Tony Vallance has been coaching at the college level for the past 11 years including stops at Dean Junior College, Muhlenberg College, Bellarmine University and most recently Fairfield University. Originally from Maryland, he played goalie at Penn State University where he graduated in 1998. He is currently the Director of Lacrosse Instruction at the House of Sports, located in Ardsley, N.Y.
There are a bunch of new rules that are changing the way college lacrosse is played and coached.
While there has been a lot of talk about the shot clock and stick changes, the changes to the subbing rules might be making the largest change in the game.
Some teams are taking advantage of this aspect of the game by attacking while the other team is attempting to sub. Bryant University has a great offensive weapon in their LSM, Mason Poli. When playing the subbing game, the like to hang him near the restraining line to set picks and screens.
Any offensive player stuck playing defense must make a decision – do I stay and play good defense or try to get off the field in the subbing game?
While many teams will use a version of this “hangman,” Poli adds a new wrinkle with his 100 mile-per-hour shot and ability to score in these unsettled situations.
Other teams are finding their own new wrinkles to take advantage of personnel matchups.
In Lehigh’s game versus Villanova last week, Lehigh sent one of their longpoles behind in an unsettled situation. The D-man set a pick at X that freed up the attackman to get topside and score.
While picks at X are nothing new, this wrinkle all comes down to personnel. The D-man was covered by an Offensive middie who most likely doesn’t see many reps playing picks behind. Here is where the subbing game takes affect even when no one is subbing. If that offensive player knew he could wait until a horn to sub off, he might play things differently.
These situations lead to some larger questions that each coach must ask himself as he looks at his own personnel. Do I have two-way mids capable of playing both offense and defense? How much time will your team spend in practice preparing for this aspect of the game?
For teams that spend significant portions of their practice week on subbing it isn’t a change. For those teams who don’t spend as much, it might take away valuable time usually spent on settled offense or EMO.
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