Below is a transcript from Denver Outlaws Head Coach Jim Stagnitta's Week 8 MLL Media Conference Call on Wednesday, June 19. The Outlaws' Week 8 game notes can be downloaded from the team website
Head Coach Jim Stagnitta
On the win over Chesapeake
"Well I think it was a little different than what any of us kind of expected and certainly our concern going in was controlling what we considered a pretty potent offense - and certainly concerned about defending a number of weapons. We really did a great job with that. Team defense and how we handled their midfielders - it was a combination of a couple things. Certainly Jesse (Schwartzman) had a great game and we did a nice job in our defensive scheme. They were certainly able to create their shots but I think maybe they were more along the lines of shots we wanted them to take than what they wanted to take. So I was very happy with all of that, particularly Jesse's play.
"Offensively, the first half I think it was a little bit like a prize fight - feeling each other out, a little bit tentative. Finally we took advantage of our opportunities and grabbed some unsettled opportunities. It was back and forth and certainly both teams made their runs. To come out of there - considering where we were last time we played them - to come out of there with a win, go on the road against not just a good team but a team that's battling to maintain their supremacy we're certainly very pleased to come out of there and have a win. Again, I don't think it was our best effort offensively, but I think that they had a lot to do with that also."
On Eric Law's performance to start his career "Well I would tell you from the first weekend I thought it was just a factor of - he's very good off the ball, has great instincts and certainly was well coached. I felt like the first weekend he was the beneficiary of that aspect of his game and the fact that our guys will find you if you're open and they'll get the ball to you. This weekend, he showed a whole different dimension. The kid is so unassuming - the first time he carries the ball he's got (Nicky) Polanco on him and Polanco not only takes the ball from him but knocks the stick out of his hand. He comes to the sideline and I call him over and I said, Look, you can't run side to side on him, Eric you have to go straight at him.' So next time he get the ball he turns around, he squares up and he runs right at Nicky Polanco and he runs by him. Polanco does that back check, he protects the stick and he scores a goal. He did it in a lot of different ways this weekend - off-ball right-handed, off-ball left-handed, with the ball in his stick. He's one of those guys and it's one of those nice things about having been at the college level for all of those years, when I talk to coaches about kids they're going to tell me and there's people that I really trust. Bill Tierney said this kid is somebody that - and this is before he had his great senior year - Bill said this is a kid that's going to fit right in with what you guys do and you're going to love him. Bill was right on all accounts and he's certainly a great kid but he's a really talented all-around player. He's got a very-well rounded game."
On whether the Outlaws are playing their best lacrosse
"No. We certainly could get a lot better. We're still rolling people through the lineup. I don't think we played great on the offensive end last game. We take advantage of opportunities. I think we're doing what we need to do to win games. Defense is always going to keep you in games. We're doing two things. Certainly, we're scoring a lot of goals. Some of that has to do with the fact that we've been winning faceoffs pretty consistency. Jesse's been great. We really do play good defense. The difference in the game the other night had nothing to do with peaking or playing well. It had to do with ground balls. We picked up a lot of the 50-50 ground balls. That was a big part of our success and it gave us possessions."
"When you play once a week and you don't practice every day, I think unlike college, there are different times when you're going to peak. We're going to have good games and bad games. As I told the guys the other day after the game, good teams find ways to win games on days when they don't play great. Maybe that was a little bit of what we did this last weekend. Again, I thought we were tentative. I thought that it wasn't our best effort all around except for some individuals who really stepped up. Namely Jesse, the defense and a kid like Eric Law. Their goalie was terrific last weekend, (Kip) Turner was phenomenal. I'm not worried about that. I'm more concerned about us getting all the pieces together and just becoming a little bit more consistent."
On the offseason acquisitions over the past two seasons "I think there's two things to that. It hasn't been a wholesale turnover as people make it seem. With 19 guys, you can only play so many. Two of our three attackmen are playing from last year, all of our middies except for one who made a major contribution last year are playing for us. Defensively, it's an area where we needed to get better, but it's the same group barring Steven Holmes, who retired. So the changes aren't as wholesale as people lead everyone to believe. There may be a big-name person here or there, but there's a reason for that. Some of it is the value that person had in helping us to fulfill what our team needs were. The other is just chemistry and the way we play. You can see with guys like (Drew) Snider, and this won us the game the other night, we were able to go from defense to offense probably six or seven times in that game with our D-middies or our guys playing D. We were able to create offensive opportunities and score goals.
"Guys like Snider have given us the ability to do that. A guy like Justin Turri is exactly what we needed - a big, strong middie. He was able to play against the Bayhawks' big middies last weekend and cover them. And then take the ball from defense to offense. We couldn't do that last year. Snider can do that defensively. And then, at the other end, we needed a righty. We were running around in circles last year getting in each other's way on attack. We had a bunch of lefties and finishers. Now, you have Law and (Jeremy) Boltus who are righties that can get to the cage, then they can finish and they can feed. It was just balancing out the field and allowing us to be a well-rounded and not as predictable team. A team that can really attack you and do things from a lot of different parts of the field. Then, we needed a right-handed attackman. Now we have two pretty good ones. We needed to be a little stronger in the midfield and a little more balanced. We've gotten that with guys like (Zack) Greer and Turri, and being able to move Snider to play offense.
"While the moves aren't as wholesale, and it's not like how people make it sound, they are strategic. Not every plan works out the way you want it to work out, but for the most part, these guys are doing the things for us that we needed to become a better team. To become competitive with the best teams in the league. I think we walked into this Bayhawks game this last weekend feeling a heck of a lot better about our chances than we had at any time last year in our three meetings with them."
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Major League Lacrosse Stories from June 19, 2013
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