How Tutton’s aggression helped stymie the Rush in the first quarter
February 1, 2019By: Ty Merrow
When the Georgia Swarm rattled off five quick goals to start Sunday’s contest against the Saskatchewan Rush, they found themselves energized and playing some of their best lacrosse all season on both sides of the floor.
And no one was feeding off that energy more than Chad Tutton, especially in the first quarter. His patented aggression was on display during those 15 minutes, as he was a nightmare for anyone wearing black and green on the floor.
While it may seem like Tutton just throws his body around, that isn’t the case. There’s an instinctual awareness for when to pounce on the unsuspecting opponent.
That instinct led to his very first caused turnover of the night. Tutton was on the floor as part of the Swarm’s faceoff unit. Brett Mydske collected the ball for the Rush and passed it towards Matt MacGrotty, but Tutton had different plans.
Tutton was able to surprise MacGrotty to disrupt his reception of the pass and cause a turnover immediately. Tutton would go on to take a shot that rang off the bottom of the right post. The Rush regained possession, but Tutton’s work to disrupt the faceoff unit was unsettling and led right to the next play.
Both teams ended up scrapping for the loose ball in the Rush’s offensive zone after a Jeff Shattler shovel pass went straight up instead of towards his target. With the ball batted along the restraining line, both Tutton and Matthew Dinsdale went for the ball.
Tutton saw that Dinsdale was just a step ahead of him and instead used his body to force Dinsdale to dodge. Dinsdale dodged right into Connor Sellars, who forced the turnover that Adam Wiedemann collected.
About five minutes later, Jordi Jones-Smith crossed the midline, and Wiedemann stood in his way. The two were keeping pace with one another, waiting for the equilibrium to break. But Tutton saw a prime opportunity for action while the Rush offense was still trying to get set.
Him pressing forward and attacking Jones-Smith’s stick caused yet another turnover, which Jordan MacIntosh was able to corral to give the Swarm another fast break chance. The Rush eventually get the repossession after the shot and loose ball battle.
Minutes later, Tutton was at it again. This time, Nik Bilic received an outlet pass from Kyle Rubisch back into the Rush’s offensive zone. Unfortunately for Bilic, Tutton wanted the ball. Badly.
He immediately checked Bilic twice to cause him to lose his footing and smacked the bottom of Bilic’s stick, dislodging the ball yet again. Tutton ran right past him to scoop up the ball. Rubisch tried to dislodge the ball by wrapping his stick around Tutton, but it’s to no avail as Tutton broke free and waited for the Swarm offense to trickle onto the floor.
We’ve been looking at nothing but Tutton hits and his impact on early Rush turnovers, but that makes it a little difficult to appreciate the instinct and experience Tutton used in those situations. So, let’s take a look one play which shows how much of a shutdown defender he was in the first quarter.
This will be a little hard to see since most of the Swarm players on the floor during this shift are lefties wearing white shoes. Tutton is the one in the middle on the Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort tile.
Shattler was trying to cut through the middle for Dinsdale to pass to him while he’s inside. Tutton saw this out of his peripheral, but still made a motion towards Robert Church before he noticed Jason Noble had him.
The issue became Tutton couldn’t quite see where Shattler was but knew he needed to correct his course and prevent Shattler from receiving a west-to-east pass to score on. By being cognizant of where he was at the crease, Tutton adeptly stepped back and found Shattler and prevented him from being open to a pass from Dinsdale. Shattler did eventually receive the ball, but a procedural call against the Rush overturned it.
While it’s easy to chalk up those big hits to just being aggressive, Tutton draws upon his plentiful lacrosse experiences and instincts to jump at the right time. Given how fast the game of box lacrosse is, the ability to act upon those factors instantly can make a difference. On Sunday night, they most certainly did and helped keep the Rush unsettled for most of that first quarter of the game.
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