Apr 1, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; St. Johns Red Storm midfield Connor Mullen (21) during the first quarter against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at the Big City Classic at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O'Connor-US PRESSWIRE
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: St. John's Red Storm
2012 Record: 8-7 (3-3, Big East)
2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 0.39 (30)
2011 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 1.67 (15)
Winning Percentage Change from 2011: +24.76%
2012 Efficiency Margin: -1.84 (36)
Efficiency Margin Change from 2011: -3.94 (47)
II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT
- I should write about Jeff Lowman here, but I'm not going to do it. Sorry, Jeff Lowman; you were a mountain of winning this past season -- both in the record book and at Golden Corral -- but your work this season is being subordinated to another fact: St. John's performance in extra-man scenarios was happy fun time. Nationally, the Johnnies played the sixth-most offensive possessions with the personnel imbalance in their favor; on those possessions the Red Storm soared, holding a 44.26 conversion percentage and the fourth-heaviest reliance on extra-man tallies in the country. The Johnnies were given plenty of opportunities to play with an extra attacker and executed, not entirely because they needed to in order to score but because they were so efficient in those circumstances. Terence Leach's 11 man-up goals this season is probably the most notable subtext to the Johnnies' ability to make things happen with the personnel imbalance in their favor. They were basically the anti-Wagner in 2012, which is good for several reasons (including, but not limited to, not actually being Wagner).
III. "YOU'RE GROUNDED UNTIL YOU QUALIFY FOR THE AARP!" FACT
- Given where St. John's has been and where it is right now, it probably isn't all that fair to throw a Molotov cocktail at their lacrosse office window. However, the Johnnies weren't especially fun to watch this past year (despite the fact that the team played seven games that were decided by two or fewer goals). When all was said and done, the Red Storm finished 42nd in the Fun Factor rankings (which basically measures a team's competitiveness against their pace of play and explosiveness). That's . . . well, there are times when nodding and moving on is an appropriate response to an argument that posits that trench warfare is subtle and sophisticated. Only 10 teams played slower than the Johnnies in 2012 and more than half of the country shot the ball better than St. John's. You can be the guy that wins the bar brawl with a tire iron or the guy that uses a kind of judo that may not even be invented yet; either way, victory is going to happen, but the vehicle for success often clouds the end result.
IV. MR. FIX-IT HAS A ONE-FIX ENGAGEMENT, AND IT'S . . .
- Just let all of those young pups develop. Jeff Lowman returns to the cage for St. John's in 2013 -- he'd be the conference's best goalie if John Kemp weren't breaking hearts in South Bend -- and four of the team's top six scorers will also return (including rising juniors Kevin Cernuto and Kieran McArdle). If Jason Miller can continue to keep the program on the trajectory that it's on, the Johnnies can really make the Big East a demolition derby of fantastic wrecks and smashes.