Welcome to the 10 Man Ride - a weekly Monday recap hitting on the 10 best stats, plays and moments of the PLL weekend.
1. Charlie Cipriano’s relief effort
Redwoods LC attackman Clarke Petterson embarrasses goalies. All of them. From Cornell to the PLL, Petterson has been lights out as an inside finisher. The dude buried 44 goals on 52 shots on goal as a senior; goalies only stopped 15.4% of the shots that Petterson put on cage! Through three games, pro goalies haven’t been any better. Petterson has five goals; goalies have made two saves on him. One of those saves: This third quarter denial by Chaos LC goalie Charlie Cipriano.
Cipriano spent some time in between the pipes as Blaze Riorden served a penalty. He turned away three shots, but none were bigger than this. There’s no second slide to the inside after the Chaos doubles this Joe Walters-Petterson pick-and-roll, leaving Petterson with a few seconds to throw a flurry of fakes and finish in front. Cipriano matches sticks and stuffs him.
(Sidenote: How about Mark Glicini peeling off the ball-carrier and backing up Cipriano?! What a lunatic. He didn’t get a block on this Petterson shot, but he’d have his moment later in the game.)
2. Mark Glicini’s game-saving blocked shot
This is an all-time great eat. Time expiring. Penalty kill. Kyle Harrison has time and room. Glicini throws his body in front of a shot (again!) to send the game to overtime and set the Chaos up for a win. The compete-level in this league is unbelievable.
3. Kobe Assists
The Kobe assist is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek statistic that rewards a shooter for a miss that leads to an offensive putback. There’s value in being able to draw two or three defenders. Ideally, after doing so, the ball-handler would pass to an open teammate -- or in Kobe’s case, shoot your shot and hope that by drawing extra defenders you have given your team an advantage on the offensive glass.
Sergio Perkovic earned a crunchtime Kobe assist with this rocket. As he wound up, two defenders scrambled to close out to him, giving the Redwoods a better chance at a rebound. Ryder Garnsey (1G, 2A) was right there to clean up the garbage, and while Perkovic won’t get any credit for this in the box score, his heavy shot gave the Redwoods an extra opportunity.
4. Mike Chanenchuk’s improved stepdown shooting
Chanenchuk (2G, 1T) has always been lights out on the run. His unorthodox release surprises goalies; there’s no cue to let them know a shot is on the way. He doesn’t need to raise his hands like most sweeping shooters, because his wrists do most of the work.
When his feet are set, he loses that advantage. His delivery is longer with time and room than it is when he shoots on the run. In the past his sidearm release point seemed to limit the spots on the cage he could spray to. From 2015 to 2018, Chanenchuk canned only 19.3% of his catch-and-shoot opportunities -- one of the very few players to be better off the dodge than off the catch.
Now, he’s hitting all areas of the cage when given a chance to set his feet. He’s pumping goals low-and-away, off-side hip, and stick-side low. Several of the Whipsnakes LC powerplay sets are designed to seal for a Chanenchuk stepdown. This offense will need Chanenchuk to be an off-ball threat at times when Matt Rambo, Jules Heningburg, Ben Reeves and others take dodges. By improving his stepdown shooting, Chanenchuk makes it tougher for defenses to slide to him -- and in turn, makes his teammates better dodgers.
5. Whips pushing pickers
Last week, I highlighted the Whips’ short-sticks for pushing pickers out of position. This week, that strategy backfired. As Ben McIntosh prepares to set a pick for Tom Schreiber, Tyler Warner pushes McIntosh right into the on-ball defender.
Oops! The goal of this strategy is to allow the Whips’ poles to stay on matchups. Michael Ehrhardt is an All-World long-stick midfielder; Matt Dunn may be the best eraser at X. They can keep the opponent’s best midfielder and best attackman out of the box score. Teams will try to bring picks to those matchups to get their go-to initiators away from those monsters.
Occasionally, that gameplan will lead to easy goals for the offense like this one. But when the Whips can fight through -- which they’ve done more often than not thanks to Warner’s physicality -- that’s a win for the defense. So far, the strategy is working for the undefeated Whipsnakes.
6. No TO in OT
The college game’s overtime rules turn the fastest sport on two feet into the most micromanaged game on two feet. There’s no need for timeouts in overtime. Teams have a chance to huddle between fourth quarter and overtime -- a perfect time to gameplan! What could possibly change from a strategic standpoint in the 30-45 seconds of real time between that huddle and an overtime faceoff win? Let the boys play! The Archers-Whipsnakes overtime was an absolute thrill. I’m excited for more sudden victory sessions like that one (and at the rate we’re going, we’ll see two per weekend).
7. Cade van Raaphorst stalking his prey
The Atlas LC defense is tightening up a bit. They’re still struggling when offensive midfielders get trapped on the field (more on that in a minute). But when their defensive personnel is out there, the off-ball defenders are clogging the middle and forcing tough passes.
A lot of that starts with Cade van Raaphorst. The rookie from Duke gives a voice to a group of grunting on-ball bullies. He knows when to hold slides and when to go. After this pick produces a short-stick matchup for Justin Guterding, he knows that the mismatch needs to be flushed.
van Raaphorst shows immediately after the pick, but retreats before risking a slide to Guterding’s face. He waits for his prey to turn his back, then stalks Guterding upfield. Behind him, Tucker Durkin is splitting the two toughest passes for Guterding to make: Ty Thompson on the lefty pipe and Jordan MacIntosh on the righty pipe. Guterding tries to yank this pass across his body and across the field to MacIntosh, but van Raaphorst’s pressure leads to an easy nugget for Durkin.
8. Justin Guterding playing peekaboo with picks
Guterding’s change of speed is lethal. He can mix in hesitation moves so that his defender runs square into the picker’s chest or he can floor it (like he does here), forcing his man to overshoot the pick completely. Callum Robinson’s momentum carries him way, way past the pick before Guterding ever gets there -- so Guterding slams the brakes, flips his hips, and scores with an “answer” move.
9. Connor Buczek’s split-to-roll dodge
Buczek (4G, 1A) has always been able to get his hands free as a downhill dodger. Over the course of his career, his dodge-to-shoot game has evolved. When he draws a short-stick mismatch, he’s not content with split-dodging and pressing an alley. He’s making multiple moves to maximize his angles. There’s no excuse for putting a short-stick on him; he buried 36.5% of his unassisted shots last summer, and drilled three unassisted goals in the second half yesterday.
Buczek scored his goals off two moves that complement each other perfectly: a right-to-left split, and a right-to-left split to a rollback. There’s no way for a short-stick to defend both moves without a slide -- and it’s tougher to slide to a physical dodge like Buczek’s split-to-roll than it is to slide to a longer developing sweep.
10. Myles Jones and Jake Froccaro’s pick-and-roll chemistry
Putting a pair of two-point shooting threats in pick-and-roll situations at the top of the arc has led to early slides and rapid ball movement for the Chaos. Jones and Froccaro have played together for a while now, and they’re getting even more comfortable with these actions. Froccaro swings his pick at the last second to get a piece of the on-ball defender, boxes out, and rolls to the rim.
This would be a tough feed for Jones with his off-hand -- and a tough catch for Froccaro to turn and find the cage. Instead of forcing the pass himself, Jones wisely dishes the ball to Miles Thompson for a “Nations” look (i.e. a two-pass pick-and-roll). That’s a beautiful sequence. Stay tuned for more on Jones and Froccaro pick-and-rolls later this week.