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Tuesday Video Explosion: College Lacrosse Breakdown

The early portion of the week is always my favorite time to scour Youtube and Vimeo for highlights.  Recent games get uploaded, and the oh-so-fresh highlights are just asking for a quick breakdown.  If your school is uploading highlights to the internet, you’ll probably get featured.  If you’re not… it’s your own fault that we’re not talking about you!

Playing Someone Better? Stick To Basics

We’ll start off with a straight up beat down in NCAA D3 lacrosse.  Stevens took on FDU-Florham and showed little to no mercy, winning 17-4.  I’m putting this video up for a couple of reasons: 1) Stevens scores a lot of goals and goals are fun to watch 2) It’s only 52 seconds long but gets in a ton of action and perhaps most importantly, 3) it shows the difference between GOOD D3 teams and average D3 teams.  It’s really a HUGE gap.

You can see it in the little things, and not just the lopsided score.  The FDU players swing at sticks, rarely try to take the body and don’t break down well when confronting a dodger.  I am positive that there is a difference in skill between these two teams, but I also know if FDU were able to get their fundamentals right, it could have been a lot closer.  In D3 college lacrosse, fundamentals can take a team from bad to good.  If you’re giving up multiple swim dodge goals from within 10 yards, you have a problem.

A Fun And Effective Offense

Speaking of going from bad to good… UVM is looking better.  Vermont doesn’t look great just yet, but there are definite flashes of excellence.  Progress at the D1 level is tough, but the Catamounts seem to making strides.  Of course none of that seemed to matter when Brown came to town last weekend, as the Bears took home a decisive 14-5 win.

I’d rematch the highlights if I were you, and I’d focus on Brown’s offense a little more this time.  I love the motion going on there, the cuts made slow, then fast, and their ability to cycle the ball through moving players.  It seems like an open option offense, and it’s fun to watch!  As this Brown’s team chemistry improves, I could see them being very dangerous.

Mercyhurst’s Offense Will Strangle You

Check out the highlights/interview from Mercyhurst’s recent win over Seton Hill, and pay special attention to the clips of the Lakers when they are offense.  ‘Hurst is the top team in NCAA D2 lacrosse, and there would be no shame in trying to emulate what they do.  Watch the video and then I’ll give you my take on how they’re operating.

Mercyhurst scores some goals in transition, and they notch at least one off of a ride, but their most interesting goals often came in settled, or semi-settled, six on six.  As Mercyhurst begins an offensive possession, they often pull the ball out, as many teams do, to make substitutions.  But when they get their new players on, they don’t wait for those guys to settle in and find their place, they GO!

Hurst isn’t always going to the cage, but they are going somewhere and going hard.  This forces the defensive players to focus on checking up, finding their guys, and getting in.  By the time SHU was in and settled, Mercyhurst had often already established their offense and was moving the ball around in a tight circle around the cage.  Running a tight offense can be hard as defenders can press and disrupt, but Mercyhurst does a great job of setting the D up to fail by never giving them a chance to get comfortable.

By quickly initiating their offense off of substitutions or clears, the Lakers never let their opponent feel solid in their defense.  This results in missed assignments, missed or late slides, and defenders being slightly out of position.  My advice to any team playing Hurst this year?  GET IN THE HOLE and prepare to defend ASAP.

Once Hurst has you on your heels, all of their talent comes into play, and they’ve got you.

Here are today’s video highlight takeaways:

Focus on fundamental defense when playing a better team, build chemistry on offense to see team success, and never get caught on your heels, especially if you’re playing Mercyhurst!