Stop, Score: Marcus Holman and the Archers’ Defensive Plan
By Sarah Griffin
Feb 23, 2023
Sixes has been described in a lot of different ways - the lacrosse version of basketball, lacrosse version of hockey, or as Grant Ament put it, the most similar version to youth lacrosse you’ll see at the professional level. While these are all great comparisons, Marcus Holman may have put it best.
“Stop, score. Stop, score. Stop, score.”
That’s the premise of the game in a nutshell.
Holman’s night was highlighted by his overtime heroics to give the Archers the win over Chrome on Opening Night, but it was everything he and his traditionally offensive-minded teammates were doing on the other side of the field that made the difference.
Perhaps the biggest conundrum for both players and coaches coming into the Championship Series was how the heck an attackman is going to play defense against the best players in the world? While the jury is still out on a definitive answer to that, Holman and the Archers held it down defensively against a very strong and smart Chrome team.
For offensive guys like Holman, Ament, and Will Manny, they may have never picked up a long pole in their life, but they hold the advantage of knowing how their opponent thinks on offense. Sure it’s all short-sticks in sixes, but as guys who are typically on the other side of the equation with long poles on them, they’re able to anticipate their opponent’s next move.
No one expects these offensive players to play one-on-one shutdown defense by any means, but forcing Chrome into uncomfortable situations on the field and to take bad shots is essentially the defensive plan for these guys. Especially given how fast-paced this game is, you have to think on the fly. Teams don’t have time to game plan and formulate a defensive strategy for every situation; it’s about taking the defensive knowledge they’ve learned leading up to this tournament, and combining it with their years of knowledge on offense.
Holman had a particularly impressive defensive stance in the late second quarter that ended up leading directly to a goal for himself.
Justin Anderson is one of Chrome’s top shooters, especially in this format. Not in any lifetime did any of us think we’d be seeing a Holman and Ament double team on Anderson, but Holman immediately knows to slide and provide support to Ament when Anderson has the ball given how dangerous he can be.
With Holman directly on him, it forces Anderson to make the pass to Dylan Molloy who’s now in a less than opportune situation with Ryan Aughavin on him. Molloy now has no choice but to pass the ball to Alexander Smith by the crease, who unfortunately for him is covered by Jon Robbins, one of the only true defensemen in the game.
By the time goaltender Brendan Krebs recovered the ball from Molloy’s pass, Holman’s already more than halfway down the field ready for the feed from Krebs to put the finish on the play.
Stop, score. Stop, score. Stop, score.
These guys don’t need to win defensive matchups one-on-one, they just need to contain them.