From the Editor: The Defense Rests


Michael Ehrhardt (our November 2022 cover star) playing in the 2018 World Lacrosse Men's Championship in Netanya, Israel.

This article appears in the November edition of USA Lacrosse Magazine. Join our momentum. Matt DaSilva is the editor-in-chief of USA Lacrosse Magazine.

Who says defenders get no love? 

Those few of us who are partial to those that guard the way will be pleasantly surprised to find two features in this edition centered on them — including our cover story on U.S. men’s national team long-stick midfielder and reigning world championship MVP Michael Ehrhardt (“The Real World Can Wait,” page 34).

Or as U.S. teammates affectionately call him, “Mike VP.”

As someone who played LSM, I’ve always gravitated toward stories that put long poles on the pedastal they deserve. Steve Mitchell and John Begier were pioneers of the position in the late 1980s.

Kyle Sweeney and Brodie Merrill ushered in a golden age for LSMs in the early 2000s. The fact that Merrill is still playing at an elite level, albeit as a close defenseman, at age 40 is flabbergasting.

Then came Kyle Hartzell, Joel White, CJ Costabile and Scott Ratliff — a murderer’s row of long sticks who could change the complexion of a game at a moment’s notice with their risky checks, dizzying speed and opportunistic shooting. I’d add Matt Bocklet and Brian Farrell to the list of all-time LSM dynamos.

“I just love every aspect of it. You’re able to touch the game all over the field,” said Ehrhardt, a four-time Brodie Merrill PLL LSM of the Year. “Being able to contribute on the offensive end, the defensive end, the clearing and riding game and most importantly the faceoffs and battle possessions there, you’re pretty much doing everything but saving the ball and playing six-on-six offense.”

Something tells me Mairead Durkin (“The Duke of Hazard,” page 28) would be perfect for the position if they had LSMs in the women’s game. Multi-sport athletes make great defenders. Defensive concepts like posture, positioning, footwork and leverage are essentially universal.

But Durkin showed plenty of offensive instincts as a world champion Gaelic football player and all-state basketball player. Heck, she’s her high school’s all-time leading scorer in lacrosse.

Rounding out this unofficial ode to defenders is an entertaining interview with Delaware All-American Owen Grant (“Give & Go,” page 64). Smelling salts, anyone?

We hope you enjoy these features as well stunning photography from the PLL, college fall ball and U.S. training camp (“Starters,” page 10) and our annual “Gear of the Year” project sponsored by (page 40).

Now let’s D up.


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