Team USA stayed on top of a fast and talented Loyola team to win the game 17-13. Loyola has some legitimate superstars, however. Davis Butts has an absolute cannon and he scored a couple of very impressive back to back goals and Josh Hawkins has got to be one of the country’s most productive defensive midfielders. Aside from Woodson’s crease dive to ice the game for Team USA we think Josh Hawkins had the highlight goal of the game going coast-to-coast and finishing with a swim move into a crease dive of his own.
The victory came, in a large part, thanks to Florida’s own Chazz Woodson who had a huge fourth quarter. His three goals and one assist in the fourth helped keep Loyola just out of the hunt. The highlight of the game was Chazz’s classic crease dive to score USA’s 17th goal of the game and put the Greyhounds away for good.
We can’t count the number of time’s we have seen Chazz make that play and we had to ask him after the game just how much longer he could keep making those kinds of plays. “It’s hard to say,” he said. “I’ve had a handful of those conversations, especially since last summer. I was actually talking to Kyle Harrison about that on the way over here for practice on Friday. I always told myself as long as I can keep doing it I will keep doing it. I’ll give it another shot this summer and hopefully I’ll get invited to the US try out Labor Day weekend and we’ll go from there.”
We asked him what he thought about the Loyola team. Chazz said, “They are a great team. If we came out here and the game was a blowout it would not be good for us, it would not be good for the other team, and it would not be good for the fans.” “So in the grand scheme of things it’s great to have a game like that. You know, they were the national champion last year so it’s supposed to be that way.” “At the end of the day what Coach harped on us about is that we have 30 guys here who are all professional players. So we are supposed to get the job done. Especially when you’re wearing the red white and blue.”
Next we caught up with Florida’s own Stan Ross, who team USA borrowed from Oxbridge Academy to run the sidelines this weekend. We asked he and Loyola’s Matt Dwan how the new rules affected the game and how they ran their substitutions. Dwan said, “It’s certainly going to speed up the substitutions. The biggest impact it has is you’re probably going to get more offensive midfielders stuck on the field than you would normally have. But keep in mind, that against Team USA and other highly skilled teams the ball is not going to be thrown out of bounds very often so you don’t get a lot of horns anyway. It may not be as impactful as people expect.” He pointed out that teams will continue to use specialized players such as the defensive midfielders, which they use in the MLL where they don’t have a horn either. In this particular game you had two very fast teams going against one another. Neither of these teams needed rules to keep them playing the game fast. Dwan feels that some of the more subtle rules changes that no one is talking about will have a greater impact. He was referring to some of the face-off rules. Now the referees have to keep track of violations and that can certainly lead to some confusion. There were also several delay of game penalties this weekend for players not immediately giving their opponents the required 5 yards on the restarts. In addition, on the defensive side of the field, when your opponent steps in the crease the restart is not outside the box anymore, it is immediate. We saw this fast restart create a goal for team USA and in addition we saw Loyola score a goal when Galloway got caught out of the net chasing a shot and was not given the 5 seconds to get back to the crease. These new rules had a scoring impact in the USA versus Loyola game. The new stall warning and 30 second shot clock rule had no impact. Dwan said, “I think the verdict will be out when we play some regular-season games that count. You know, where the coaches will be losing their minds, it’s going to be wild when things are on the line. They didn’t mind in the fall but none of those games matter.
Stan Ross said, “There were a few times today when the new rules came into effect. In the first half with the face-offs. It was effective in the second quarter because Loyola’s guy had two warnings and our guy had two warnings so the next guy to jump on the face-off was going to get a
penalty. Then you saw in the second half they jumped early quick and so halfway through the third quarter they had a penalty because of the new rules. The same way with our goalie running out a shot, they scored a goal because of the quick restart. I think you will see goalies not try to run those shots down anymore, you are not going to steal that possession because of the new rules. I think it’s going to be great for the game in terms of the tempo.”
The coaches agreed that a new rule which was difficult for the players to get used to this weekend was when a foul has been committed and the flag is down the play does not stop until the offending team actually gets control of the ball. So the offensive team can even take the ball out of the box and it doesn’t stop the play. The players cannot relax until they actually gain control of the ball. Then the whistle will blow.
One new rule which Stan Ross likes is the rule that on a man down face-off teams can no longer bring up an attackman. So this creates a three on two face-off which definitely gives the extra man team an advantage. This keeps the man down team from “stealing” the possession by winning the three on three face off and then killing the penalty.
After coaching the Denver Outlaws in the MLL and then the Team USA with his former boss Richie Meade (they coached at Navy together) Stan Ross will return to his regular job coaching at Oxbridge Academy in Palm Beach. Oxbridge is beginning their second year of lacrosse and their first year at the Varsity level. Those are some lucky kids down there to have a coach on Monday who was coaching Team USA on Sunday!
All photos are courtesy of Tony Moreschi of InsanityArtandApparel.com