The Internet is telling me through my Internet computing machine that it's the time of year when midseason awards are given to deserving recipients. This is frightening to me on a singular level: Almost two-thirds of the regular season is complete, which means that our conceptual understanding of mathematical application has been blown to smithereens, leading to a tear in the space-time continuum wherein mid-points are now way points farther down the linear model of existence. Or, everyone just needs to generate content this time of year. (Although I feel pretty confident in the former being reality (or, rather, what was once reality).)
The College Crosse midseason awards roll on, highlighting all the important things* that have gone down in the world of Division I men's lacrosse at the two-thirds pole of the season.
* Just kidding. None of these things are important. No doink.
COLLEGE CROSSE AWARD IX: ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FIELD OF SELFISHNESS
Winner: Loyola University Grehyounds
Loyola's motto this year should be, "Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie!" Nobody this season has generated a higher possession margin than the Greyhounds thus far, and it's not really even close. On the year, Loyola has played 351 offensive possessions against just 285 defensive possessions, good for a 55.2 percent possession percentage and a possession margin of 7.33 per 60 minutes of action. That's more than a full possession greater than the second-ranked team nationally in possession margin -- North Carolina (6.27).
From this, the Greyhounds have been able to keep the bean in the crosses of Sawyer, Lusby, & Partners, a potent formula for success. (If you distill it into a scientific beaker, it billows ominous smoke and could be used for destructive evil if it falls into the wrong hands.) The secondary residual aspect of Loyola's selfishness is that the Greyhounds have been able to insulate their defense -- a solid unit that doesn't necessarily need to be insulated -- allowing them to rest and perform at a level that has Loyola ranked sixth nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency.
COLLEGE CROSSE AWARD X: ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FIELD OF "YA SUSPECT!"
Winner: Fairfield College Stags
Hey, did you know that Fairfield is 9-1 with their only loss coming to Colgate? Cool. You've been paying attention. Here's a sticker that you can put on your spiral-bound notebook to impress your friends.
Hey, did you also know that Fairfield's strength of schedule -- based on their opponent's efficiency margin -- is ranked only 43rd nationally? Did you also know that the Stags' strength of schedule with an eye toward opposing defenses faced is only ranked 48th in the country while the opposing offenses they squared off against are only ranked 41st? I didn't think so. Who's the smart guy now, college boy? It makes you wonder about the efficacy of Fairfield's four one-goal wins.
Now, Fairfield still have lots of opportunities left to shake the stigma that their record may be a bit of a fraud with dates remaining against Loyola, Denver, and Ohio State. However, it may be wise to pump the brakes a little bit on the Stags. This may or may not be a legitimate ECAC contender.
COLLEGE CROSSE AWARD XI: ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FIELD OF TAKING A BEATING FROM THE BOOMSTICK
Winner: Peter DeLuca, Jacksonville
The poor, poor Dolphins. First, they lose their program's first head coach, Matt Kerwick, to Georgetown. Now, they're struggling through their schedule with a pedestrian 4-6 record with only one true highlight on the campaign: A mind-exploding 13-7 victory over Navy. And, to top it all off, Jacksonville goalie Peter DeLuca is under fire from a tommy gun each and every time he steps between the pipes.
Only nine teams this season are yielding more shots per defensive possession than Jacksonville (the Dolphins are seeing about 1.1 shots each time their opponent has an opportunity to attack their defense). To compound that fact, no team this season has seen more saves per defensive possession than the Dolphins. At almost 41 stops per 100 defensive possessions played, DeLuca is standing before a firing squad and is being asked to catch all the bullets with his teeth. To his credit, he's pulling off a pretty fantastic magic trick with the rate at which he's surviving. (His save percentage is just south of 60 percent, which is a minor miracle to surveyed medical experts.)
Peter DeLuca is a survivor, y'all. Good luck and Godspeed, son.
COLLEGE CROSSE AWARD XII: ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FIELD OF "YUP, THAT JUST HAPPENED!"
Winner: Zach Palmer, Johns Hopkins