towson pairs offense play vs hopkins college lacrosse

Princeton “Picking Pairs” Offense

This is a more modern Offense we've seen the last few years among college teams. You can use this play to get dodgers open going to the goal and confuse Slide Packages from the Defense!

Also just called "Pairs", this was an Offensive set that we saw from Princeton starting in 2010. Duke started using it soon after, all the way to their second NCAA National Championship in a row in 2014! Johns Hopkins came out in "Pairs" this week against Navy.

Here's a good highlight video of Duke using Pairs in the 2014 National Championship Game:

You could also call this a "4-2" or "42" Offense, with four dodgers up top, and two attackmen down low on either side of the goal. This is more of an intermediate/advanced offense that you will want to use with players who have a solid understanding of spacing and the Pick & Roll "Two-Man Game".

Using the Pick & Roll is a great way to get players open to go to the goal. But more importantly, it's also a great way to pull or "Stretch" other Defenders away from the ball, and keep them "Occupied," or busy on the other side of the field. Since the shape of the offensive formation is a little different, you can open up the middle and confuse the defense as to who should "Slide!", and from where.


You can start this play in the standard 2-3-1 Formation, or a 3-1-2 (or "3-3") or a 2-2-2. There are so many options!

We have drawn this up starting in a 2-3-1 Set since that's what most coaches are familiar with.

princeton picking pairs college lacrosse offense play

Figure 1.) "Pairs" is simply an Up Pick on the ball side, and a Down Pick on the other side. You can run this on either side of the field, giving your Righty Dodgers an Alley Dodge or space to get to the middle. Here, Blue 2 comes up from the Crease to set an "Up Pick" for Blue 1.

At the same time, Blue 3 will Pick Down for Blue 4. Using the "Two-Man Game" on the opposite side of the field creates more space for the man with the ball, and ties up, or "Occupies" the Second Slide Defender (Red 4 here).

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