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Hot Pot Of Lax: West Coast Lacrosse

3 - Published January 11, 2012 by in Grow The Game, High School, Hot Pot, The Life

Welcome to another Hot Pot!  This week we’re taking a look at West Coast Lacrosse.  We know WC lax has grown, rapidly improved and transformed over the past ten years. So how can the West Coast still be a frontier for the sport?

WCC_West_Coast_Map

Left side is the best!

What got me thinking about West Coast Lacrosse?  Pretty simple actually.  TLN put together a great video of the Adrenaline Challenge All-Star game, and at the beginning Dave Campbell, Head Coach at Middlebury (a top NCAA DIII school in VT), speaks about how the all-star games from 10 years ago are like the regular games now out West, and how the WC all-star games can even be better than their East Coast counterparts.  While I agree that these kids can definitely play, I’m more interested in his comparison to East Coast lax since that had been the gold standard for so long.

And it’s pretty easy to see what he’s talking about after watching the video.  There is some serious talent out there!  Now, I don’t know that any of the kids in that video looked like future D1 All Americans, but a number of the guys on the field definitely looked like they could play lower level D1, and any level of D2, D3 and MCLA lacrosse.  I have definitely seen East Coast lacrosse that wasn’t as good as what is in the video above.  And I love Chase Williams’ (of the American Revolution!) goal at the :46 mark.

Now, before we go too crazy, let’s remember that this is an all-star game highlight video.  There’s only so much we can see and tell from watching it.  And our own biases can easily affect how we look at things like this.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t look at it all!  And the topic of West Coast Lacrosse is always an interesting one.  Huge steps have been made.  So how far along is the left coast?

The things I saw that made me think West Coast lax is for real were some nice shots on the run, poles who could handle in transition, some nice shooting while using a defender as a screen, and some nice saves here and there.  Overall, I was really impressed by all that and the general pace of play.   But most of these kids were 2012 or 2013 HS graduates, and a lot of them seemed to settle for outside shots, or shots where they were moving away from the cage.  The biggest surprise to me was that I didn’t see as much physical play as I thought I might.  Maybe it just got edited out.  But guys were often dodging without much trouble or harassment.  And for as many good saves as we saw, we also saw soft goals.  20 yard jump shots should be easy saves for all-star goalies.

Now I don’t mean to criticize any of the kids in this video.  I think they are all talented lacrosse players with a lot of potential.  And they are definitely better than I was at that age.  But that is not what is at issue here.  What is at issue here is: are they as good as their East Coast counterparts?  After watching the video below, I’m not so sure.

Yes, that was from Connecticut and it featured sophomores.  And that event is run over the Summer, whereas the Adrenaline Challenge is run during the Winter.  There are actually a lot more differences, but that’s to be expected, and again, not the issue.

What we saw from the Lacrosse Recruits Super Sophs was better shooting on the run, more dodging towards the cage, a lot more inside shots and better overall play.  To me, it was noticeable.  Not huge, but noticeable.  Now if one were to look at film like this from 2001 from both CT and CA (if any even exists) they difference would be huge.  And that’s a big step.  The West Coast has narrowed the gap in a major way in only a decade.

More and more kids are playing lacrosse out West, and the game is rapidly catching up the level that is played in traditional hot bed areas.  There was a time when one or two kids would come from the West Coast who had talent, but that is clearly no longer the case.  Now there are teams of talent to recruit and it makes a lot of sense for a team like Middlebury to be out there recruiting.  But the bread and butter kids for D1 teams will continue to come from East Coast schools for at least the next five years.  But after that point, I think the lines will blur even further, and the distinction of hot bed will mean even less.

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LACROSSE NEWS IN OTHER PLACES:

- Lacrosse popularization in Colorado continues | Examiner.com

- Colorado should add women’s lacrosse | Daily Camera

- Madalon promoted to Associate Head Coach at Stevens | Stevens Ducks

- Army Lacrosse holds first practice of 2012 | Go Army Sports

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LACROSSE VIDEO OF THE WEEK:

We’ve got Loyola – Siena fall ball highlights to get you excited for the season… which is only a month or two away!  Right now we’re talking ’bout practice!

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