Stop, Score: Marcus Holman and the Archers’ Defensive Plan
Sixes has been described in a lot of different ways – the lacrosse version of basketball, lacrosse version of hockey, or as Grant Ament put it, the most similar version to youth lacrosse you’ll see at the professional level. While these are all great comparisons, Marcus Holman may have put it best.
“Stop, score. Stop, score. Stop, score.”
That’s the premise of the game in a nutshell.
Holman’s night was highlighted by his overtime heroics to give the Archers the win over Chrome on Opening Night, but it was everything he and his traditionally offensive-minded teammates were doing on the other side of the field that made the difference.
Perhaps the biggest conundrum for both players and coaches coming into the Championship Series was how the heck an attackman is going to play defense against the best players in the world? While the jury is still out on a definitive answer to that, Holman and the Archers held it down defensively against a very strong and smart Chrome team.
For offensive guys like Holman, Ament, and Will Manny, they may have never picked up a long pole in their life, but they hold the advantage of knowing how their opponent thinks on offense. Sure it’s all short-sticks in sixes, but as guys who are typically on the other side of the equation with long poles on them, they’re able to anticipate their opponent’s next move.
No one expects these offensive players to play one-on-one shutdown defense by any means, but forcing Chrome into uncomfortable situations on the field and to take bad shots is essentially the defensive plan for these guys. Especially given how fast-paced this game is, you have to think on the fly. Teams don’t have time to game plan and formulate a defensive strategy for every situation; it’s about taking the defensive knowledge they’ve learned leading up to this tournament, and combining it with their years of knowledge on offense.
Holman had a particularly impressive defensive stance in the late second quarter that ended up leading directly to a goal for himself.