Lightning strike big with Johns Hopkins-style offense

Dakota Stewart, left of the Lightning makes a run at the net

In any sport, a slow-down style of offense traditionally doesn’t produce a lot of points.

In the Grand Valley boys lacrosse game Saturday against Glenwood Springs, the Lightning went with a more patient approach.

The strategy went against the traditional wisdom, as Grand Valley had its highest-scoring game of the season in a 16-5 victory at Canyon View Park.

“We call it the Hopkins mode,” Grand Valley coach Dave Zabronsky said. “You take your time, and hold it about 60 to 100 seconds before you do anything.”

The offense is patterned after Johns Hopkins University’s lacrosse team, which runs a deliberate attack.

With the slower approach, the Lightning spread out its offensive players and passed the ball around the edge of the attack area. Once they found the Demons’ defense out of position, they would attack, which allowed the Lightning to fire 34 shots on goal.

“We were stressing ball control,” Zabronsky said. “If you wait for the opportunity, have the patience, you can put up 15 goals.”

Attackmen Dakota Stewart and Jeff Cunningham both benefitted from the offensive game plan as Stewart finished with five goals, and Cunningham four. Three of Cunningham’s goals came in the first half, which allowed the Lightning to take a 8-2 halftime lead.

“We had a lot of opportunities, and took advantage of them,” Stewart said. “I think we played really well as a team today.”

As the Lightning’s offense pushed the halftime lead to 14-3 by the end of the third quarter, the Demons weren’t helping their own cause. Glenwood Springs were playing with a man down because of penalties six times in the game. The Lightning scored on three of those

“We have to put those easy goals in when we are six on five,” Zabronsky said. “Today we went over the plays before practice, and that helped them because we ran that man-up play and were getting a lot of looks at it.”

Grand Valley’s ball control offense allowed Glenwood to get only 13 shots against Lightning goalie Cody Von Felt. The Central High School senior had eight saves.

“I am happy with the way they played today,” Zabronsky said. “We just have to sharpen up a little bit, but we are on the right track and going in the right direction.”

Grand Valley plays Tuesday at rival Aspen. The Lightning lost to the Skiers 13-12 in the first game of the year, and look to avenge that loss.

“We wanted to go to the playoffs, but that won’t happen, so we just want to finish the rest of the year out with wins,” Stewart said.


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