Third quarter run pushes Redwoods past Chaos, 11-7

By Joe Keegan | Jun 19, 2022

At halftime, the Redwoods offense was shooting 2-for-23 (9%). They couldn’t solve three-time Oren Lyons Goalie of the Year Blaze Riorden (16 saves, 62%). This Woods team – the most settled offense efficient in the league in 2021 – was on the verge of going 0-3 until a third quarter explosion.

In a span of two minutes and 24 seconds: Nakeie Montgomery drew a slide, threw back to Matt Kavanagh (1G, 1A) who found Ryder Garnsey (3G) for a stepdown goal. Then Rob Pannell (3G, 1A) scored on a big-little with Garnsey. And then Garnsey took it himself to the heart of the defense off a two-man game with Kavanagh. And Myles Jones (1G, 1T) punctuated the run with a right-handed high-to-high jumper.

The common denominator among most of those third quarter goals: A pick was set for the initial dodge. Through two-and-a-half games, the Woods’ pick rate (i.e. the percentage of settled shots initiated by a two-man game) was 19.7%. Then 7 of their 21 second half shots (33.3%) came off ball screens.

“We changed up the offense a little bit this week. We wanted a few more ball screens,” said Redwoods LC head coach Nat St. Laurent. “We wanted Myles to be on the crease a few times and pop to see how they were going to handle that.”

“Any one of our guys can go off at any night. The more we swing the ball and get a little bit more movement is what we’re working for. It’s not who it goes through, it’s more of when. Late in the game, we wanted to go through Jules with the invert. Early in the game, we wanted to go through Rob because he was dialed in.”

Jules Heningburg’s inverts got everyone involved. The attackman-turned-midfielder found Jones for a 2-point stepdown. He found Kavanagh as time expired in the third quarter. And off a pick from Garnsey in the fourth quarter, Heningburg found Pannell for a stepdown.

The energy was there for 48 minutes from the Redwoods even if the goals waited until the third quarter to arrive. Pannell and Kavanagh each caused turnovers on the ride against Chaos, who had six failed clears. That is why this attack line – despite its dodge-first players and its lefty-righty asymmetry – works so well. Those energy plays set the tone for the team. And when their backs are against the wall at 0-2 or when they’re playing the Whipsnakes – like they will on Friday night at Homewood at 6:30pm ET on ESPN2 – the energy level is high.