Atlas Lacrosse Club defender Koby Smith playing in the Premier Lacrosse League's 2023 Championship Series

Crease Collapses of the Week: Championship Series Edition

By Joe Keegan

PLL Analyst

Mar 1, 2023

Help defense is usually a question of “from where?” Are we sliding from the crease? Or from the adjacent?

ESPN color analyst and Pro Lacrosse Hall of Famer Ryan Boyle translated a mic’d up huddle on the broadcast, explaining that the question has shifted in Sixes. It’s more like the NBA – it’s a question of “from who?”

Defenses don’t expect to prevent every shot. They study the scout to assess and mitigate threats. They’ll help from the non-threats – or the players in non-threatening areas – to support their sliding teammates.

Here are the best slides, fills, and rotations from the Championship Series:

5. Koby Smith slides

Atlas LC's Koby Smith was everywhere on the defensive end. Some teams asked their top defender to faceguard shooters for 48 minutes. Smith seemed free to roam and plug any leaks in Atlas LC’s one-on-one defense.

This slide from the weakside would be long if Smith hadn’t sunk in soon. It’s easy to isolate one or two defenders on a ballside island in this format, yet it rarely felt like Atlas LC’s defense was in that situation. Koby’s early recognition and physical finish prevented a higher percentage shot from Brad Smith.

4. Koby Smith rotates

More Koby. Notice how frantically his assignment flees the ballside. Something smells. Keegan Khan is clearing thru to create a two-on-two for Matt Abbott and Justin Guterding. Khan wants Koby to follow – but he doesn’t. He sits on the throwback to Guterding, and picks it off cleanly.

3. Peter Dearth fills

Offenses started to use X more in the semifinals. Atlas LC interim head coach Steven Brooks told his team to defend X how goalie Jack Concannon prefers: Go back there with them. Don’t give them the free pass and ability to change fields. In theory, the tradeoff there is that the defender at X is in worse position to help. Peter Dearth was able to do both.

2. Grant Ament, Marcus Holman, Ryan Aughavin, and Jon Robbins stay on a string

The Archers LC defense strung together defensive rotations like a basketball team – forcing one more pass, then one more, and then one more until somewhere along the chain the offense fumbled.

Their offensive stars bought in all week. They hustled. Their heads were on a swivel. This sequence is not one you’ll see in the summer. Grant Ament and Marcus Holman switch a pick. Ament forces a rollback; and Holman slides to trap the ball handler. Ryan Aughavin rotates upfield to Holman’s man; Jon Robbins rolls over to Aughavin’s. Save. Outlet to a leaking Holman.

1. Dylan Molloy brings the boom

Pregame on Wednesday, Chrome LC goalie Sean Sconone explained to Dylan Molloy what to do when he says, “BOOM.” Molloy – an attackman by trade – was worried about his man. Sconone said don’t think twice; just go.

Molloy learned how to slide. Quickly. As offenses moved to X, the interior opened up. There was a lot of real estate for Jay Carlson to cut. Long-stick-less defenses were stretched to protect the paint and the 13-yard 2-point arc. Molloy made the right decision here, leaving his man at X and sliding with authority.

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