I warned you all last night on a podcast that College Crosse would be giving out vitally important postseason awards this week. Well, then is now, and the future is pretty glorious, right? I am especially loving my free jet pack from the federal government now that we're all in the future (compared to Wednesday night). It's pretty sweet.
The categories here range from the important to the only-important-to-Hoya-Suxa, so, you know, hold on to that hate mail until the very end. There may be things that you actually like.*
COLLEGE CROSSE POSTSEASON AWARD I: ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FIELD OF EXPLODING HEADS
Winner: Denver at Loyola (ECAC Semifinals)
There were a lot of crazy pants games this season, but I don't think there was one that quite matched the amount of bonkers that went on during Pioneers-Greyhounds in the ECAC semifinals out in Denver. It all ended in overtime with a Scott Ratliff winner, but that's merely the epilogue to what was an epic poem of a game.
Down 12-6 at the end of the third quarter, thoroughly worked over by Loyola for most of the game, Denver snapped and went on a serial killing spree. With the scoreboard blinking 13-6 early in the final stanza, the Pioneers rattled off seven unanswered goals over the final 12 minutes of regulation to draw even with the Greyhounds and force an extra period of play. It was during this time that I discovered that brain worms were infecting all of college lacrosse, causing things to go crazy with the result of making the world want to peel its skin off. I haven't seen a comeback of that magnitude since Casey Powell put Syracuse on his back in the Carrier Dome against Virginia in 1997 and I may not see another game like that again for as long as I cheat death.
Honorable Mention: Towson's epic comeback against Hofstra to win 10-9 in double overtime.
COLLEGE CROSSE POSTSEASON AWARD II: ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FIELD OF "WHO ARE YOU AGAIN AND WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?"
Winners: Lehigh and Massachusetts
The hot topic since Monday has been Loyola's rise from nowhere this season to take home the national championship. That's a great story -- I'm not arguing with it -- but there are actually two other schools that had a bigger leap forward from 2011 to 2012 in terms of production: Lehigh and Massachusetts. (We just kind of forgot about them because they kind of forgot to win the big trophy on Memorial Day.)
From last year to this year, the Mountain Hawks saw an increase in their adjusted efficiency margin from -2.54 to 10.45. That spread -- 12.98 (offensive efficiency over defensive efficiency) -- outpaced the rest of the country. That kind of improvement, in short, means that Lehigh went from playing in a three-goal deficit on a 100 possession basis to a 10-goal cushion at the same rate. That's heroic movement from year-to-year and really puts into context the kind of good job that Kevin Cassese is doing down in the valley.
The Minutemen were barely behind Lehigh in terms of improvement. In 2011, Massachusetts held a 1.69 adjusted efficiency margin, improving that value to 14.19 in 2012. That's basically an average team becoming an exemplary one in just an offseason's time. The 12.50 value improvement is stark, and with the losses that the Minutemen will sustain due to graduation, the team is going to have to really work in the fall to keep its place among the top of the country in terms of production.
Honorable Mention: Loyola and Colgate, who, respectively, ranked third and fifth in terms of efficiency margin improvement.
COLLEGE CROSSEPOSTSEASON AWARD III: ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FIELD OF "AAAARRRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!"
Winner: Kevin Warne, Maryland
COLLEGE CROSSE POSTSEASON AWARD IV: ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FIELD OF PERFECT MALPRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Winner: Matt Reyes-Guerra-Dunn, Colgate
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* Likelihood on that is small to immeasurable.
College Crosse will distribute more awards as the week progresses. Feel the joy, everyone.