Team Analysis PoNY Endzone Defence, USA Nationals 2019 (1)

A rare example of a team using a zone defence to guard their end zone

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Watch the play in full:

PoNY combine elements of zone defence along with switching & poaching to make life difficult for Rhino Slam!

Breaking it down

1. Buzz switch

Let's examine the initial setup: PoNY are applying a mark, then surrounding the stack in a 'clam' formation, with three players between cutters and the front of the end zone: one on the front of the stack, one to the left, and one to the right. PoNY guard handlers outside the endzone tightly, chasing hard and putting lots of pressure. However, they utilise a Buzz Switch to prevent Rhino Slam! from beating them to the open side with a give & go

2. Double teaming in front of the disc

Watch the defender at the front of the stack, Chris Kocher, point to his team mate, Sean Keegan, to go and poach in the space directly in front of the disc. It is very difficult to cover someone 1-on-1 at the front of the end zone, so sending another defender to help forces the offence to find another way to score.

3. Guarding the front of stack

Rhino send the front of stack cutter back towards the handler space, and he is guarded very closely by Kocher. As the cutter moves towards the open side, Keegan moves over to block off his path to the front cone.

4. Readjusting

Rhino squeeze a throw into a tight window, saved by a phenomenal layout catch. The PoNY endzone formation adjusts immediately, shifting to surround the disc as quickly as possible. Since the defender guarding the left hand side of the end zone has been pulled in to apply a mark, another defender, Ben Jagt, quickly runs into that space. Meanwhile, Keegan remains to cover the right hand side of the endzone.

5. Containing and shut down

A few things to notice here. Ben Jagt switching on defenders within the area he's covering, to the left of the endzone. As Kocher closely guards a cut from the stack towards the right hand side of the pitch, his team mate immediately readjusts to ensure that the front of stack is covered. Meanwhile, PoNY continue to closely guard the reset handler, until another Rhino player goes behind the disc and a stall out is called.

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