The "22 Duke" play is designed to spread out the opposing defense, isolate the shortstick defenders and provide chances for your off-ball players to finish in front of the goal.
The play starts with your midfielders inverted behind the cage in a wide 2-2-2 formation, similar to an open set, with no one on the crease. The 2-2-2 formation isolates the opposing team's shortstick midfielders behind the net, allowing the midfielders (M1 and M2 in the image below) time and space to get their hands free to feed the crease.
The ball starts with the right-side inverted midfielder, M2, behind the net and dodging to his right off a pick set by the other inverted midfielder, M1. As M2 begins his dodge, the players above the goal line (A1, A2, A3) time up their picks so M2 is able to cycle through his progression, below:
1) Inside to A3 coming off the pick from A1, ball side for a close quick finish
2) A follow-up look inside to A2 coming off the pick from M3, ball side for a quick shot
3) Skip pass to attackman A1 slipping to the backside pipe after setting a pick for A3 for a close-in finish
Off-ball players must work together to time up screens for one another. Isolating the shortsticks and controlling the ball behind the net allows your offense to choose the best option for attacking the goal. Players on the left side of the field, M3 and A1, should be coming across to the opposite side of the goal to set a screen for right-side players A2 and A3 to cut hard off of.
When executed properly, this play works really well; but, like most plays, timing is key. The ideal time to use this play is when an opponent has noticeably strong on-ball longstick defenders or noticeably weak shortstick defenders.
To work 22 Duke into your team's offensive arsenal, practice it going to the right and left side of the field, but run it in the direction that takes advantage of your team's strengths.
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Ryan Rabidou is the co-founder of LaxLessons.com and a staff writer for Inside Lacrosse. He has served as head coach of the Thailand National Lacrosse Team and has helped develop lacrosse programs in New Zealand, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Collegiately, he was a four-year letter winner and senior captain at Loyola University, graduating in 2007.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock