Three Takeaways from Atlas Lacrosse Club’s Week 1 Loss
Atlas dropped its first game of the season, 13-12, to the Redwoods on Saturday. Despite a competitive game through four quarters, Atlas showed some rust. The team trailed the Redwoods wire-to-wire. There were dropped passes, high shots and shot-clock confusion.
Still, there were crazy shots, and makes, and signs of promising chemistry to be developed between the veterans and rookies. Here are three takeaways from Week 1:
Gone is the FOGO Trevor Baptiste?
It felt like face-off specialist Trevor Baptiste clocked more minutes in the season opener than he has in a long time.
With the new PLL shot clock rule, a 32-second shot clock – not the normal 52-second one – starts after a won faceoff. With 20 seconds less to sub out, Baptiste found himself a part of the offense regularly.
Baptiste took three shots on the day, which is nearly double his career average of 1.6 shots per game.
“With the shot clock, just have to try and get that ball moving fast,” Baptiste said during a mid-game interview Saturday. “Have to play fast and aggressive without playing sloppy.”
With the new rule, it seems the days of the FOGO (faceoff, get off) are behind us.
The Redwoods figured out a way to sub in and out smoothly long before Atlas got the hang of it. That can’t happen in Week 2. Atlas needs a less-exhausted Baptiste at the stripe and a savvy shooter coming out of the box on offense whenever possible, so the shot-clock strategy should be of high importance before the Bulls face the Whipsnakes next week.
Xander Dickson impresses in his debut
Atlas coach Mike Pressler wanted another off-ball player, and he got one.
Xander Dickson proved he can do what he was drafted for in Week 1, scoring three goals with one landing on SportsCenter’s Top 10. Dickson and Jeff Teat seemed to have developed as much chemistry as possible for only having three days to practice together. It'll be fun to watch them as they spend more time with one another.
This Dickson shot was unreal, but don’t sleep on the pass:
The Atlas defense has depth, needs chemistry
Atlas’ training camp battle happened down low and was settled when Tucker Durkin, Gavin Adler and Michael Rexrode got the nod to start Saturday, with Brett Makar coming out of the box and Cade van Raaphorst being released to the player pool Tuesday.
Makar had four ground balls and one caused turnover on the day and Adler had one of each.
Similar to the attack unit, the defense has room to grow both play and chemistry wise. While there was a renewed sense of energy and depth on defense, Atlas was a step behind and late to slide at times. There was also a lack of imposing its will and controlling the tempo of the offense, which Pressler said are areas of focus for the defense this season.
Atlas plays the Whipsnakes Saturday at 3 pm ET in Charlotte, N.C.