Eulogizing the 2012 College Lacrosse Season: (55) Holy Cross

You spent the better part of four months meticulously dissecting the 2012 college lacrosse season. You shouldn't stop now because cold turkey is a bad way to go through life, man. College Crosse is providing decompression snapshots of all 61 teams and their 2012 campaigns, mostly because everything needs a proper burial.

I. VITAL SIGNS

Team: Holy Cross Crusaders

2012 Record: 5-10 (0-6, Patriot)

2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 0.12 (33)

2011 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -1.13 (45)

Winning Percentage Change from 2011: +20.00%

2012 Efficiency Margin: -10.50 (55)

Efficiency Margin Change from 2011: +1.87

II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT

  • There isn't anything in particular that sticks out about Holy Cross in 2012 compared to 2011, and that's not necessarily a bad thing (although this was still a pretty bad team). For the Crusaders, everything barely lifted evenly (even if most things are still toward the bottom of the country), which is impressive in a year where Holy Cross needed to play a more difficult schedule than in 2011 and still managed to notch a few more wins in the overall. (A mid- to late-season skid in the Crusaders' Patriot League slate ultimately took the shine off of a 4-4 start to the year.) Any overall improvement is good improvement, and Jim Morrissey -- if 2012's effort is to be believed -- seems to be putting Holy Cross on the right track in what is going to be another bare-knuckle brawl in the Patriot League in 2013. The Crusaders weren't the most improved team from 2011 to 2012, but in their circumstances they did a nice job. (Especially when you consider that this team was comprised of eight more underclassmen than upperclassmen and Morrissey mixed and matched his experience throughout the year (although seeing generally heavier production and action from his upperclassmen).)

III. "YOU'RE GROUNDED UNTIL YOU QUALIFY FOR THE AARP!" FACT

  • Here's a great way to lose eight of your last ten games: Play like a bonehead. For the last two seasons, Holy Cross has been genius in terms of causing their own problems, primarily in the context of taking penalties and playing in man-down situations all the damn time. In 2012, no team committed more penalties per possession than the Crusaders and only one squad played with a disadvantaged personnel imbalance more than Holy Cross. When you combine this with the fact that the Crusaders were absolutely miserable at keeping opponents from converting with the extra attacker (only three teams in the country were worse than Holy Cross), you start to see how one little stupid thing multiplies until you have so much stupid on your hands that you can't control it and sweet release is only a bullet and a Saturday Night Special away.

IV. MR. FIX-IT HAS A ONE-FIX ENGAGEMENT, AND IT'S . . .

  • If the Crusaders aren't going to stop committing infractions, it better become the best damn man-down team you've ever seen because the team's proclivity for making sure the penalty clock is working properly is wrecking any chance for Holy Cross to win more than a handful of lacrosse games. On the season, no team in the country saw its opponents rely on the extra-man situation to generate goals more than the Crusaders' foes. Just over 23 percent of the goals scored against Holy Cross this season occurred when the Crusaders' opponents had the extra attacker (that's 12 percent higher than the national average). The alternative to becoming man-down animals in order to try and stem this tide is, of course, to stop taking penalties. It's up to the guys in purple and white and jousting helmets to make the decision, I guess.

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