Photo Jul 15 2023, 7 35 28 AM

Ascendant Asher Nolting Ignites Cannons Offense

By Grant DelVecchio

Jul 18, 2023

The Boom Squad’s renaissance this season has been spearheaded by an incendiary offensive unit that is currently playing the best lacrosse in the league.

The Cannons lead the PLL in goals, assists, shooting percentage, offensive efficiency (goals/possession), power play percentage and shots on goal.

Asher Nolting has been the spark plug. The ascendant second year pro is tied with Ryder Garnsey for the league lead in points (22) and trails only Jeff Teat in assists (11). 

On Saturday in Connecticut, Nolting put together one of his best games as a pro yet. Four goals and an assist against last year’s Dave Pietramala Defensive Player of the Year, JT Giles-Harris. No turnovers.

Four goals, all unassisted, on seven shots. He scored from behind the cage using his size and strength.

He also scored from behind the cage utilizing his foot speed.

Knowing how talented of a defender Giles-Harris is, Nolting anticipated he’d have some opportunities to attack him on an island.

“With [Giles-Harris], he’s arguably the best defender in the world and he doesn’t need a lot of help a lot of the time, so being aggressive with my one-on-one matchup and looking to score rather than looking to feed,” Nolting detailed postgame about his mindset going into the matchup.

That’s what makes Nolting such a special talent. He’s able to do damage to defenses in so many different ways. At 6’2”, 220+ pounds, he can play bully ball or use his agility to beat defenders with his feet.

As last season elucidated, Nolting is also a crafty off-ball player. On this goal, he’s able to create deception on his shot by shooting from an unconventional angle.

Earlier this season, Nolting thrived as a facilitator in his new role as the Cannons’ primary ball carrier. He had six assists in the Cannons first two games.

Nolting has taken matters into his own hands more often during the Cannons three game win streak. He’s scored nine goals on his last 16 shot attempts.

Even with how well Nolting has played, Cannons head coach Brian Holman is convinced this is just the tip of the iceberg as it relates to his potential.

Asher is another [player] where I think the sky's the limit. You are only seeing a little bit of what Asher Nolting can look like as a lacrosse player,” Coach Holman said after the win over Chrome.

“His IQ is starting to match up with his physical ability, that’s why you’re seeing his turnover numbers go down. He understands where slides are coming from, he’s starting to have a better vision of what defenses look like.”

Nolting has turned the ball over only seven times this season. At this point last season, he had already made 19 turnovers.

He’s protected the ball at a much higher rate despite commanding significantly more touches this year compared to last (34.4 per game, +6.2 from 2022).

It’s been a complete team effort for the Cannons to play as well as they have offensively. Offensive coordinator Jim Mitchell is the architect and deserves a lot of credit. Marcus Holman remains one of the best scorers the game has ever seen. Matt Kavanagh is back to being Matt Kavanagh. Ryan Drenner is still one of the most underrated midfield talents in the world.

But, we’ve come to expect a certain caliber of play from such proven veterans. This is all uncharted territory for Nolting, who along with Holman is playing at an MVP level. 

“As a coach you can implore, you can push, cajole, and build confidence. But if a player doesn’t want to be great, they’re going to hit a ceiling,” Coach Holman explained after the game on Saturday.

“Asher Nolting wants it. He loves this game, and that’s what we want in our organization. Guys that truly enjoy this game and love it and each other, and I think we’re starting to cultivate some of that.”

The proof is in the progress. Right now, the Cannons are playing like a dangerous playoff team. Asher Nolting is a main reason why.

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