Edina goaltender Austin Dover finds finds some running room as he attempts to clear the ball. Photo by Helen Nelson
Sometimes, opposing defenses make life hard for Ryan McNamara.
Like the star quarterback or the actor on the red carpet, he tends to get a lot of attention.
When he makes a move, eyes and legs quickly follow. That’s exactly how Tanner Hamill likes it.
The biggest beneficiary of McNamara’s magnet-like draw, Hamill scored four goals in top-seeded Eastview’s 15-6 dismantling of No. 4-seed Edina in the state tournament semifinals on Tuesday, June 5 at Chanhassen High School.
The setup went like this:
McNamara would get the ball and snap towards the net, dashing around the player guarding him. Forced to put a man on McNamara, the Hornets would slide a help defender toward the junior attackman in order to block his route the net.
With the defenders moving, Hamill would sneak to the top of the crease and catch a laser pass from McNamara and score a "gimme" goal.
Though simple on paper, the passing touch displayed by McNamara to beat the extra coverage was impressive, even to his coach.
“He’s outrageous isn’t he?” Eastview coach Tim Roche said of McNamara, who finished with seven points (three goals, four assists). “He just sees the whole field. … Our guys understand spacing, not getting grouped together so there are those open looks through our offense. Ryan runs the offense to a ‘T’.”
Junior Tanner Hamill, left, scored three goals in Eastview's victory over Edina. Photo by Helen Nelson
Hamill, playing the big man in the middle, had the task of snagging the passes and sending them home.
“They know that Mac and Heppner are really good dodgers, so then I just pop open and get behind them …” Hamill said. “I try to get behind their backs so they can’t see me.
“Sometimes it’s hard to catch them, but from practicing with him since youth I am just used to the passing. I know he’ll always put them right on my shoulder.”
The way McNamara wound up to pass the ball across the field stood out. That extra bit of elbow grease has been a point of emphasis for the Lightning, according to Roche.
On a team trip out east in the offseason, Eastview was hounded not to lob the ball when running its offense.
“We were at the University of Virginia and did a film session with their coaching staff,” Roche said. “They really said, ‘Guys, you can’t throw lollipops to each other because now if you’re doing that you’re allowing the defense to recover.’ That was the number one thing we learned last summer was throw the ball hard because that’s how you create movement that’s how you create odd man situations so we’ve really tried as an entire program to throw the ball hard.”
When asked about the possibility of turnovers from hasty passing, McNamara had no concerns, displaying a confident attitude that has made him such a force for the Lightning.
“Not really, I don’t want to be worried to make mistakes, especially in these games. Just play free”
-- Walker Orenstein, MN Lax Hub staff
Junior Ryan McNamara scored three goals and added four assists in Eastview's state tournament semifinal victory over Edina. Photo by Helen Nelson
The scenario was very familiar to Eastview and it wasn't going to drop its guard this time.
1. Ryan McNamara, Eastview
What more can you say? Three goals, four assists and pure domination from the junior attackman. His passing and speed were too much to handle for the Edina defense, and it showed in the second half when it mattered most. McNamara was a wrecking ball.
2. Tanner Hamill, Eastview
Hamill made his mark playing off McNamara and scoring four goals. Hamill's positioning on top of the crease went unnoticed time and time again, and the junior made the Hornets pay. Hamill has 10 goals in the playoffs (he scored six in section play) and 32 overall on the year.
3. Danny Regan, Edina
The biggest bright spot for the Hornets, Regan netted three goals for the Hornets. The senior worked in tandem with Danny Burke, who assisted on all three goals. Regan finished the playoffs with nine goals and ended the season with 41 total points (33 goals, eight assists).
-- Walker Orenstein, MN Lax Hub staff
Edina | Section 5 Playoffs
Eastview | Section 3 Playoffs