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Yesterday was the finish of fall ball.

I’m going to give you my thoughts on the team now that fall ball is over. As a reminder – I am in no way an expert. But I do have the advantage of seeing several practices, the Alumni game, and yesterday an intensely competitive full field intra-squad scrimmage, with actual experienced referees, that consisted of 4 quarters of 12 minutes each with a running clock. Below are my views by position. Saturday or Sunday I will summarize what I think of the team– progress, strengths, weaknesses, etc. But I never feel comfortable making specific won/loss predictions.

ATTACK – will be at least very good, probably excellent. Certainly Kraus and D’Amario are excellent; there is no question about that. The third spot is open. I like Ian Laviano, in addition to his diversified shooting skills, he can pass and he rides hard. Second choice for me would be Gordon, although his game is somewhat one dimensional. I have not seen first years Reagan Quinn and Jackson Appelt do a lot, but there may be a hidden gem there. Also, Lars might play Kellogg here; he’s shown a lot of energy coming back from a red shirt year.

Key question – how good will the third attackman be?

MIDFIELD – The first midfied is outstanding,
possibly the best in the country (no exaggeration) if he plays Conrad, Dox and Matt Moore together. Conrad has improved the accuracy of his shot. Moore has it all, scores from anywhere, hits corners most of the time, almost never misses the cage, smooth, pretty fast in transition; can play decent d. I can’t tell if he is as great shape as Conrad and Dox and he will need to be. You are going to love this guy. I will go out on a limb here and say at some point he will be the best player on the team.

Lars does not use first and second lines in the way most other coaches do, and I have not figured out his pattern. He is still experimenting with this year’s team.

In any case what you would consider the second midfield line is very problematic. That’s especially true in Lars system, where he cannot play the first line (required to play d) all game. You have Emery (whose catching and passing is below standard), Milan Murray (a great shot which misses the cage more often than not, but has shown a new-found ability to dodge), and a few other guys who are decent. We need at least one guy break out this year; Corey Harris? perhaps Pisani who Lars moved from attack? or Kellogg, if he is not at attack? It seems to me he is needed here more.

Key Questions – does Lars play the three stars together or have one on the second line? Will he play the short sticks more often to lighten the load of the offensive minded guys?

CLOSE D – will be very good. (I say that with some hesitation.) Hooper is outstanding, one of my favorite guys. He is the equivalent of a football shut down corner, consistently strips his mark, should be an AA; Ambrosino should be at least very good, very physical, needs to cut down on penalites. The third spot is probably Fersen, good but probably not as physical as you would like. His excellent stick skills will make him a force in transition. (More than anyone Lars likes his close d men bring the ball upfield when needed.) Reilly is Fersens competition for the third spot, but he missed most of the fall.

Key Questions - How does Lars deal with the lack of depth? Can guys I list under LSM move to close if needed?

SHORT STICKS - will be an improved unit. John Fox is an excellent addition, this guy plays excellent d and is helpful in transition. Dziama should be better with one year behind him (last year he seemed lost at times). Smith looks better, especially offensively. All three give us some offense from this position. I can’t judge Corey Millhouse, the fastest guy on the team; when clearing he tries to dodge when he should just use that speed; have not seen him play d much, and his shot does not seem that good. He needs to be more assertive and when he is more comfortable he might begin to reach the enormous potential he has.

Key Question? How will the short sticks be used? How often will they play?

LSM – is potentially outstanding. Conners is going to be great; strong, aggressive, energetic, excellent in transition and gbs. It's exciting to watch him dash upfield. The rest of the guys are unknowns. Will Rock has a great rep and the right physical attributes; he’s tall and his long reach enables him to get in the way of shooters; the coaches like Kyle Kology a lot, Spolanky has shown flashes.

Key Questions – who backs up Conners or gives him a breather? Can any of these guys move to close if needed?

GOALIE – will be better, at least very solid. I can’t discern a difference between Thompson (who looks confidant) and Alex Rode, although Rode seems to make an outstanding save a little more often. Both are young, inconsistent at this point, and both pass only adequately. Short passes are fine, medium and long passes are an adventure. This is going to hinder the offense. Their communication with the defense is certainly loud, but I have no idea if it is effective. I hope they get better as the season goes on.

Key Questions - Who is the starter? Can they learn to pass better over the winter?

FACE OFF GUYS (INCLUDING THE WINGS) – Unfortunately we may continue our tradition of being below where we would like to be. I like Brugel a lot; I think he can hold his own against anyone. But we can’t have him out there for every draw. That's especially true in Lars' system where there is a great deal of pressure on the FO unit. Both Brugel and Smith can supply some offense. The transfer, Justin Schwenk, is competitive but winds up losing almost all draws when against Brugel; not a good sign.

Lars was trying all sort of combinations at the wings so I cannot tell who his favorite guys are, although I would guess Conrad and Conners. We are going to need excellent wing play. They do practice this a lot. They go at full speed and are very physical.

Key Questions - Can Brugel withstand the amount of use we will need from him? How good will the wings be?

To be continued ----
[Post edited by 1moreUVAfan at 10/28/2017 12:00AM]

Posted: 10/27/2017 at 11:46PM


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Current Thread:
Yesterday was the finish of fall ball. -- 1moreUVAfan 10/27/2017 11:46PM
  Re: Yesterday was the finish of fall ball. -- rocket 10/28/2017 12:02PM
  Thanks for the superb evaluation. ** -- HowieT3 10/28/2017 11:04AM
  Thank you!!! ** -- malkmus 10/28/2017 07:30AM

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