One coaching staff complaint in the last game

DoctahLexus

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After some thought on the end of game collapse, I believe the coaching staff was specifically at fault for either not seeing the need to discourage quick unnecessary slides to Spencer or seeing that need and simply not doing enough to get that through the defensive player’s heads. Whichever one of those errors it was, it ended up being crucial to the loss. Naturally other factors played a huge part. Losing faceoffs 10-3 in the second half being possibly the biggest of those. Also the two dumb penalties which lead to both easy goals and further defensive fatigue. The team D as a whole was overly scared of Spencer in the second half (despite Mellen overall handling him pretty well IMO but that’s for another post) and it cost us nearly every goal following the man up goals. From our 12-8 lead the goals we gave up besides the 2 man up ones at the start were

1. Bad 2 man game play by Helmer and Mellen caused I believe mainly by Helmer keeping his eyes on spencer at the crucial moment when his man made a cut towards the goal.

2. Mellen making a quick slide to Spencer after he gets mismatched with Dearth and Bomberry did not pick up on the second slide, leaving a man wide open.

3. Good ball movement by Loyola started after Murphy made a totally idiotic slide to Spencer who was both perfectly covered by Mellen and going behind the cage. Loyola moves the ball around the horn perfectly after the slide and puts it away.

After that there was one slightly lucky goal where a man got a small step on Helmer 1 v 1 and Porter somehow only got a piece of it. Porter’s positioning may have been slightly off (a little to close to the nearside pipe) but overall just an unlucky occurrence. Then it was the open net goal and that was it.

I don’t pretend to know anything about the inner workings of who runs what among Desko and defensive coordinators, but it seemed like someone should have analyzed the results of slides to spencer in the first half. I counted at least 2 or 3 where a slide was not entirely necessary and instead of Spencer taking either a weird low angle shot, or a shot with Mellen draped on him, they got a wide open dunk on the crease. The fact that someone saw those occurrences, and then didn’t DEMAND from the D that they hold off on the quick slides in the second half, is the main complaint against the staff that I can come up with.

Whatever the plan was going in should have been thrown out, no matter how many wins that formula has got us in the past. The evidence for a change was too much IMO. But always good to remember that we are far from knowing what goes into the staff’s decisions/the level of involvement they chose to have in each players choices. I am sure if we talked to Desko, Rodgers, and whoever else is involved in defensive decisions, they would promptly bring up about half a dozen factors we have not considered. I would be curious to hear what they have to say.
 

ivorytower

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Different op, became obvious to me during game that Spencer was not the right physical matchup for Mellen despite his best efforts and that created problems. Got knocked off base couple times and unable to hold off or stay in front because the size discrepancy was simply too much. Save some Porter stops and high sticks, Spencer would have been in double digits . Mellen status is established , would have been ok to switch to another.
Cuse came out fast and furious yet Loyola had lead in 2q despite few possessions and that shouldn't have been. Quint cited that heading into half. Played fairly well in 3rd but correct in face-off losses beginning to take toll. Stover had several good saves as did Porter. Penalties occur, if killed off like most then not even mentioned. They weren't . Initial sideline shove was going to be Loyola turnover but even then call was for thirty seconds. Mo swing but still up two headed into fourth and should have closed it out, Outplayed in fourth and first three went by wayside. Hurts
 

CousCuse

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Giving up big leads has been going on for some time. It's a bad psychology. It's like some kind of comfort that sets in and the team goes into a sleep mode. It definitely comes from the coaches and the players feed into it.
 

ForCuseSake

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I agree that they should’ve abandoned the Mellen v. Spencer matchup halfway through the first.

I would’ve liked them to be more creative and try someone like Dearth on him, if only temporarily.

Dearth matched up with him a few times after pick plays and bullied him into a turnover.
 
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DoctahLexus

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You look at Spencer’s highlights against us and he does appear to be a guy who just bull dodges his way to the goal all the time, but shifty ankle breaking moves are also a legitimate part of his game. He got a very clean step on Mellen early in the game when he dodged from up top which lead to him assisting a goal. Never used his body but still got a step on our fastest cover guy. I believe we would have seen far more of this aspect of his game if we put Cunningham or (especially) Bomberry on him instead. I suppose Kennedy would be my main guy if we wanted to experiment since he is almost as quick as Mellen and slightly bigger and stronger, but I think his stats would have been similar if we still slid to him as quickly and often as we did.

Also its not like he was putting the goal in the cage at will against Mellen like Tehoka v. Bomberry in 2018. His one incredible behind the back goal was obviously a clean win off the dodge, but his second goal was with Mellen draped all over him and it looked like he was just trying to get the ball on cage rather than being able to place his shot. The last one was an open net goal. Only one or maybe two of his assists were after him getting a legitimate step on Mellen, not all 6 by any means. Most of his assists were due to a combination of bad team defense leading to mismatches (he had two assists dodging against Fusco and Dearth) and unnecessary quick slides.

Spencer is the Lyle Thompson of today's game. That's not just me saying that to make us feel better about his performance against us either. His overall stats show that is not a far off comparison. In fact his combination of using his size and strength along with his shiftiness is very Thompsonesque. Playing in his last home game and fighting to keep his career going, he was going to put up points no matter what. And he is also not the perfect ideal match-up for Mellen, who eats smaller shifty attackmen for breakfast. Mellens performance against Joey Epstein is still one of the best performances in the nation this year. I still think he was our best option for Spencer, but nobody on the perfect man for him in every way. I think the games that he under performed statistically were more due to bad days and health on his end or better team defense, rather than a single d pole shutting him down. Admittedly I don’t have enough evidence to prove that since I haven’t seen his full games against Towson, Duke, or Army. It is just a hunch and I may look into those games more when I'm less depressed about lax.
 

sholokov2

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After some thought on the end of game collapse, I believe the coaching staff was specifically at fault for either not seeing the need to discourage quick unnecessary slides to Spencer or seeing that need and simply not doing enough to get that through the defensive player’s heads. Whichever one of those errors it was, it ended up being crucial to the loss. Naturally other factors played a huge part. Losing faceoffs 10-3 in the second half being possibly the biggest of those. Also the two dumb penalties which lead to both easy goals and further defensive fatigue. The team D as a whole was overly scared of Spencer in the second half (despite Mellen overall handling him pretty well IMO but that’s for another post) and it cost us nearly every goal following the man up goals. From our 12-8 lead the goals we gave up besides the 2 man up ones at the start were

1. Bad 2 man game play by Helmer and Mellen caused I believe mainly by Helmer keeping his eyes on spencer at the crucial moment when his man made a cut towards the goal.

2. Mellen making a quick slide to Spencer after he gets mismatched with Dearth and Bomberry did not pick up on the second slide, leaving a man wide open.

3. Good ball movement by Loyola started after Murphy made a totally idiotic slide to Spencer who was both perfectly covered by Mellen and going behind the cage. Loyola moves the ball around the horn perfectly after the slide and puts it away.

After that there was one slightly lucky goal where a man got a small step on Helmer 1 v 1 and Porter somehow only got a piece of it. Porter’s positioning may have been slightly off (a little to close to the nearside pipe) but overall just an unlucky occurrence. Then it was the open net goal and that was it.

I don’t pretend to know anything about the inner workings of who runs what among Desko and defensive coordinators, but it seemed like someone should have analyzed the results of slides to spencer in the first half. I counted at least 2 or 3 where a slide was not entirely necessary and instead of Spencer taking either a weird low angle shot, or a shot with Mellen draped on him, they got a wide open dunk on the crease. The fact that someone saw those occurrences, and then didn’t DEMAND from the D that they hold off on the quick slides in the second half, is the main complaint against the staff that I can come up with.

Whatever the plan was going in should have been thrown out, no matter how many wins that formula has got us in the past. The evidence for a change was too much IMO. But always good to remember that we are far from knowing what goes into the staff’s decisions/the level of involvement they chose to have in each players choices. I am sure if we talked to Desko, Rodgers, and whoever else is involved in defensive decisions, they would promptly bring up about half a dozen factors we have not considered. I would be curious to hear what they have to say.
Any idea which events and dynamics on the field caused the premature or overextended slides particularly in a crucial period of the game? I think Spencer was so good at anticipating slides that our d panicked and lost its cohesiveness. Mellen could not handle him, tearing down the d's confidence and leading to error after error. I have long thought that his teammates have expected too much of Mellen. When he breaks, the d's unravel. Or not. What do you think.
 

W'boro'Cuse315

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Giving up big leads has been going on for some time. It's a bad psychology. It's like some kind of comfort that sets in and the team goes into a sleep mode. It definitely comes from the coaches and the players feed into it.
Not a Desko apologist but, to be fair, we've also made a habit of erasing big leads the last few years.

2 years ago we were down 13-4 at half to UNC in the ACCT & then outscored them 8-0 in the 3rd. This year, we got down 7-3 vs Duke with 9 mins left & won.
 
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CousCuse

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Not a Desko apologist but, to be fair, we've also made a habit of erasing big leads the last few years.
Your right, they made some great comebacks. I don't get any joy out of criticizing a hall of fame coach with as many accomplishments as JD.
 

ForCuseSake

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You look at Spencer’s highlights against us and he does appear to be a guy who just bull dodges his way to the goal all the time, but shifty ankle breaking moves are also a legitimate part of his game. He got a very clean step on Mellen early in the game when he dodged from up top which lead to him assisting a goal. Never used his body but still got a step on our fastest cover guy. I believe we would have seen far more of this aspect of his game if we put Cunningham or (especially) Bomberry on him instead. I suppose Kennedy would be my main guy if we wanted to experiment since he is almost as quick as Mellen and slightly bigger and stronger, but I think his stats would have been similar if we still slid to him as quickly and often as we did.

Also its not like he was putting the goal in the cage at will against Mellen like Tehoka v. Bomberry in 2018. His one incredible behind the back goal was obviously a clean win off the dodge, but his second goal was with Mellen draped all over him and it looked like he was just trying to get the ball on cage rather than being able to place his shot. The last one was an open net goal. Only one or maybe two of his assists were after him getting a legitimate step on Mellen, not all 6 by any means. Most of his assists were due to a combination of bad team defense leading to mismatches (he had two assists dodging against Fusco and Dearth) and unnecessary quick slides.

Spencer is the Lyle Thompson of today's game. That's not just me saying that to make us feel better about his performance against us either. His overall stats show that is not a far off comparison. In fact his combination of using his size and strength along with his shiftiness is very Thompsonesque. Playing in his last home game and fighting to keep his career going, he was going to put up points no matter what. And he is also not the perfect ideal match-up for Mellen, who eats smaller shifty attackmen for breakfast. Mellens performance against Joey Epstein is still one of the best performances in the nation this year. I still think he was our best option for Spencer, but nobody on the perfect man for him in every way. I think the games that he under performed statistically were more due to bad days and health on his end or better team defense, rather than a single d pole shutting him down. Admittedly I don’t have enough evidence to prove that since I haven’t seen his full games against Towson, Duke, or Army. It is just a hunch and I may look into those games more when I'm less depressed about lax.
Spencer was slick with how he used his ability to go anywhere with the ball.

He rarely went directly to goal to draw a slide. I think he intentionally worked his way to the edge of our defensive danger areas to force an off ball defender to commit.

He preferred to watch the defense hedge on him and then let that guide his decision.

I agree that he wasn’t as imposing as Tehoka last year but he was more dominant because he manipulated the whole defense.

Loyola had a good strategy on offense and we couldn’t move Spencer off the spots he wanted to get to.
 

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