Coaches Corner: Maryland vs PSU Defensive Breakdown

Coaches Corner: Maryland vs PSU Defensive Breakdown

Class in Session

This week’s Coaches Corner is written by Matt Dunn, FCL Defensive Director, 2016 graduate of University of Maryland, current assistant coach at Loyola Blakefield and member of PLL Whipsnakes LC.

Maryland’s defense was buttoned up Friday night vs PSU. They were great off the ground, physical, played passing lanes, pushed transition, and consistently forced low quality shots from Penn State’s offense. While the intangible components on Friday were vitally important to their success, I want to take a look at the how they forced PSU’s offense to consistently take the shots their goalie wanted to see. Two things stood out in 6 v 6:

    1. The SSDM’s did a phenomenal job of defending the sweeps and forcing PSU dodgers down the wing at low angles
    2. MD’s close defenders did an excellent job of either sliding from the crease or showing adjacent from X, depending on who was in the best position to support

Throughout the game, PSU often initiated from the wings looking either to sweep or attack underneath. MD did a great job eliminating the sweep and supporting the underneath dodge. Notice how the SSDM squares the dodger, gets hips up-field to deter the sweep without giving an easy path underneath. As the dodger commits to the cage, the MD defense collapses.


UMD v PSU 1Q SSDM Good Wing Def


Here’s another example of MD’s defensive mid-fielder on the wing. He does a great job getting a “pop” right before the roll-back and not over playing the dodge underneath. It’s important not to let dodgers roll back and forth, especially as they get closer to the goal. It is very difficult to slide to a dodge that can go multiple directions.


MD Good SSDM Wing D 2Q


As MD continued forcing dodgers down the wing, they did a great job with the adjacent defenders “showing” from X. Here we see #7 collapse on the dodger as he tries to curl back underneath.


MD Show Q1


The deeper a dodger is at X, the more comfortably the defender covering him can show or clog up that low dodging lane. Here #7 is able to jab up and then easily recover to his man who is deep at X.


MD Adj Show 2 Q1


#43 Brett Makar often found himself in this position throughout the game. His read in this scenario is the dodger’s body language. Makar reads the dodger lower his shoulder towards the interior of the defense and decides to collapse up.


Makar Adj Show 2Q

When PSU did get a chance to sweep, MD slide and did a nice job filling up with the low bases to clog the middle of the field. When dodger’s go down the wing, the X defender can show or press out to his man; however, when the dodge moves towards the middle it is important that he get above the cage.

Here’s an example of Makar “following the dodge” from X to show / support his teammate in the case of an inside roll.


Makar 3Q Show Underneath

One of the most important times for the adjacent show from X is during a secondary dodge. When a slide and recovery occurs on one side of the field and transfers to the other, it is difficult to establish a new slider in time for the dodge. Here Makar does a great job of recognizing that he is the only support on the dodge and fills up from X to support his teammate.


UMD Secondary Show 3Q

One thing to be aware of when teams show heavily is the possibility of giving up an easy outlet or getting back-doored at X. If you need to support adjacently and your man at X begins to press a pipe, it is ok to recover front side of the cage.


MD Makar goes Frontside

A consideration with going frontside is the potential to get hung. This could be a strategic move if you are comfortable with your defense playing hung against the offense. Ideally, would like to see MD jump out a little more aggressively from the short stick as the dodger turns the corner.


MD Gets Hung 1Q

In all of these scenarios, it is important to assess threat level. Players can score above the cage and they cannot score from behind it. Here Makar gets caught in his show adjacently, and #7 Rahill does a great job of “slow-playing” to X since the player above the cage is more of a threat.


MD v PSU Slow Play X 4Q

Here we just have another example of the types of shots MD was giving up by forcing dodgers to low angles and supporting.


PSU Low Angle Shot 4Q

On top of MD doing a nice job of showing to the wing dodge from X, they supported teammates adjacently from other areas of the field as well. Here #54 Nick Grill holds an adjacent “anchor” for the dodge from X to clog space, and is able to get his stick in the passing lane.


Nick Grill Adj Show Stick in lane 3Q

We hope you enjoyed this thread, and are excited to keep watching the Terps are other top offenses and defenses this spring!

Please share, comment below, and let us know what you think! Stay tuned for more, and as always, we’d love to have you join our FCL community on FCL Online!

-Coach Dunn