“…most college lacrosse games have devolved into a boring chess match of plodding offenses trying to dent disciplined zone defenses…”
“…There are no offset heads and deep pockets in women’s lacrosse. Desko said there is talk about adjusting the dimensions of the
men’s stick to bring the stick check back into play and thus speed up the game…”
“…Goalies as a group are much better athletes than they once were, and they are being assisted by sagging zone defenses in which defenders seem to form a wall in front of them… If the goal is bigger can you shoot from farther out, so now you can stretch zones? It’s a thought.”
John Desko is a proponent of a shot clock, which he feels is a “nice, clean” way to address the issue. But the veteran SU coach has a few other ideas, too. One has been contemplated for some time now. The other one is novel.
The first involves stick technology. The evolution of the offset head and the narrowing of the width of the head without a corresponding adjustment to the pocket have pretty much eliminated the stick check from the sport. Offensive players are much more comfortable strolling around with the ball secure in the knowledge that they will have to be mugged by two or three defenders before the ball is finally jarred loose.
“At the coaches’ convention they showed highlights of the end of games when people were stalling and defensemen and the goalie were coming out and double-teaming the ball and checking their sticks and checking their sticks and the ball wouldn’t come out,” Desko said. “So there was a fair amount of discussion about the heads and the pockets. They showed earlier games where somebody checked the stick and the ball would come out literally with a poke check. Now you double-team and you check the stick and it doesn’t come out.”
The coach’s other idea was intriguing.
“I’ve never heard anybody else talk about this, but what happens if we make the goal bigger?” he said. “There probably would be more scoring. If the goal is bigger can you shoot from farther out, so now you can stretch zones? It’s a thought.”
Anyone who has watched a lot of hockey and then goes to an outdoor lacrosse game for the first time would consider it a crazy thought considering the size of a lacrosse goal. But consider this: Goalies as a group are much better athletes than they once were, and they are being assisted by sagging zone defenses in which defenders seem to form a wall in front of them.
Something has to be done to break down that wall or the game’s descent toward soccer-type scores will continue.