cutter to Jake Bernhardt. Tim Muller will slide if Law becomes a threat. But Law doesn’t beat Comizio, so Muller doesn’t go – he keeps his stick in the lane and deflects a pass intended for a covered cutter.
This Atlas offense was visibly frustrated. Body language has hit an all-time low. Former Atlas SSDM Steve DeNapoli, now on the Waterdogs, summarized his former team’s locker room:
“From being on that other side, that other team and this team, the main difference is when you make a mistake on that side you f***ing hear it, and they don’t let you live it down. On this side we f***ing pick each other up and we get the next one.”
The Bulls close pool play against the Woods on Saturday at 1:00PM ET on NBC.
5. Grant Ament, dealing
The rookie tied the single-game assist record. But arguably Ament’s (1G, 5A) most impressive play of the day (aside from that other play that we’re definitely talking about later) was when he kept it himself and took Jesse Bernhardt to the hoop.
When he was drafted, I asked Rob Pannell what will be key for Ament to make the jump from NCAA to PLL. His answer: Ament will need to earn his slides. Ament is aware. He has acknowledged it on every podcast interview since April (and I’m sure he’s consulted Pannell about it, too).
Pro defenses are slower to slide. To maximize his potential as a feeder, Ament needs to be a dodge-to-shoot threat against the best on-ball defenders in the world. He had seen schemes like that while at Penn State, but the cover defenders were never Team USA defender Jesse Bernhardt. This dodge was fearless.
6. Tom Schreiber, scoring
Speaking of someone who has earned his slides – wow. Schreiber’s shooting on the run is dialed in. He’s 4-for-12 (33.3%) off the dodge this summer; for context, league average unassisted shooting percentage was 23.0% last summer.
Usually, Schreiber shoots off the dodge when defenses hold slides to prevent his skip passes. Last night (er, early this morning), Schreiber simply took over. He’s drawing slides, dodging slides, and attacking the middle of the field. He smashed the circle button on this dodge – that sliding defender is still sprinting out to Schreiber.
This offense is warming up. We’ve seen a lot of transition goals and a lot of razor picks. Twins sets await. That Marcus Holman-to-Christian Mazzone goal gave us a glimpse. And The Pick-and-Roll Partner That Was Promised, Josh Currier, tallied two pick assists for Schreiber.
7. Ryan Ambler’s off-hip save into a low-to-high snipe
How? What? WHAT? HOW?!
The only questions I can answer are: Where? Herriman, UT. Who? Grant Ament and Ryan Ambler. When? Overtime.
8. Mic up John Ranagan more, please
Down 8-4 with 5:33 left in the third quarter, Ryan Boyle and the NBC broadcast checked in with John Ranagan. His response was positive and put things in perspective:
“We talked at halftime about how we only have two and a half games left as a team. We’ve become really close and we want to keep this going, so we’ve gotta keep getting better. And I think the guys all bought in, and we’re gonna keep clawing back.”
This Chrome team loves playing together. Did you see them dancing during the power outage? Who’s having more fun than them? Obviously they want to win to hoist the trophy, but really, they mostly want to win to stay together. That’s a dangerous attitude entering the elimination round. Chrome wraps up its pool play tonight at 9:30PM ET on NBC Sports Gold against the Waterdogs.
9. Waterdogs-Chrome Preview
The Waterdogs have had some strong first halves. Beautiful ball movement on two-pass goals. Brodie Merrill being Brodie Merrill. Jake Withers and Drew Simoneau scrapping at the stripe. Can they put together a full game?
Zach Currier was listed as probable yesterday. Stay tuned for an updated report on the Waterdogs’ most dangerous two-way threat. And tune in as Waterdogs challenge Chrome at 9:30PM ET on NBC Sports Gold.
10. Whips-Chaos Preview
Whips built the blueprint for defending Connor Fields. They do not slide to him. Muller has owned that matchup in the past; Dunn has taken it at times. When Fields turns into a passer, this six-on-six offense is dangerous.
How will Chaos counter? More dodges for Josh Byrne and Curtis Dickson from the lefty and righty wings, respectively? Tune in to NBC Sports tonight at 7:00PM ET.
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!