The Charlotte Hounds collapse in the second quarter and Denver Outlaws lock up MLL playoff berth.
Charlotte is a super talented team, but they were bested this past weekend when the undefeated Denver Outlaws continued their winning streak by defeating the visiting Hound 17-11. Jesse Schwartzman grabbed MLL Defensive Player of the Week honors from the MLL with his 27 saves and rookie Eric Law continued his excelled play, pacing the team with 4 goals and a sole assist. On the Charlotte side, rookie Mike Sawyer led his squad with 3 goals, while the All-Star caliber Matt Danowski put in two in the loss. It was certainly a fast-paced game with lots of shooting, but let’s takes a look at some of the keys to the Denver victory:
27 saves on 37 shots on goal is one of the best performances by any goalkeeper this season. The JHU alum. was a force on the outside shooting and really got into a great rhythm in the second quarter, stopping several 2-point goal attempts by the Hounds. Jesse upped his save percentage to .603 in his dominating play in the net and he still has one of the most tight-knit defenses backing him up. It takes a great defense to win a Championship….someone once said!
Just watching some game footage and highlights, it looks like almost half of Charlotte’s SOG were from the two-point arc. Josh Amidon was able to capitalize on a rare 2-pointer against Jesse Schwartzman, but it appeared like Danowski and McCormack were taking too long to set for the shots and Jesse was getting a good trace on the ball. Two-pointers can really benefit a team, but if the defenses are prepared to stop them and are playing a zone around it, than it is never going to prevail as the dominant scoring feature. Denver plays a much different game, only taking those two-point shots in transition and when the defense is unsettled.
Denver had 12 assisted goals in their 17 scored while Charlotte could only manage 3. An offense will maximize its scoring potential when the team plays as a cohesive unit and this match was an example of polarity. The Outlaws had 7 assists alone from their midfield unit! If you watch some game footage, they are making the initial dodge, getting the double team and dumping off quickly before the second slide comes. This is effective for the Outlaws because they have some great “inside-the-arc,” finishers and no one is expected to take the load of scoring by themselves. For Charlotte, Danowski and Sawyer are STARS. These guys can simply flat out play lacrosse. The biggest problem is that they share the responsibility of scoring half of the teams’ goals week in and week out, and it makes it easy for opposing defenses. If Charlotte is going to make a run at the playoffs, they will need to play together and work the ball around for easier inside shots.
Denver returns to the Mile High this Thursday, when the New York Lizards come into town for a July 4th Extravaganza. Fans will be treated to a fireworks show after the match and we’re sure to see some great match-ups in a heated veteran battle.
Charlotte will be traveling up to Boston this Saturday to take on a red-hot Cannons team that has won 3 straight. This is a very important match for both squad as now it is crunch time for playoff seeding!
On to the next one….
DENVER GOALS: Law 4, Seiverts 3, Bocklet 3, Mundorf 3, Boltus 1, Kimener 1, Snider 1, Greer 1
CHARLOTTE GOALS: Sawyer 3, Danowski 2, Poli 1, McCormack 1, Young 1, Amidon 1, Tripucka 1
DENVER ASSISTS: Kimener 3, Seiverts 3, Bocklet 2, Greer 1, Snider 1, Law 1, Mundorf 1
CHARLOTTE ASSISTS: Danowski 2, Young 1