With the success of the Daily Cheese posts, this might just be the last Lax Link-O-Rama of all time but please don’t fret because it is going to be replaced with an even better Saturday post. You’ll just have to come back next week to find out what is is!
All of the divisions in both the NCAA and MCLA are in full swing even though a number of games, especially on the East coast, have been postponed because of the recent deluge of snow. We’ve been getting quite a bit recently up in NYC but the mid-Atlantic area has been getting smacked down by snow.
You can see the difference by watching this Lax.com video of Army and Bryant from West Point, NY and then going back to Lax.com and checking out the piles of snow on the UNC sidelines down in Chapel Hill, NC. John Stroshacker’s photos are top notch work and he even managed to snap a couple of awesome shots of some heads you may be familiar with.
And Gavin wasn’t the only one getting in on the action.
UNC is looking tight out there. Those helmets are sweet, sweet footwear and those Nike gloves are pretty sweet to compliment the K18s. I like a team with glove diversity. Of course none of that is actually important but it’s fun to talk about. What is important is that UNC is healthy and looking dangerous again.
Gavin Petracca’s return to the attack after injury has really made a big difference and you can already tell he opens things up for Billy Bitter and the rest of the offense nicely. A couple of his assists went to Delaney, who is a great midfield weapon for the Heels.
Overall, they have good d-mids, good poles and their goalkeeping looked really solid against Navy. Navy runs a patient offense that doesn’t take a lot of risks and UNC still managed to take the ball away and create confusion by dictating the play. UNC will need their D to step up if they come up against any really good face off guys though because they only looked good there and not great.
Navy has to dodge from their midfield. I just don’t think their attack has it right now. They had a couple of guys in their midfield that have size and speed and good sticks. The goal of a patient offense is to lull the defense into a false sense of security and then bang-bang. Goal. I like that approach but in the game against UNC, Navy looked TOO patient, like they were lulling themselves into a false sense of security and their offense never got going.
Considering they just lost their best offensive player in Tim Paul, this is to be expected and as we saw with UNC, one or two guys can be the difference between close games and blowouts. Navy will need some time and the season is still young so I’m not giving up on them yet (never give up on Navy) but I would expect them to use their midfield more and press the cage as well.
They simply need to generate more shots, “shoot for posts” and maintain possession while always getting looks. Their D is pretty strong, physical and disciplined but their O will need to put up at least 9-10 goals in big games to be in the picture. I’m not literally saying they should shoot for the pipe, that’s why I put it in quotation marks.
What I mean is that you dodge an alley and instead of pulling the ball out to the side and roll dodging your way through the old Washington & Lee possession offense (effective but Zzzzzz), you keep going to the cage and if you don’t have anything you shoot the ball 3 feet over the cage or wide… somewhat intentionally. If you do have a good look? You take it.
I think this style of offense was run by Maryland in a stall situation at some point (someone help me out in the comments, ok?) but if it is run more often than just in stall situations it can be effective, especially for a team that will rely on dodging middies. It is a little more risky than what they are doing now but I fear that without Paul, their current O will just lack that final punch it needs.
I guess I can’t expect Navy to have their team totally settled in though, considering some teams are just now bringing on assistants. Wow, that seems late to me. But what do I know…
You can go to InsideLacrosse and check out their numerous game recaps and previews for D1 Men’s teams, D1 women’s teams and some select D3 men’s action. There’s a lot of video and their site redesign is definitely and improvement in terms of presentation and navigation. The best thing on the site might be a Reebok commercial that showcases Mark Steenhuis. I know, I can’t believe that I actually like a commercial either. He picked up a stick later in life and has really done something impressive. Plus he had Carrot Top flow before it was cool (it’s because he’s Canadian and they’re stuck in 1994, I think).
Evidently jolly old England is also stuck in the past because they have come up with a mascot for the ILF World Championships to be held in Manchester, England this summer. At least the mascot is a real thing. I guess that’s better. I still don’t see why a lacrosse championship event needs a mascot so if someone could explain that to me, beyond “it’s a good chance to sell some stuffed animals”, it would be much appreciated.
Scotland will be at the ILF tournament and they’ll be wearing this gear as they get waxed by more established nations. My only real question is, #69? Really? Are you 12?
The Crystal Ball Challenge continues on 412 and I don’t think I’ll lose my slim lead this weekend but it could happen. Striding Man just needs to hit some upsets and he’s money. We don’t only pick the games that are hardest to call for everyone, we also pick games that are hard to pick for US. Whether we played lax there or love/hate them, it’s harder to pick games when you’re emotionally invested. Fun times.
I picked Maryland in their game against Georgetown because I want them to win. They always seem to have the talent and it just doesn’t come together. At least not in the past 5+ years. I guess it doesn’t hurt that Georgetown is also kind of the same way. They’re both really good teams, with excellent players and really good coaching but they also mostly seem to end up on the outside looking in and I want to see some more teams enter that top echelon.
This is a game we should have picked: Jacksonville-VMI. I like Jville by a bunch actually even though they’re in their first year. I really think this team is going to improve quickly and year over year improvements will be impressive.
And one last thing… IT’S GAME DAY IN 412 COUNTRY!
About the Author: Connor is a pretty average lacrosse player at this point who doesn’t know when to give up on the game. He played and coached in the NESCAC and still plays for the Southampton LC in NYC. Connor lives with his fiance in Brooklyn and thanks her for allowing him to keep the dream alive.
Contact him at [email protected].