NCAA Lacrosse: Virginia Men’s Lacrosse Credits “Zone Defense” Employed In Second Half Of Season For 2011 NCAA Lacrosse National Championship

“…Maryland had few answers for the Cavaliers’ zone defense…”

Necessitated by a season-ending shoulder injury to junior defenseman Matt Lovejoy in the teams’ first meeting on April 2, Virginia employed a zone for the final eight contests — a stretch during which the Cavaliers went 6-2, including a five-game winning streak to end the season.

The Terps tried to attack the zone by putting two players on the crease in front of senior goalkeeper Adam Ghitelman (a game-high nine saves) and forcing the action inside. But several passes went astray, and senior attackman Ryan Young, junior midfielder Drew Snider and senior long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell each hit either the posts or crossbar.

“I think we got a lot of looks early,” said senior attackman Grant Catalino, who paced Maryland with two goals and one assist. “Adam made a bunch of good saves, we hit a few pipes, missed a few shots. But I think we prepared pretty hard and we executed our game plan. It just seemed that the ball didn’t roll our way today.”

Coach John Tillman said trying to pass to the interior part of any opponent’a defense entails rewards and risks.

“You’ve got to give your guys some rope and let them make some plays. But you also want to be choosy and you want to be responsible,” he said. “You know you’re not going to be 100 percent, but you certainly hope you make a lot more good plays than bad plays. … Again, they’re so rangy and athletic, it may seem like there’s an opening, and then they take it away pretty quickly.”

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