Welcome to “A Lacrosse Weekend,” my weekly compilation of thoughts, ideas, history, stories, myths/truths about the great game of lacrosse! I hope you find it enjoyable.
This was the first full week of school in Highlands Ranch, CO and fall sports have kicked in. Today my wife and I will be watching our youngest in a field hockey “play day” and then our oldest in a massive final game of the round robin portion of the Minto Cup. Also on the slate will be tuning into the MLL Championship Game which is on at exactly the same time as Coquitlam vs Brampton.
Tonight at 4:30pm on albertalacrossetv.com is the match up we’ve all been waiting for - The Coquitlam Adanacs vs the Brampton Excelsiors in the third and final game of the round robin portion of the Minto Cup. Both teams are 2-0 with wins over the Alberta teams and the winner tonight will have a bye into the best of five championship series. The loser tonight will play the winner of the Calgary Mountaineers vs Okotoks Raiders in a one-game semifinal play-in to the final series.
Brampton’s Jeff Teat is a freak! He had 6-8 (are you kidding me?!) on Thursday night in a blow out 25-8 win and a paltry 3-3 (haha) in a second blow out win last night. Whether it was Michael Jordan, Barry Sanders, or Gary Gait, there are certain athletes that I’m going to tune in to watch no matter what! Just to see what they do next. Jeff Teat is in that category for me. The way he moves, the way he gets out of trouble, the way he initiates contact but also let’s his man get off balance while resisting contact, the way he sees the floor, the array of shots and finishes is all fascinating to me.
Christian Del Bianco, the goalie for the Adanacs, is the other generational talent in this series. Delbs gave up 1 goal in a 16-1 win (and gave up his gloves to a young fan!) and then last night an 11-3 mid 2nd period score versus the Okotoks turned into a battle as the final score was 12-7. Del Bianco led the NLL this past year in both save percentage and goals allowed and he’s still not 21 years old.
I’ve mentioned Chase Scanlan from Coquitlam, an IMG product who is headed to Loyola…. He’s super fun to watch. Bounces around like Tom Carmean (Blast from the past), is an unbelievable shooter for a go to the rack guy, and bends like Gumby…. He’s going to be a Tewaaraton finalist someday. On the other side, Clark Petterson, who plays with Teat at Cornell is an all around great shooter, passer, and lacrosse player and is the nephew of the late, great Dave Huntley.
I highly recommend you check out this level of lacrosse. Similar to the NCAA Basketball tourney, Jr A lacrosse is college lacrosse in Canada and all of the passion and camaraderie is on full display as these teams fight for the most coveted championship in Canadian box lacrosse.
Unfortunately, this game is on at exactly the same time as the Minto Cup, but it’s on ESPNews so I’ll record it. In any sport, the teams that play hard, play smart, and play together will win. It is no surprise that the Dallas Rattlers and Denver Outlaws are in the final.
Galloway vs Ward
The goalie match-up in this contest is interesting because it’s a rematch of the USA-Canada goalie match-up. Galloway was just named MLL Co-Goalie of the year with Niko Amato and this very well could be his last game as a pro. Ward made the All-World All-Star team and is known for playing big in big games. Ward’s style of play is worth studying. Ward is a big goalie, probably 6’3’’ and plays an extremely high arc on wing shots, which drastically shrinks the amount of net a shooter sees.
The other match-up worth noting is at the Faceoff X. Two guys from DIII schools. Drew Simoneau from Nazareth and Max Adler from Bentley. There is no doubt in my mind that recruiting goalies and fogo’s are the toughest positions to project. These guys got no looks for DI lacrosse and now they’re the best in the world.
It is also notable that tonight’s MLL Championship game will play the new college rules as far as the shot clock goes: 20 seconds to clear the midfield and 60 seconds on offense. It’s a little strange that they would change the rules for a championship game, but nothing is surprising with the MLL and it will give us a look at what college lacrosse will be like next year.
MLL Lacrosse/College Lacrosse Comparisons
It’s tough to compare the two levels of play because in college you practice every day and in the pros you practice once per week (if everyone makes their flights). I bring this up because with the new rules in NCAA Lacrosse there are a lot of comments like, “In the MLL they do this or don’t do that.” In the MLL the only way to be schematically multiple is to have a group together over the course of games, weeks, seasons and then you can have a chance to be multiple in your looks and flexible in your approach. If MLL teams practiced every day, the game would have much better team defense.
A Spotlight on Staats
The Rattlers are loaded with stars like Jordan Wolf, Ned Crotty, and Joel White, but my favorite player to watch is Randy Staats. His combination of toughness and skill, vision and shooting, deception and power are off the chats. On this team, he plays midfield, gets a short stick, and makes some of the most dynamic and creative plays you will see!
Dallas Rattlers' Midfield Defense
The guy I’m rooting for in this game is my man and Rattler short stick d-mid Mike O’Neil. Mike was my Defensive Coordinator at Mountain Vista HS for 2 years. O’Neil went to Fayetteville Manlius HS in Syracuse, played at Cornell, moved to Colorado a few years ago and took a job with me at 3d Lacrosse. He also played for me last season on the Atlanta Blaze. This year the Rattler’s led the league in midfield shooting percentage against. Dallas opponents shot 16.5% when initiating from up top. Mike is the ultimate team guy and I hope he and the Rattler’s can pull it off!
In all of the lacrosse media, there is not a guy smarter than Patrick McEwen of @Laxfilmroom. If you are interested in analytics or truly understanding the new NCAA Rules, follow this guy and read his stuff. Here is a link to a must read article he wrote on Inside Lacrosse: https://www.insidelacrosse.com/article/mcewen-why-i-think-the-rules-committee-should-have-started-shot-clock-on-possession/52947
Don’t miss the Warrior World Series of Youth Lacrosse Game Breakdown of Team 91 Bandits versus Long Island Express with Casey Powell Sunday night at 8pm ET. We will be looking at some of the best u13 teams in the world and seeing what kids can do at that age! Here’s the link: https://zoom.us/j/882891813
How to Get Recruited
I’ve been through the recruiting process with two of my kids; one was an early bloomer where our main worry was him screwing it up after he committed and a late bloomer where we just hoped she’d have a chance to play college lacrosse somewhere. In both cases hanging in there and sticking to a process of trying to do the right things are the key.
As we approach 9/1 there are a lot of anxious families out there thinking that this is where they will find out if their kid will play college lacrosse. Please remember persistence might be the most important skill you can teach your kids!
I work with a select few athletes in my JM3 remote coaching and consulting business. My job is to help them be the best players they can be through on line education/ video analysis, to advise them on what to do / what not to do, and use my network to introduce them to coaches and advocates who could help them.
One athlete I work with in particular is the classic example “Stick-to-it-iveness.”He’s a big, strong, fast, quick, skilled attack/midfielder, but he totally slipped through the cracks. He was a HS All-American, but didn’t grow up in an eastern hotbed. He chose to PG at a pretty high level east coast lacrosse school and was hoping to find a home in DI, but didn’t get recruited.This young man is a GREAT KID who was willing to do anything asked of him. Weekly workouts, video review, zoom calls…. You name it, he was on board to do it!
By the end of May, he had done everything that was asked of him, but didn’t have a home.The plan all along was to apply to schools and walk on if need be, but he was really hoping a school would promise him a spot.Otherwise, he would have to show up and hopefully not get cut. By the end of May, he had garnered acceptance to a dozen schools, but no coaches had a spot available. He could have quit the process right then. He could have said, “screw it, I’m out.” but he hung in there, picked a school with the intention of walking on.The kid wanted DI Lacrosse!
In early June, my recommendation was he play box lacrosse in Canada for the summer. He had to keep proving himself and getting better. I told him, “You will find a home if you stick with it!” The family was on board for this idea so I got the young man hooked up to play Jr B Lacrosse in BC with a friend of mine who is a great and well known coach.The young man had a great season, was top center on the power play, fit in with the guys, was tough and a great teammate.
This story isn’t over, but as of a week ago there seem to be spots open on the roster, the coaching staff was impressed with his summer of box lacrosse and the recommendation from his Jr B coach, and the young man has a shot at making the roster.These are the life lessons that sport can teach our kids. Be Persistent!
“I wish you bad luck”
A friend of mine sent me this link. It is the speech to the Cardigan Mountain School graduating class by Chief Justice John Roberts. It is worth the read: http://time.com/4845150/chief-justice-john-roberts-commencement-speech-transcript/