Midseason. We are that much closer to the trek to Baltimore to see the top teams get rowdy in May. But before you think it’s all figured out, let’s look at this past week alone. D1 and D3 had their #1 teams toppled, and there have comebacks all over the place from teams like Maryland, UVA and (surprise) Denver. Notre Dame and Hofstra are still undefeated, but let’s see if that keeps up, because if there’s anything the Cornell-Syracuse game taught us, it’s that no one is immune. So taking from this season, what skills can be applied to a laxer to make them the best they can be? Your lax babe gives you: your basic skills that pay the bills.
Overheard at last week’s UNC-UVA game: Steele Stanwick is shooting at about 95 mph. Whoa. That is wicked fast. To put it into perspective, the highest speed limit in the US is 85 mph. Stanwick is shooting faster than people can legally drive. Paul Rabil (as you know, if you’ve ever read anything I’ve written) holds the MLL record for shooting 111 mph, which he proved in 2010 at the MLL All-Star Skills Competition, and Max Seibald was not far off. Is it any coincidence that the Hoos won that game in OT with Stanwick making such monstrous hits? I’m shaking just thinking about what it must feel like to be hit with that shot as a goalie.
In that same 2010 MLL Skills Competition, Ned Crotty won the two-point accuracy contest. The clip is insane, he looks like an actual sniper. Knowing exactly where you’re going to shoot and being able to hit that mark almost every time? Yowza, that is something to want to perfect. I had a friend who once used his wall-ball sessions to perfect his aim, taping X’s on different parts of the wall, and seeing how many times he hit his mark in the different spots. And BTB goals? Yeah, you’re not getting those without putting in the practice. Practicing with a shooting trainer (like the one Crotty is shooting at in the competition, albeit his has smaller holes) can help get that snipe shot perfected. In the Cuse-Cornell game, Rob Pannell wasn’t shooting wildly all over the place (this was no Butler-UConn scenario). He was shooting to kill, notching 3 goals and 3 assists. I defy you to not get a lax babe with that kind of accuracy.
Get Ground Balls
My dad is the number one screamer that “Ground Balls win Games”, and as much as it pains me to admit that anything my dad says is right, he’s right. The second that ball hits the ground, it’s like Thunderdome. It’s any team’s game. Get your ass low and get it scooped, because no matter where you are on the field, the turnover happens in a matter of seconds. Paul Rabil doesn’t just lead his team to wins by shooting like a monster, he’s also a leader in ground balls. While at Syracuse, in his freshman year Mikey Powell tallied 69 groundballs. In his freshman year. Coincidence that he won the Tewaaraton twice (and was nominated 4 times?!)? I think not. You lead your team in ground balls, you’ll lead your team in lax babe fans.
I’m not advocating for any head hits. Head hits scare the crap out of me, and accomplish nothing except putting the victim at risk for serious injury. I’m talking about playing aggressive defense. Without said defense, there is no way that Cornell could have upended Cuse like that. Syracuse’s offense is unreal, so Cornell’s defense had to be top notch. My favorite hit so far this season was the one on Hopkins’ Greeley by Matt Lovejoy of UVA. Lovejoy stopped that ground ball pickup right quick, and even though he was called for illegal body check, I think if the helmet didn’t get in there (and if it wasn’t such a hard hit) it would have made a difference on the penalty. Lovejoy’s an absolute beast of a defensive player, and one fan commented that while lax hits can be seen as dirty (like hockey), the Greeley hit was “pure poetry”. So go ahead and aim for that.
Keep the Goal
Ah, the goalie. It may seem stupid of me to emphasize saving goals after I’ve been going on about how important it is to get them, but hear me out. At the beginning of the season, John Kemp of ND made a triple save against Duke that was insane to watch. Somehow Duke kept getting it back from him and shooting right out of the crease, and Kemp saved it every time. That was some other-world junk right there, and for sure was a huge part of their win 12-7 over the Blue Devils. ND is currently 8-0, and NONE of the teams they’ve faced this year have gotten past 9 goals. The ND goalies are something else. And that “else” is “ridiculous”.
I’m Sammie, and am not A “lax babe”, I’m THE “lax babe”. My first big-girl crush was on a laxer, who let’s just say is still on the field (and in the box) today, and it’s only expanded from there. I live and work around bros, who I love and could hang out with all day every day. One could really even call me a “bro in babe’s clothing”. While lax is (with a bullet) my favorite sport, it’s not the only one I follow, growing up a diehard NY Giants/Yankees fan. If all I had was YouTube clips of MLL skills championships, my aviators, my Ipod, Summer days, pinneys, and laxers, I’d be one happy chick. Follow me on Twitter, @marilynmonbro.