Lacrosse Film Room is becoming a must-follow on the YouTube machine. The cat is digging through tons of games from the 2013 season and isolating plays, making it easier to understand how teams are running their stuff and executing their approaches. The videos can be a little dry -- it's film study; Michael Bay isn't exactly setting off small explosions in the restraining area to obscure lean narratives -- but it's a nice resource for knuckleheads like me that don't have the time or capacity to shovel this nonsense.
The channel recently published the above video featuring Villanova's John LoCascio goofing Georgetown's Brennan Bicknese, hauling ass on a three-quarter field run, distribute -- !!!! -- from behind the crease to an unmarked Mark Jackson (the spacing on that transition opportunity was sublime), and finishing the play with a tally. And that's what makes LoCascio, a senior entering his final campaign with the Wildcats, not only one of the best long-stick midfielders in college lacrosse entering the 2014 season but arguably the keystone to Villanova's potential success next year: The guy has all the tools and is a weapon with high explosivity strength.
LoCascio's inclusion in the initial Team USA tryout pool was somewhat surprising to many. Playing for a program that hung around the .500 mark in 2013 didn't raise his profile, nor did the fact that he was playing in the shadow of some of incredibly productive long-stick midfielders last year (Loyola's Scott Ratliff, Maryland's Jesse Bernhardt, Bryant's Mason Poli, etc.). LoCascio's performance, though, spoke otherwise: He finished the season ranked first in the Player Impact Ratings among defensemen with a perfect PIR score; he anchored one of the best takeaway units in the nation, contributing 53 caused turnovers to a team that finished 2013 ranked second in caused turnovers per 100 defensive opportunities and 14th in opponent turnovers per 100 defensive opportunities; he scooped 85 groundballs for a team that finished the season ranked 12 in run-of-play groundball margin; and he was competent in transition situations, pitching in two goals and six assists on the year while taking just eight shots.
LoCascio's play matters, and given Villanova's holes and questions entering next spring, consistently exceptional play from the senior is going to drive the determination of the Wildcats' ceiling. He's effective, efficient, and destructive; a first team All-America in the making.