Lacrosse people are opinionated, and this is true when it comes to fans, writers, and yes, even TV announcers. Quint Kessenich (I’m a big fan!), Paul Carcaterra, and Eamon McAnaney do a great job with broadcasts, but they also say some rather interesting things from time to time, and here is where we sift through it all to find the hidden gems, and potentially missed points!
30 Is Old?
During the intro, the guys are looking at players to watch and they name Kyle Harrison as one such player. One of the reasons is that he’s thirty years old, and they want to see if he can still be a “gamer.” Honestly, I don’t think that is a very fair statement, as 30 year old athletes are often in their prime. The same issue is brought up with Kyle Sweeney later in the game because of his advanced age (he’s 32). To be fair, the trio does acknowledge that other sports see their athletes peak in their late 20s and early 30s, but this whole “30 is too old in lacrosse” concept is a complete myth.
Players are really working at staying in shape now, and it’s a different game than it was even 10 years ago. I think this is a very important change to acknowledge, and our announcing core does seem to be picking up on it. If you think 35 year old Striebel still has it (he does), the younger cats are probably doing ok as well. I have all 3 of these “old men” on my 23 man team.
Sieverts Is A Great Story!
Quint nails it with this one, and Carc agrees. Smart move! Sieverts started out at Butler, they dropped the program, he did ok in college, played in England for Durham, and then became a dominant force for Denver. He’s a guy who has improved year over year in notable ways, and could be a truly remarkable player by the time he hits 30. Hey, maybe he could even be good after 30? Crazy, I know. Sieverts is a monster, remember the name this Summer.
Can Syracuse Win A Face Off?
Carc asks this one and the answer is: Yes, yes they can. Last year they won 42% of their face offs. It’s not great, but they can win the battle 4 times out of 10! At the same time, and jokes aside, I actually do get Carc’s point here. Cuse is loaded up with talent (even if Galasso is hurt again right now) and expectations are definitely high. Face offs gave the Orange a scare against Bryant, and cost them the title game against Duke. This point segues nicely into the trio’s diatribe on face offs overall a little later, and begins to show how important a seemingly small portion of the game has taken on such great importance.
Kevin Leveille – Best INSIDE American Finisher
Carc asks if it is true, Quint says yes. Carc agrees. I agree. Well that was easy. Leveille is a legend, and this would be his first US team (his brother Mike played in 2010). Nothing groundbreaking here, but Leveille deserves a shout out and I’m glad he gets one. Quiet player who produces. Know the name, know his game.
The FoGo Debate
First off, I would like to thank these three fine fellows for having this conversation on air, and for being so candid with their beliefs. I’m not one to shy away from honest conversation, and while I didn’t agree with everything that was said, the whole topic was interesting to say the least.
Eamon brings up the importance of face offs, especially against Canada’s Geoff Snider. Quint makes a smart guess that at least two face off guys will stay on the 30-man roster in addition to “swing” players who can do other things and face off. Peyser, Harrison, Hartzell, etc. Carc notes the importance of differing styles, and how changing it up can frustrate an opponent. I’m of the belief that style is less important than streakiness, but when you combine the aspect of limited roster space (23 men for the entirety of the games) and the need for guys who can multitask, differing styles becomes a more realistic option, as opposed to carrying two face off specialists.
Quint goes a step further and says that using two spots on a 23 man team for FoGos would be a “waste,” but I’m not so sure I agree with that assessment. When you look back at playing time in past World Championships, certain guys get really limited run in big games. Why not put a second FoGo on the roster for the games against Canada, and then use 19 runners (2 Fogos, 2 goalies) in the rest of your games? I’m not saying the latter option is ideal, but the idea has merit, and within the current rules of the game, it could help.
Are FoGos “Non-Lacrosse Players”?
Welcome to the FoGo debate Part II. The portion above is about face offs for Team USA. The below is about FoGos not being lacrosse players. Quint made the remark that he saw a lot of lacrosse players out there, and that the face off guys weren’t among them. He does like Peyser though, and calls him a lacrosse player.
I can agree with Quint that face off guys are highly specialized, but I don’t know that they aren’t lacrosse players. Face offs, especially at the highest levels, destroy sticks. It’s hard to play offense with a warped stick, and that’s just part of the game. Anthony Kelly can absolutely rip the net off the cage with his shot, but I can’t see him playing offense with a stick twisted at a 45 degree angle. As for playing defense, I think a couple of these guys could probably do it, but there is another specialty player who does that, isn’t there? Why doesn’t the SSDM get any blame for limiting face off guys’ roles?
International Game Offers Solution?
Where the debate fell short was offering up a solution, other than simply removing the face off from the game. So here it is… are you ready for it?
The potential solution is limiting roster sizes even further. 23 men is actually a pretty good number for a lacrosse team. When I played in Australia, we were limited to 15 guys, and it worked. Some games I played LSM, SSDM, Attack, and took face offs. It was magical and truly tested me as a player. Guys who would have been FoGos also played O and D, because they had to. Cut the rosters down to 20 guys and a guy like Peyser or Snider or Harrison becomes invaluable, and a pure FoGo becomes harder to carry. Cut rosters to 18 and you’d see even more do-it-all guys. Want to see less specialization? Cut down the rosters. It really is that simple.
You could also do this in college. Limit college game day rosters to 20 players. Oh no! Almost every team in the country has 40+ guys on their roster, so what happens to the bottom half of the team? Congratulations, you just got a JV/practice team. You’re taking 40 guys to games already, so all you need is a field and refs. The additional cost is minimal at best. Heck, the young assistant coaches could even ref the JV games. It’s 100% possible, and it would solve the specialization issue in a snap. Of course it won’t happen…
Growth Of The Game
Eamon notes how the game has spread, and how good players are coming from a more diverse set of states, schools, and backgrounds. Can someone look back at where past Team USA players have come from and do a case study on that? Tom Garvey, I’m looking at you, sir!
Preseason Top 10
Quint doesn’t like Duke early on. If history serves, he’ll be correct that they could struggle, especially in the middle of the field. Then he says they could also make the Final Four. Nails it! Another Quint thought is that the ACC can’t all be in the Top 10. He asks how the 5th place team in the ACC could be #6 in the country. He covers college football and knows about the SEC, right? When teams are good, they are good. Of course I also don’t see all the ACC teams staying undefeated out of conference, so there’s that.
Penn State is a team they like even without the potential of the CAA AQ. I would agree, PSU is a program on the rise. Another great observation the guys make has to do with conference AQ winners. We had some surprise winners last year in schools like Bryant and Detroit, and both pushed their higher seeded opponents to the brink. Definitely worth keeping an eye on!
Length Of USA Tryouts
The announcers seem to like the long tryout process because it gives the coaches the chance to see how guys play together, but also seemed perfectly ok with Rabil, Mundorf, and Bernhardt making it to this point even though they have been injured and unable to play. They also seemed to think that all three could potentially make the 30-man roster. I know that Rabil and Mundorf are likely two of the best in the game, but those two statements just don’t match up for me.
Rabil performed last MLL season and played through the pain. He also played on Sunday and is clearly back on the path towards being 100% healthy. Mundorf has not played at all in the US tryouts, and has been hurt for a good portion of the last two years. Bernhardt couldn’t go on Sunday either. And honestly, I don’t know how you keep either Mundorf or Bernhardt on the team. If this much time is needed to see who makes it, how can three guys who have barely performed be in the final 30?
I can see the argument for these guys being included. Can you see the argument for them being excluded? Crazy, I know.
Do You Want To Slide To Canada?
Make them score one on one goals. Don’t slide because they will jam the ball inside. This means you need shutdown guys and people who are good in the two man game. The announcers are on point with this one even if it goes against your first impulse. I know, it scares me too.
End Of The 2nd Quarter
All young defensemen, take note of Quint’s wisdom! Schwartzman throws a full field pass, the defender misses the ball and Brian Karalunas (how’s he get down there?) catches the ball and puts it home as time runs out. Never play the ball. Don’t try to pick it off. Just check down on your man, and be physical. This happened to me in college. It’s embarrassing. Great little point of instruction from Coach Kessenich.
Goalies Like A Hot Start
A couple of keepers (Schwartzman and Quint) mention how much they love to start off with a good save. As a coach, should you make an extra effort to work for a great first shot to rattle opposing goalies? Hmmm. Discuss.
Wesley Berg (Denver), Kieran McArdle (St. John’s), Tom Schreiber (Princeton), Lyle Thompson (Albany), and Jordan Wolf (Duke) are their top 5 guys. Thompson, Berg, Schreiber, and Wolf get called out, and Carc mentions that McArdle is the real deal too. Heck, it might not even be one of those guys, and Eamon makes a good point about Jojo Marasco’s meteoric rise his Senior year. Personally, I like Thompson, and Eamon agrees but also goes outside the box with Bitter or Sankey as dark horses. The guys are absolutely right that Albany is must watch TV this year.
If there is one guy who should be mentioned as a legit contender but wasn’t, it has to be Wells Stanwick. I think we see a more pronounced presence from him, and a more goal hungry approach from Hop. That could lead to turning some heads and potentially bigger numbers… along with more wins.
Eamon played at Notre Dame. Did you know that? Ground ball machine evidently. The trio talks a bit about Mitch Belisle and how well he fits in to the USA system. They seem to think he’s close to a lock. They also liked Farrell’s play, especially in transition and I’m with them on that one too. The ability to play up top and down low was also mentioned as a key, and Brian Karalunas was pointed out as a versatile pole. I think Buckley and Sweeney also fit that mold. If the team keeps 3 goalies for the 30 man team, will all these poles make it through?
The guys also liked Joe Fletcher, and I think he’s perfect for the international game. Eamon thought Marasco and Holman equipped themselves well as younger players. Both certainly looked like they belonged.
Who Is Virginia’s Passer?
Carc and Quint have questions about UVA’s passing game, but I’d love to insert James Pannell’s name to the conversation. That is a spot where they have need, and I think he’s hungry to play and prove himself. I think he could be a good guy for that role, and could turn some heads this year. Maybe he’s even a surprise Tewaaraton guy?
From High School To College
I loved the conversation about how hard it is to transition from high school to college, especially in the midfield. It just takes so much time to learn all the components of midfield play, and when you couple that with much better athletes and a much faster pace of play, it makes for a difficult jump. Here is another query for Mr. Garvey! Where do the most freshmen starters play on the field? Is it statistically harder to be a first year freshman mid than an attackman, defender, or goalie? This could be interesting!
I really enjoyed listening to the guys talk about the action on the field and their tangents were genuine and passionate for the most part. We’re lucky to have so many qualified and knowledgeable guys talking about our game. Even if I don’t agree with it all, I enjoy listening to it. Who wants to listen to some bland and boring guys who say nothing contentious? No one, that’s who. These guys care, and it shows.
So thanks to Quint, Carc, and Eamon! Keep up the great work and thanks for providing so many great topics to hit up! If you (the reader) has got thoughts on this, I want to hear it. Hit me up in the comments!