Caught in No Man’s Land

The highlight video below comes from the game between USA and Kazakhstan at the World League Super Finals.

Johnny Hooper of Team USA makes a good move against his defender and finds himself attacking the strong shooting pocket with a lot of space. He pulls up around 5 meters out and puts away the cross cage lob.

The goalie was strung out.

In the still frame below, even if Hooper was put down by the helping defender the USA player at the 1 spot, Max Irving, had a great angle on the cage.

Max Irving

Click image to enlarge.

No Man’s Land

The goalie was strung out mostly due to Hooper’s move. But I would also like to point out that the goalie got caught in “No Man’s Land”.

Kazakhtsan looked like they were in a pressing defense. Team USA’s perimeter players were so far out that the Kazakhstan goalie came further out of his cage to get a better angle on a long range shot. He wasn’t coming out to stop an entry pass to 2-meters. The Kazakhstan center defender had a front against the USA center.

Hooper’s move caught the goalie off-guard. The Kazakhstan goalie did not back up to his normal position in the goal. This left the lob shot wide open and if Hooper made the pass to Max the Kazakhstan goalie would not have an angle on that shot either.

No Man’s Land & the Counter Attack

I usually see water polo goalies get caught in “No Man’s Land” during a counter attack. The goalie comes out of their cage to deter a lead pass or to steal an overthrown lead pass to a countering opponent. Then when the pass is a good one the goalie forgets to slide back towards their normal position in the cage.

The lob shot is so wide open that the goalie has zero chance to make a play on it.

Always remember your angles.

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