After I published the finals recap, I got an email from UNC coach Mike DeNardis with some more in-depth comments on his team’s win. If you’re looking for a bit of insight on the Mid-Atlantic frontrunner, enjoy:
On the Fall Easterns win:
It’s always nice to end the fall with a tournament win. We did it last year and it really jump started our push into spring. I was especially pleased with the way the finals went in that we were down all game, dug deep, and really applied the pressure when we needed to get the win. The rest of the tournament and Wolfpack didn’t mentally and physically tax us as much as those last couple games of Easterns, so it was really nice to rise to the next level and also get a small taste of the challenges ahead.
On Darkside’s shorter rotation for the finals:
We used the majority of our players through the tournament, but as we got into closer games, we had to rely on a stronger veteran presences. As far as lines went, our O-line was only 7 deep all tournament since Ben Snell, Justin Moore, and Jon Aycock were missing. The D shortened up to around 8 consistently with us taking O-line players such as Christian Johnson, Jacob Mouw, and Marshall Ward across when the situation dictated it. So 15 players played heavier minutes with rookies thrown in on about 5 points.
When asked what the difference maker was:
I think Christian [Johnson] heavily influenced the game both on offense and defense when we brought him over. Tristan Green and Jon Nethercutt aka “Nut” aka “County Strong” also logged heavy minutes, made some game changing throws, and minimized the impact of some of UNCW’s top players.
When asked if anyone guarded Christian Johnson well this weekend:
Footing was a little tough on our field, but beside from slipping here and there, Christian wasn’t pressured too much. I think both Penn State and Wilmington gave him a harder match-up and pressured our handlers from getting those easy looks to him down field, but he is very good a tiring defenders down as the game goes on.
On his team’s dump defense, particularly that of standout handler defender Tristan Green:
We tend to stress dump defense through the season because there are so many levels to becoming a good dump defender and minimizing handler impact. We stressed not getting beat up line in the finals since we had to play a directional force a lot of the time and it seemed to work.
Click here for more info on Fall Easterns.