first_img Comments Published on March 7, 2019 at 10:46 am Contact Andrew: aegraham@syr.edu | @A_E_Graham Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Before he had a chance to even practice, Bradley Voigt checked into his first box lacrosse game. Playing for the Six Nations Arrows, a junior lacrosse team, in the summer of 2017, Voigt’s indoctrination to the sport’s physicality came almost instantly.“Right from the beginning you go out into the field and take about 10 whacks you would never take (in field lacrosse),” Voigt said.On the invitation of then-teammate Brendan Bomberry, Voigt spent the break playing box lacrosse on the Six Nations reservation in Ontario, Canada. He learned to thrive in the close quarters in front of the net. Now, with Bomberry gone atop the depth chart, Voigt has thrived as a target man for No. 13 Syracuse (2-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast), scoring a team-high 10 goals, including six in a breakout performance against Albany.“Different shooting techniques, playing in tight spaces, a lot more physical — it’s elevated his game to where it is now,” Bomberry said of Voigt’s box lacrosse experience.Box lacrosse is played indoors on a turf field surrounded by hockey-style boards. The nets are smaller than field lacrosse nets and goalies wear hockey-style pads. There’s a 30-second shot clock, six players per team and no long poles.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe sport is popular in Canada, where it was invented and has become a staple, especially for lacrosse players from the Six Nations. The summer league Voigt played in featured predominantly players with direct ties to Six Nations, he said.“It’s guys that have been playing that style their whole life,” Voigt said. “A lot of them don’t play college lacrosse. That’s how they play. And if they knew that you played Division I in the United States, they went out for you even more.”With the shortened possessions and limited space, box lacrosse moves faster than its field counterpart, even with the new addition of an 80-second shot clockin college. There’s no chance to cradle and read the next pass — with little space and time, a defender always bore down.The physicality was new to Voigt. Playing with sturdier sticks and trapped in the smaller confines of a box lacrosse field — it’s as long as a normal field is wide (180 feet) — defenders had their way with attackers.In his first box game, Voigt shot once, he said. He spent more time on the ground than with the ball. When defenders took him down, there was no reprieve. He was clearly new to it.“There was a time where I got shoved down into the ground and the guy shoved my head into the ground a couple times,” Voigt said.Steadily, he adjusted to the speed and started to thrive. By the end of the summer, his game had transformed. But Voigt couldn’t immediately showcase his improved game at Syracuse. He came back to campus last year still a step below Bomberry on the depth chart. When Bomberry graduated, Voigt seized his spot.So far, he’s nabbed two assists in addition to his 10 scores. He starred in the two-man game, a staple of box lacrosse. With so few players on the field, a single dodger coming behind the net frees up the attack in front of the crease. Aside from seniorNate Solomon, Voigt has been the lone scorer to primarily operate in front of the cage.Syracuse utilized this look repeatedly against Albany. A midfielder or attack came around from the back of the cage or down the outside of the alley. When Voigt’s defender vacated, dodgers flipped passes inside to an open Voigt. All Voigt needed to do was wrist a shot past the goalie — who, unlike in box lacrosse, has no pads.Voigt’s teammates said his ability to drift away from a defender in front of the net is innate. He naturally understands where the space will be and how to position himself there. But once he gets the ball and the defense is bearing down, the box lacrosse kicks in.“It’s not the same at all,” Voigt said. “It’s just made it a little easier out there for me around the crease.”last_img

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