Today we'll look "CSI:"-style at two aspects of lacrosse--Duke's "55" offense and the Maryland Terrapins's second midfield.
Duke's "55" Offense
A Duke longstick joins a slow-break or fast-break. Nothing comes of the break. The longstick jogs off the field, ostensibly to be substituted, and usually followed closely by Team A's offensive midfielder who also wants to be substituted.
Yet if the Duke coaches notice that the offensive MF leaving the field isn't a good two-way player, they yell, "55!" At that point, the longstick steps outside the offensive box and stops. Unsure, Team A's offensive MF stops too.
This is the "55," or "five-on-five," scheme. Duke uses it at least once or twice a game. The object is two-fold: To create a little more space for the offense and to try and keep Team A's offensive midfielder on the field to play defense.
It has its roots in the NBA. In the early 1980s, when zone defenses were illegal, current Warriors Coach Don Nelson devised a scheme by which his worst offensive player was stood at midcourt on offense. The defense had to have someone defend him or else it was a zone, i.e. an "illegal defense." This not only kept Nelson's worst player from the ball, but the 4-on-4 gave his offense a lot more space to operate. (fwiw Nelson was coaching Milwaukee at the time.)
Against Duke's "55," Maryland and Georgetown didn't defend it as such; they kept the offensive midfielder next to the longstick until the longstick left the field. Non-money bet says Johns Hopkins will sag it's offensive player into the defense and take its chances there rather than giving Duke the extra space for a 5 on 5.
The Maryland Terrapins' 2nd midfield
affect effect of starting three freshmen on attack has not hurt Coach Dave Cottle. For instance, when the freshmen started, that bumped senior Max Ritz to the first midfield (from attack) and junior Drew Evans to the second midfield.
Thus, Evans went from starting last year to having as linemates a freshman and a defensive midfielder this year.
Yet Evans has taken ownership of the 2nd midfield. And the point-production between the two units is close: The first line has 19 goals and 14 assists; the second, 17 goals and 6 assists.
In a lot of ways, Evans's linemate, junior Jeff Reynolds, makes the team go. He is on the second midfield, plays defensive midfield, is a wing on faceoffs and can take faceoffs if necessary. Reynolds has 11 goals, and they're not cheap.
Against UNC, he scored three goals. Two were particularly impressive. One came in transition when GK Grant Zimmerman gave up a little bit of the near pipe, and Reynolds put his shot there, off-hip. The other came on a sweeping left-to-right dodge on a jump shot against a longstick in settled offense. He also scored on a jump shot following a left-to-right sweep dodge against Georgetown. He put both shots low and away, the gold standard for such a shot.
Reynolds will be important against Virginia on Saturday. The Bratton twins gave the Cavaliers an edge against Johns Hopkins's shortstick defensive midfielders, who are not particularly athletic. The Brattons combined for five goals and the winning assist in overtime. In my head, I thought Hopkins could give the Brattons four goals and survive, but no more than that.
Reynolds and SSDM Dan Burns are good athletes--each runs the 40-yard dash in around 4.6 seconds, according to published reports. So athletically, they are pretty close to the Brattons. This will be the game-within-the-game that we'll focus on later in the week.
One other thing about Maryland--TFBO2F has not seen so much emotion from a team. It's like the guys on the sidelines, coaches and players, are the studio audience of "Oprah" or "Dr. Phil." There's a lot of cheering and encouragement going on.
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Posted by: Timbosky | March 26, 2008 9:03 AM
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