Sept. 2, 2008
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by Matt DaSilva, Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff
Who ever said Bill Tierney's boys couldn't get creative? Princeton University is, after all, an Ivy League institution known for its ingenuity.
But Denver Outlaws defenseman Zac Jungers is quick to clarify that the "chicken wing," which he calls the last, true legal hold, evolved more as a matter of brute force than creativity.
"Damien [Davis] used to do it because he's huge, with wide arms," Jungers says, "and Oliver Barry started using it."
Execution is not all about strength, however, as Jungers is quick to demonstrate. The hold is most effective at or near goal line extended, and requires pre-established body and stick position topside of your opponent.
"He's dodging, and you could have good topside position, but a lot of guys are small and quick enough to roll inside and under," Jungers says with a nod to Brendan Mundorf, his teammate and an MLL all-star attackman for the Outlaws.
In this situation, a more common tactic might be the "V" hold, where you as the defenseman bring your stick back over to the weak side to close access and drive the attackman away from the cage. But this comes with multiple pitfalls.
- You've given up the topside. Chances are, a good attackman will roll back outside before your stick and body can retreat.
- You're more susceptible to a holding penalty with your stick restricting access to the inside.
- You've lost leverage.
That's when the chicken wing comes in handy.
With enough upper body strength, this should repel the attackman, or at least force him into a tough angle going away from the cage. An added bonus, should he turn back to the outside, is that you're in an ideal position to throw a hard slap check.
"The force is already cocked for a back check," Jungers says, "and ready to dislodge."
Note that these instructions, as well as the above photos, are directed from your strong side as a defenseman. In this instance, Jungers defends to the left of the cage as a right-handed defenseman. The same would apply on the opposite side of the cage, only your top hand would pull up to throw the chicken wing.
"He's been killing guys with that this year," says Outlaws general manager and head coach Brian Reese.
Adds Mundorf, "I don't know if you should've told anyone about that."
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