Tuesday, May 22, 2007

at Columbia

Columbia was just plain awesome today. Fast, aggressive, strong stick skills, tight defense. So it turned into a learning game rather than a game game.

I like playing good teams. Good teams make you work harder. They make you sharpen your skills. IF you're up for the challenge. SOME of you were. Carry was. She had her best game so far in the cage. Mollard was. The 7th graders were. Cehowski and Jenna were. (I'm not going to go through the whole team, but these girls were noticeable.) Others decided 11-0 ... 15-1 ... 17-2 was too much for them. That they didn't want to play against girls faster than them, more athletic, more skilled. They didn't want to work harder than they have all year. To push themselves. Disappointing ...

The ball movement on attack was great. Our catching and throwing still need a lot of work, but I love the fact that you are trying to work as a team and expand our options. Sammi to Jenna ... Jenna shoots ... score. That's good lacrosse.

Defense -- today was the best cutting team you've ever played against. The cuts were quick, they were continuous, and the passes were strong and accurate. I think you did pretty well and actually got better as the game progressed. At the end I saw a lot of interceptions and interruptions.

Next up: Shaker.

Averill Park

I think this may be the first ever BH-BL Girls Lacrosse win streak ... 2 wins in a row!

Averill Park came on to our field thinking they were going to beat us. Easily.

They were wrong. (11-5 wrong, which is pretty wrong.)

That was the best all around play of the entire season ...

Carolyn Berninger made save after save in the goal. My favorite was the direct shot that she not only stopped, but flat out caught, controlled, and cleared 20 yards.

I loved watching Av Park get the ball, move it 100 yards down the field with three passes, and then get stopped cold trying to run into the arc (by Mollard and company). This allowed the rest of our defense to get back and take care of business.

The attack -- we definitely relied on our main strategy of running down the field and shooting, but we also moved the ball around more than ever before. The standout play went (I think) like this: Izzy, near the left side of the cage, passes out to Megan at the top of the arc, who passes to Taylor cutting through the arc who shoots and scores. I may not be remembering the right players, but the ball movement was fantastic.

Congrats on win #3.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

at Ballston Spa

The weather was excellent.

We got to the field early for once (usually we get 15 minutes to warm up at away games -- for this game we got about 45 minutes).

The field was short (goal to goal) by 14 yards. That's a huge advantage for a team like ours (speed is our main asset).

We had refs who actually knew what they were doing.

Warm ups went well. I said little, yet I saw hand switching, ground balls, and over-the-shoulder passes being practiced. The girls are starting to self-organize. This is good.

I was about to start writing the list of people who scored, but here's what I'm happier about: B Spa only scored 6 goals this game. They scored 9 last time we played them -- that's a 33% improvement. Our defense did a great job of keeping a couple girls who are twice as big as ME from ever getting inside the 8m arc with the ball. That's impressive. Carolyn's saves won her Player of the Game. Carolyn and Cary's collective work in the goal earned them Weekly Captains status for this week.

Intro to this section (before I get to the positive stuff): Early in the game, when it became apparent that we would do a lot of scoring, a few people started getting ball-hoggish. It looked to me like they were playing for stats. Not acceptable. Our goal is excellent lacrosse, no matter what the score is. That means: if a player is open, you pass; if someone needs a pic, you set it; if the ball can be passed up the field (instead of run), you pass it; you play defense with your feet first and stick second; play defense as hard as you play offense (for wings and center).

The good news: 10 different players scored (you can check the stats page for details). Their goalie was not strong, but I saw many good shots and a lot of good hard running. I would, however, like to see more assists. We can be a good team simply because we have very good athletes, but we can only be a great team if our very good athletes work together a little bit more, especially on the attack.

Ground-ball pick ups still need a lot of work.

Courtney, however, had several very nice one-handed pick ups that started fast breaks. I'm not sure this technique will work against faster teams, but against a slow team, use it.

We were offsides twice. If the refs had seen this (they should have -- the second time TWO girls were offsides) we would have lost 2 goals.

I remember watching Courtney run down the middle of a wide open 8m arc, shoot, and score. Apparently almost all of our attackers set pics and this opened up the middle for Courtney (I didn't see this -- Mackenzie told me). Nice.

OK -- Go thank your mothers for driving you to and from lacrosse practice! (it's Mother's Day)

Thursday, May 10, 2007


This should've been a home game ... I am not happy about having to play on Colonie's field twice (less warm up time for us, parents have to drive farther, no home field advantage), but ...

We played very well. Not easy after a 40 minutes bus ride in 80 degree heat.

The story of the game was bad defense -- by Colonie. I was extremely happy that our girls did not sink to their level and start wailing away with their sticks. We continued to move and stop them cold (OK, cold except for those 10 times) with our footwork. They had been slashing more and more as the first half ended and our girls had the patience to wait for the refs to start calling them. And call them they did -- 5 yellow cards in all. And listen to this (prepare for a quick lesson in penalty administration) ...

Rule 7, Section 1 states that: "Repeated major fouls and any unsportsmanlike act of a violent nature by a player or coach occurring anywhere on the field may be penalized at the 8 meter arc of the offending team. The free position is taken by the closest player on the field to the center hash mark. "

I think 5 yellow cards in a row qualifies as "repeated major fouls." This means we should have been given at least one (if not more) free positions.

Monday, May 7, 2007

at Guilderland

I liked what I saw today:

  • Mackenzie fighting hard for the ball (at one point outmuscling a girl twice her size to get position for a ground ball -- forcing the girl to push her [the refs actually called it for once!]).
  • Larissa picking up ground balls in traffic and making some sweet over the shoulder passes to Lydia.
  • Lydia catching those passes and motoring down the field to score.
  • Kelsey playing a very solid D-wing both in the midfield and in the zone (not to mention scoring the first goal of the game ... 1-0 BH ...).
  • Taylor Jeffries picking up a ground ball in traffic near the cage and immediately shooting (and scoring).
  • Rachel Mollard continuing to keep attackers from running down the middle of the arc.
  • Cary and Carolyn getting in good position and stopping most of the stoppable shots (many of the shots were just good shots).
20-8 seems like a bit of a blowout, but it wasn't. We forced Guilderland to call timeout twice. We actually went on a 3-0 run (3 unanswered goals) in the second half. Only 2 of their goals were "easy."

A few things to focus on:
  • We still need to work on picking up ground balls. They crushed us in this area.
  • Cradling. Cradling. Cradling.
  • We need to work on getting the ball cleared out of our defensive area after a stop. I'm talking mostly about the goalies, Jenna/Carolyn and Chloe/Colleen's positions.
  • We need to work on passing the ball after running it up the field. Just because you run the ball 40 yards up the field doesn't mean you have to shoot. You CAN shoot, but at times there are other options. We need to be more aware of these.


I thought we played well. One attack sequence (moving the ball down the field with a long pass, another short pass, and then a run, shoot, and score) was our best of the year. The defense gave Columbia's attack a lot of trouble -- there were a few easier goals, but most were earned.

I think there were a ton of slashing calls (checking across the body) on Columbia that the refs didn't call.

I thought Columbia was a strong team. They had tall, fast girls with good stick skills. Their best player was the best lacrosse player we've seen all year. And yet she didn't dominate. Everything she got she had to work very hard for.

A new thing to work on: All of Columbia's plays started behind the goal and were based on passing to a girl cutting through the arc. They always used multiple cutters. We did an OK job of defending the cutters, but another option is to INTERCEPT THE PASS coming from behind the goal. This is not something we have worked on in practice, but we will. Little by little ...

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Glens Falls

Stop me if you've heard this one ... a girl picks up a lacrosse ball on the defensive end of the field, runs eighty yards (through 5 or 6 girls), shoots, and ... misses. And is then too tired to get back and play defense....

Not a recipe for a strong performance on the lacrosse field.

But here are some excellent ingredients for tasty defense: Rachel Mollard, Jenna K (sorry Jenna -- it's a long last name), Chloe Hay and Carolyn B (several nice saves today!). The core of our D is just plain good. Keep up the good work.

Random piece of information: Taylor J. has the strongest shot on the team. If we could only get her the ball ...

Non-random comment: Stop slashing. You know who you are.

Seriously -- Our ability to pass and catch on the move is extremely weak. Our ability to cradle is weak. These are skills that can be developed in only one way: massive amounts of focused repetition. Apply yourselves ...

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

at Bethlehem

Fact #1: The refs didn't show up! The Bethlehem coach said he called and confirmed the refs. Later the Athletic Director came out and said he didn't know what happened. The result: A Bethlehem parent ref'd the game. 1 ref, untrained, for a 120 x 70 field. Frustrating.

Fact #2: Overall score: 12-3. But ... 1st half score: Bethlehem 10 BH 1. 2nd half score: Bethlehem 2 BH 2. Sure, the Bethlehem coach put his backup players in, but still ... not bad.

The main thing I noticed was catching. The wind was blowing hard enough to almost knock us over, but the Bethlehem team was still able to move the ball down the field quickly with good passes and good catching. We weren't. In fact, we dropped almost every pass. And then we lost most of the ground balls from the dropped passes. We have to fix these problems in order to become competitive.

Monday, April 30, 2007

at Averill Park

I was hoping this might be win #2. The bad news is that it wasn't. The good news is that it could have been... if we had played perfectly (the score was only 4-2 at the half).

The good: Before I get to what needs work, let's review what we're good at:

1. Running. Lydia, Courtney, and Megan can pretty much run through an entire team all the way down the field (probably Margaret and Taylor too, though they haven't had as many opportunities). Not the best strategy, but it's nice to have those abilities available.

2. Defense. It's more or less impossible to get past Rachel Mollard. Jenna covers pretty much every cutter in the 8m arc. Chloe is quick and has good instincts. The core of our zone defense is pretty darn good.

What needs work:

1. Passing. I liked the fact that we did more passing than ever before in this game. A few times the ball moved down the field very quickly. This is good. But about two dozen passes were cleanly intercepted by AvPark. Right out of the air. This is because the passes were weak (slow, high arc) and telegraphed (the other team knew where they were going or our player wasn't open).
Also -- all those fast people I mentioned above ... if you run the ball all the way down the field and a teammate is open, PASS TO THEM.

2. Catching. Dropping the ball kills the attack. This happened to us a number of times. This is something you can be working on during any free time you have. Find a wall and throw and catch. The only way to get better in this area is to train your muscles through repetition.

3. Ground ball pickups. Av Park got the ball more than we did. We kept overrunning the ball and not getting low. We need to sprint to the ball, slow down, box out the defender with our bodies, and then get low and pick up the ball (stick is parallel to the ground, drive the back hand through).

Player of the Game: Mackenzie was aggressive and on the ball all game. She took a charge (as part of a wall with Rachel Mollard), had a couple takeaways on D, played her position well in the zone, and was constantly moving the ball from the D side to the attack.

Next stop: Bethlehem