Over the years I’ve done film breakdown of hundreds of college lacrosse games. In this new weekly segment called ‘Film Breakdown’, I’ll be using my experience as a lacrosse coach and former NCAA Division I video coordinator to break down my favorite plays from each week. Keep in mind these aren’t necessarily the “best” plays of the week, but instead plays that I felt were worth talking about in more detail.
It doesn’t take long to see that Michigan is clearly in a zone (notice players being passed off and the focus on defenders sagging off ball). There are two things that the ‘Terps do incredibly well here: they move the ball quickly and they move players off ball with cuts through the crease. Right before the shot on goal we can see #5 vacate the crease moving to the left wing, while at the same time #12 cuts from behind the crease defender. The attention on #5 allows #12 to get enough time and space to catch and shoot.
As we saw in the previous clip, Michigan played a lot of zone on Saturday. There are several reasons why they chose to run a zone: They have no one left to take faceoffs — meaning they are going to play a lot of defense — and they understand Maryland’s ability to break down defenders. Thus, they are wanting to limit shots to the outside as much as possible. The key to an effective zone, in my opinion, is to be aggressive. This is exactly what Michigan star defender Nick Dicaprio does in the clip. Typically when an offensive player moves between two players in a zone they are passed off, but instead of DiCaprio waiting for the player to enter his zone, he decides to attack the offensive player leading to an aggressive double team which eventually leads to a turnover and ground ball.
High IQ Lacrosse Play
When I watched this game I couldn’t wait to breakdown this clip afterwards. There are so many positive takeaways for youth and high school players in this clip:
- Nakeie Montgomery #15 recognizes he has a shortstick defender, gets the ball and takes control of the offense.
- The offense recognizes the matchup and gets into what I can only assume is a practiced set.
- Notre Dame is ready to slide help to Montgomery and #23 on Duke knows this, and get’s ready to take advantage of the slide.
- As Montgomery draws the slide #23 CJ Carpenter leaves the crease to open space and receives the pass.
- With the #1 slide going to Montgomery, and the #2 slide going to Carpenter, #27 Brad Smith is sitting wide open on the wing.
- Carpenter hits Smith with the pass before #24 of Notre Dame can recover, and Smith buries the shot low and away off-side hip.
Clutch Play of the Week
My clutch play of the week came from the UMASS v Hofstra game, in which Hofstra was able to bury an EMO goal in overtime. It appears UMASS is running what we refer to as a “string” defense. A lot of ball movement and player movement up top lead to a little bit of ball watching by the lower defenders. #21 of Hofstra sees a gap in the D, moves in front of the goalie and puts his stick exactly where he wants the pass, the feeder has a slight hitch in his throwing motion which freezes the d for a split second before firing a dart to #21 for a beautiful finish. The OT Win gives Hofstra a much needed 4th win, ending a three game losing streak and bringing them to 1-1 in CAA conference play.
Editor’s Note: If you have a specific lacrosse clip you want talked about on ‘Film Breakdown’ next week, feel free to message me directly on social media at my handle @nicholaszoroya.