Photo courtesy of Nick Ieradi
Photo courtesy of Nick Ieradi

Marcus Holman Helping Lead Cannons Offense to New Heights

By Grant DelVecchio

Jul 8, 2023

Tonight, the Cannons have the opportunity to win back-to-back games for the first time as a PLL organization. And even though the team (1-2) has the same record heading into week four of this season as they did in 2022, it’s safe to say this year’s Cannons team is on a whole new trajectory.

From Worst to First

That’s mostly because, to this point, the Cannons have been one of the best offensive teams in the league by the numbers. The Boom Squad leads the league in assists (25) and is tied for second with 40 points scored through three games. In 2022, the Cannons finished last in the league in assists and scored the second fewest points. 

After shooting a league-worst 27.7% as a team in 2022, the Cannons (30.8%) and Chaos (30.9%) are the only two teams shooting better than 30 percent this season.

Through June, they’ve doubled their two-point goal total from all of last season.

Considering how many guys are playing together for the first time this season, the Cannons swift offensive resurgence is noteworthy.

New Threads, Same Holman

Nobody is shooting a better percentage thus far for the Cannons than Marcus Holman, whose 47.6% conversion rate is the seventh best in the league among players with 10 or more shots this season.

Efficient and productive, Holman has scored the second most goals in the league (10), and his 14 points are tied for third-most. 

Out of Holman’s 10 goals, nine have been assisted on, and the last four of them have been set up by Asher Nolting. In his sophomore season, Nolting currently ranks second in the league in assists (8), sixth in points (13), and is performing like a burgeoning young star. 

Last month, Nolting spoke to the impact that being around proven, veteran leaders like Holman and Matt Kavanagh has had on his game.

After the Cannons took down Chrome to earn their first team victory in more than a calendar year three weeks ago, I asked Marcus what’s made the squad’s instant chemistry possible. 

He made sure to laud the work of Cannons offensive coordinator Jim Mithcell before adding, “I just think we understand that we all need each other to be successful…We have a group that wants to play together, that wants to share it.”

According to Champion Data’s advanced tracking, the Cannons made the fewest passes per game (192.4) and fewest per possession (5.00) in 2022. Three games into this season, they are averaging 218 passes per game, third most in the PLL.

Not to mention, the Cannons attack trio of Holman-Nolting-Kavanagh, are all averaging more touches per game this season compared to last. The same is true for Chris Aslanian and Ryan Drenner, both of whom have also had great starts to the year. 

Taking the Bulls by the Horns

With how well the Cannons offense was starting to click, it’ll be interesting to see if any of the pre-break momentum is stalled tonight.

Atlas has had three weeks to regroup and forget about collapsing down the stretch against the Waterdogs and giving up a league-high 19 goals.

The main thing to keep an eye on will be who Gavin Adler is guarding. This year’s #1 overall pick has been excellent to begin his career, holding his opponents to 2-for-14 shooting when he’s been the closest defender. 

I’d imagine Adler will start on Nolting but wouldn’t be surprised to see him switch off to Holman at some point. Nolting has dissected opposing defenses from behind the cage this season, and Atlas as a team has given up the most goals in the league defending X (11).

Attacking from the midfield has been a strength of the Cannons so far this season; they have been the most potent team (15) from the top of the offensive zone. Meanwhile, Atlas has given up the most goals from up top this season (16).

Expect the Cannons to continue to dodge downhill with Campbell/Aslanian/Drenner.

While Coach Holman and the Cannons are pleased with the direction the team is headed in, they know full well the marathon is just beginning.

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