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Virginia head men’s lacrosse coach and Championship Productions’ contributor Dom Starsia guided the Cavaliers to the 2011 NCAA National Championship! Virginia outscored the University of Maryland 9-7 in the NCAA Division I National Championship. With Starsia at the helm, the Cavaliers have won four national titles and reached 14 NCAA Final Fours.
Starsia is now officially in a league of his own. Thanks to Virginia’s 13-9 win over Cornell in the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse tournament on May 21, Starsia earned career win No. 327 to pass Jack Emmer for the most victories at the Div. I level. Starsia is also one of only three coaches in the history of the sport to earn 100-plus wins with two different programs. The longtime coach won 101 games with Brown from 1983-92.
Check out our entire Dom Starsia lacrosse DVD library, which includes All-Access Virginia Lacrosse, Practice Organization & Drills for Lacrosse, and High Scoring Team Offense, among many others.
Also, be sure to check out video clips and feature articles featuring Coach Starsia from previous Inside the Crease lacrosse newsletters, including a breakdown of key defensive techniques, plus a behind-the-scenes look inside a Virginia lacrosse practice.
In this week’s chalk talk segment, we’ll break down offensive techniques when dodging from the top. Follow along as Virginia associate head coach and offensive coordinator Marc Van Arsdale runs through a 2-3-1 offensive set and highlights key dodging tactics. Next, watch as Van Arsdale breaks down film revolving around dodging from the top using recent Virginia game footage. This exclusive look can give you a clearer picture of player roles, movements and strategies.
The 2011 Virginia men’s lacrosse team is coming off a thrilling 13-12 win in overtime against Bucknell in the first round of the NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse tournament. The Cavaliers are now slated to play Cornell on Saturday beginning at 12:00 PM in Hempstead, N.Y.
Virginia men’s lacrosse has always placed a high priority on its team offense. According to head coach Dom Starsia, everything comes down to being able to score enough goals to win. That’s why being equipped with an effective offense is such an important part of lacrosse. Here are four key principles that Starsia looks for in his offensive weapons:
With these principles in mind, Starsia’s teams often find success by implementing the 2-3-1 offensive set and attacking with a dodge from the top. Let’s break it down some more so that you can benefit with your own lacrosse team.
One offensive area that Virginia has been particularly successful at over the years is dodging from the top. Let’s start things out in a 2-3-1 set and break this concept down a little bit further.
Players 11 and 12 are midfielders and will start out at the top of the offense. 7 should be another midfielder and will be positioned on the crease. Meanwhile, 6, 9 and 14 are attackers, with 6 and 14 starting out on opposite wings of the goal, and 9 positioned behind the net, hence the 2-3-1 set.
The play begins with a dodge from the top via one midfielder. Here, we want a dodger who can penetrate to the goal and can get himself in an area that is dangerous. The goal here is for this player to get to the middle of the field and stretch the defense.
The play commences with a dodge from 11 at the top. The ball will initially start with 14 on the wing. 12 will then make a V-Cut and 14 passes the ball to 12. With a little V-Cut of his own, 11 now sets up his dodge. He should come to the middle of the field to meet the ball and give him some room to dodge on the backside. 12 will throw the ball to 11, and now he’s in a position to initiate the offense.
From here, the crease player will move out to the right just a few steps as 11 makes his dodge down the alley. All the while, 6 looks to clear through and makes an inside cut into the crease area. 12 will then follow where 11 vacated and provides an outlet in that area of the field. Next, 9 moves into 6’s spot and becomes an outlet in the area near the GLE. 14 will hold down the backside pipe and is a threat to score there. 7 will anticipate a slide and there should also be options for 11 to create his own shot and take it to the cage. If he can’t get to the cage, the offense will break down.
The overall goal here is to create some unsettled opportunities by dodging from the top and making the defense to react to it. If the dodger doesn’t have a shot, his options are to make a through pass to 14 for a shot, pass to 7 on the backdoor, or throw the ball to the frontside for 9. The attackman should always look to the backside for something to show up – especially after the defense has initially reacted and has to recover. Also, 14 can come hard on the dodge with 6 and 12 getting open off the seal.
Follow along with Van Arsdale as he highlights offensive tactics when dodging from the top using actual Virginia game footage. Note the player movements and roles as described above and in the video.
In this week’s lacrosse player development feature, we’ll focus on specific defensive techniques and strategies when defending against shots on goal. With Virginia head coach Dom Starsia leading the way, you’ll learn about proper stance and technique before getting an understanding of key strategies to help you be successful in these frequent defensive situations. Coach Starsia dishes the same advice to youth players and college athletes alike, so see how many tips you can pick up and implement with your team on the lacrosse field this season.
During 1-on-1 play when defending against shots on goal, the goal for the defender is to create unsettled situations. Unfortunately, with their back to the goal, they have a natural disadvantage. Meanwhile, an attackman knows exactly where he’s going, so the defender must react to that. Therefore, it’s crucial that defensemen have an opportunity to make up for those disadvantages. Here’s how they can close the gap.
First, it’s critical that a defender is always maintaining proper stance. His feet should be shoulder-width apart, knees are bent and one foot should drop back a little bit behind the other. In other words, players should be in a drop-step mode, which will give them some ground they can make up.
Also, defenders should remain low, never up high or straight up. Remember, you almost can’t be too low. Staying low gives you the chance to change direction and drop step quickly in order to gain an advantage.
Meanwhile, keep the head of the stick pointed at the offensive player. The distance between the head of the stick and your body is called the cushion. This is the margin of error in this situation. With that cushion, a defender has the chance to regain territory and gain an advantage.
With this technique, once an offensive player makes his move, the defender should poke him with his stick and then drop step. Also, it’s important to remember when approaching the goal line extended that the onus is on the defender to get above the GLE about 2-3 yards – and get there before his man does. Here, the defender must get his hands on the offensive player and ride him out and away from the goal. Defenders should not shy away from contact. Get your hands on your opponent and push him into a position where he can’t attack the goal or score.
In the situation where you get beat, try to get your stick on the inside of your opponent. If a player starts to shoot, you can still put your stick in a position to prevent the shot or deflect it. Remember to make contact below the GLE. If the offensive player gets there first, he has a major advantage on the defender.
The follow segments can be seen in their entirety on the Championship Productions’ DVD “Developing the Dominating Individual Defender” with Dom Starsia. Check out more defense-oriented videos in our extensive catalog by clicking here.
In this week’s edition of All-Access, we take you to Charlottesville, Virginia for an exclusive look inside of a Virginia men’s lacrosse practice. Watch as head coach Dom Starsia runs through a variety of clearing situations with his squad and dishes out advice to players regarding movements, positioning and overall strategy.
This unique perspective gives coaches and players at every level a chance to see how a top college program works on their clearing and transition areas. Coaches can also pick up tips, approaches and overall guidance that can be used for their own practices, like how to simulate different clearing situations, from a save to a turnover or a loose ball.
In this instance, the offense works on moving the ball around the horn and implements different plays each segment. On each simulation, Starsia dictates a particular change of possession, like a loose ball, goalie save or turnover. The defense then works on clearing the ball and making a clean transition up the field in order to set up the offense on the other end.
The Cavaliers went 16-2 overall in 2010 and reached the NCAA semifinals before falling to eventual champion Duke by a score of 14-13. The squad is a title contender once again in 2011 and faces a tough schedule that features eight teams that saw postseason action last year.
This behind the scenes look is featured on the Championship Productions DVD “All-Access Virgina Lacrosse Practice with Dom Starsia.” Be sure to check out our entire All-Access catalog, which also features Duke, Bryant, Navy and Notre Dame.
The USILA Division I Men’s Coaches Poll was recently released. The University of Virginia, coached by Dominic Starsia, owns a 14-1 record and is ranked #1. They hold 8 first place votes while #2 Syracuse holds one first place vote. The complete rankings are below. Many coaches from the ranked programs have produced instructional lacrosse DVDs with Championship Productions:
1. Virginia (Coached by Dominic Starsia)
3. Maryland (Coached by Dave Cottle)
4. North Carolina
5. Duke (Coached by John Danowski)
8. Stony Brook
9. Denver (Coached by Bill Tierney)
11. Loyola (Md.)
14. Johns Hopkins (Coached by Dave Pietramala and Bobby Benson)
19. Brown (Coached by Lars Tiffany)
20. Notre Dame (Coached by Kevin Corrigan)