I’ve got a lot to talk about but I’m going to start out with an intense breakdown of the Duke-Maryland game. Almost always a good game and as usual, they delivered. As they play, I’ll go though their strengths and weaknesses. Then I’ll offer my thoughts on some other games from this week including Stevenson-RIT, Princeton-Hopkins and Cortland-Gettysburg.
If you keep reading you’ll also be rewarded with a picture of some sweet Nike cleats. I’ll review those as soon as I stop playing on old school turf and move back to the good stuff. I love the 27th and 10th ave location (where Craven and I play in the Ulax league) but the carpet is kind of brutal. Whatever, the stuff up at Columbia for the spring and summer is much better but I’m not really complaining. I just love lax too much. Almost as much as I want to see a picture of Quint K with a Brian Bosworth haircut. That sounds awesome!
Maryland vs. Duke
Maryland started out well with a long possession and some good looks but a great dodge against the pole and shot into the top corner by Crotty put Duke up 1-0. Phipps and Wigrizer both started making some big saves early though as the middies for both teams were creating some good looks. Catalino got the ball in close and dunked it to eventually tie it up.
Maryland was clearly focused on ball possession early as they held the ball for minutes at a time and were even given a couple of stall warnings. The Terps next goal came on a nice piece of transition that involved Brain Farrell and he showed why he’s a dangerous player on both ends of the field with the longstick. The Terps then dropped in another goal on man up as Catalino ripped an outside shot after some really good ball movement. The Maryland man up has been unstoppable this spring.
The physical play continued and even the goalies got involved as Phipps came out of the cage and laid out a Duke attackman, creating a turnover that UMd couldn’t capitalize on. The first quarter ended with the Terps up 3-1 but within 3 minutes of the 2nd quarter starting, Max Quinzani put in a low garbage goal. I give him a hard time with the who “thumbing the ball” thing but in tight, he’s simply as good as it gets in college lacrosse.
Maryland continued to move the ball well and Adam Sear continued the scoring tradition, using a sweet ConnorWilsonLAS dyed head, went low to high from 14 yards and put the Terps up 4-2. Quinzani matched that effort with a really nice low to low blast from 12 yards. Not a surprise the assist came from Crotty.
I mean all the guys on the field can ball but Crotty is clearly the most dangerous player out there in the college game. This gets him a lot of attention and really opens it up for the rest of the Duke guys. On a side note, consider the guys Quinzani has played with; Danowski, Greer, Crotty. Wow. Did Crotty just drop another assist? Oh, yeah he did. 4-4.
Duke is now up 5-4 on another Howell goal and they are now using C.J. Constabile, their LSM, to face off. Finally. If he’s going to face off he does need to learn what to do with the ball though. Possessions after face offs are different than transition in that the space is tighter and the numbers are usually higher, meaning there are more guys involved so the slides are easier. Give the ball up to a shortie and take the possession. A F/O win is huge, don’t give it up right away.
I wasn’t sold on Catalino and Yeatman and while I’m still not so sure about the latter, Catalino was great against Georgetown and he lit it up against Duke. He moves the ball pretty well during a possession and makes good passes that help create shots. These are two things Yeatman is still working on, which is probably why he’s playing more midfield.
Manley’s penalty was questionable. It was a little high but when Shakespeare spins through the D, he knows he’s going to get popped. Hitting someone is really your only option there. But I’m glad they called it because Maryland proceeded to run the hidden ball trick on the extra man from behind with Catalino and Young and then Young found Yeatman to give the Terps the 6-5 edge. Phipps comes up big to keep it that way at half time. He’s never looked much better than this.
The second half starts and that’s why you put Yeatman at midfield. Shortie, wing dodge, lots of space, lefty rip. Costabile, again pushing transition off the face off, and Duke are lucky to keep possession after he takes a no angle shot instead of giving it up. Farrell then shows how it’s done in transition but his middie couldn’t handle the pass. Quint advises Duke to dodge on Farrell. I know he’s tired but really? Duke doesn’t dodge Farrell and scores. Most Duke guys wear huge shoulder pads, by the way. Maybe they help because Duke ties it up at 7 when Crotty (oh another assist? you don’t say) finds Quinzani and Max buries it.
Costabile then wins the next F/O and gives it up. Well done. Maryland nets the next two and Catalino again looked very fluid in his catch-shoot motion for his fourth to put the Terps up by two, 9-7. Not bad considering he did it righty with his off hand. Maryland is continuing to move the ball well and play really unselfish lacrosse. Sear puts a Duke defender, Manley, to the turf to end the 3rd as Manley got off an ugly shot. Quint reaction? “Yuck”, and I couldn’t agree more but hey, you gotta try!
Speaking of yuck, botched clear, Reed scores for the Terps. It happens to everyone but it still sucks. Both teams look a little nervous to start the 4th and that makes sense in a tight rivalry game. Duke has done a better job of dumping back to the middle after an initial dodge but there hasn’t been enough re-dodging by that second man or a 3rd pass.
Duke has the shooters but they could benefit from more dynamic ball movement. When they do move the ball crisply, they create lots of good looks. Maryland, on the other hand, is being very patient and taking possession shots. The old Maryland stall, sort of. And then Yeatman throws it away under pressure from Theodoridis, who is dwarfed by the Californian A/M.
After some more back and forth, Duke finally really presses the cage and Howell caps his hat trick. When you’re down 3 with 4.5 minutes left, you have to go to the cage. Quinzani almost gets Duke within one with a tough close shot and Duke continues to press on both ends and the result is some intense action all over. This ends when Duke gets a really questionable penalty but Maryland throws it away after the melting the clock a bit. Crotty makes them pay when he finds Howell in transition for his 4th assist and Howell’s 4th goal.
Costabile and Quinzani come up huge off the next F/O and Duke calls a time out to talk it over. Some more back and forth and Duke… calls another time out. Coach Danowski lets his Seniors give some input and goes over the basics. Someone drops an F bomb, the announcers apologize and this provides yet another example of why microphones fixed on athletes in any sport, even the Olympics, is foolish.
With 13 seconds left, Crotty dodges, Turri re-dodges and he finds Will McKee who buries it. See? I told you they needed to do that. We’re headed to OT and this game has been awesome so far. Costabile does well on the face off and comes up with the ball and Duke calls another timeout. They worked it to perfection last time but they give it up and then Maryland gets a costly interference call after some physical play to give Duke a second chance. The other announcer tells us that’s why we do man-ball drills in practice. Right.
Now I don’t know if Phipps saved that last shot or not but he did something right for sure in conjunction with Holmes. Huge play. The ball goes to Farrell and he pushes it up field eventually finding Catalino who goes low to low for his 5th goal of the game and 11-10 OT win over rival Duke. For the first time in years, Maryland looks like a real contender.
Duke is giving up way too many good shots and this still surprises me because they have an excellent group of poles. Wigrizer looked better and he’s definitely going to be a good addition to that D as he settles in to the starting role. Duke’s middies need to produce more and dodge to the cage after their line mates have cleared through. Crotty is the real deal and this game is a great example of the effect he can have. If hockey assists existed in lacrosse, he might have had 9 points today.
Editor’s note: Lookout for Kyle Devitte’s next Devious Video Recap this week too. He’ll be providing his own perspective on the Duke-Maryland game.
Princeton vs. Johns Hopkins
Tommy Duerr can rip the ball. Everyone talks about Wharton, and they should because he can straight up shoot, but Duerr can more than hold his own. That’s going to be a dangerous combo for Hopkins and both Kimmel and Boyle’s assist numbers will benefit from that. I still like Princeton’s helmets and gloves. I still hate their uniforms. I think that’s what the Denver Outlaws JV team wears. I wonder if 412 thinks they’re better or worse than some of the Nike U kits we’ve seen him rip apart.
Hopkins has to be happy to have Boland back. He was the leading point scorer for the Hop last year and this is the first time he’s played all year due to a suspension. Offensively, he gives them a boost and on the other side of the field, Princeton’s offense looks much more interesting than it ever has before. It almost resembles their basketball team’s famous back door offense but the difference is that the Princeton laxers are also REALLY good players. No offense to Princeton basketball, but come on.
The McBride cousins are legit and Engleke rounds out that attack really well. They have middies who can carry the ball with speed and these guys can shoot. Quint kept calling it a box-hybrid but I don’t see it. These guys are field players just playing good field lacrosse. I haven’t seen nearly enough pick and roll/2 man game action to call this a box-hybrid offense. They do quite a bit of picking but any decent offense does that.
Compared to Hopkins, the Tigers run a pretty dynamic O, whereas Hop relies on stars to produce and they don’t really push transition either. They settle the ball a lot but they have studs to rely on… how fast does Wharton shoot? Jebus. With him, Duerr and now Boland in the line up, there are shooters all over the place. Matthews and some of the other guys can really bring it with time and room as well. This will really help Boyle dodge effectively and allow some of the younger Jays, like Ranagan and Greeley, to shine.
When I played at Wesleyan we started using a zone defense and people always try to dismiss it as a gimmick or say that it won’t work at the next level. Well to them I say, Hopkins is using a zone and a relatively simple one at that and they’re doing just fine. Also, NY Tech as won multiple National Championships at the NCAA D2 level with a zone D. So don’t knock it til you know it.
To end the first, Hop went back to their man to man and gave up a goal. Anecdotal evidence? At best, but I think I made my point anyway. In the end, Princeton took the 11-10 OT win and Hopkins has to look at their offense during the week so they can find ways to get more movement out of their numerous sets. both of these teams looked really good in general and both should be pushing for the NC in May.
Stevenson vs. RIT
e-lacrosse.com has a nice long video highlight from the recent Stevenson-RIT game, which the Stevenson Mustangs won handily, 20-9. A big concern for the ‘stangs was their midfield but they seem to have reloaded the stables and will be just fine. Defensively, they looked vulnerable and a little lost but that is where the had to fill some holes as well. Either way, you’re going to need to score 12+ to beat Stevenson. RIT looked good but I don’t think they’ll be a top 10 team this year.
Gettysburg vs. Cortland
I thought Cortland would roll in this game because they returned a lot offensively and because Gburg had lost so much defensively but evidently the Gburg D just reloaded because they only surrendered 5 goals to the Dragons, while the Bullet offense put in 7 Gs of their own. DeLuca played for Cortland and had 2 assists so there are no excuses there. After smoking WNEC 12-2, Cortland was looking good early in the season but they are no longer anyone’s clear cut number 1, that much is for sure. Stevenson plays WNEC on Sunday and if they pull out a big W, they will be the easy choice for number 1 in D3. Roanoke can also make a push as they absolutely smoked Cabrini 21-7 and Geneseo got a big win over Naz, 9-8 in OT.
I can’t wait to rock these out on the field. I’ve seen a lot of the D1 guys wearing them and I’m pumped to try them out and then review ’em for you all, so you know what’s up. For now, all I can say is that they look pretty sweet!
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].