CONCORD, NC - MAY 27: Members of the U.S. All Army Color Guard look on during pre-race activities prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 27, 2012 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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: Army Black Knights
2012 Record: 7-8 (4-2, Patriot)
2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 1.09 (20)
2011 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -1.07 (45)
Winning Percentage Change from 2011: -13.33%
2012 Efficiency Margin: 2.40 (24)
Efficiency Margin Change from 2011: -2.40
II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT
- You know Garrett Thul, third team All-America and tactical nuclear weapon in Joe Alberici's offense. The rising senior had a tremendous 2012 campaign after spending the early part of his career as a supporting member of the Jeremy Boltus Experience. He remains one of the nation's finest finishers and -- most importantly -- may have scored the goal of the year against Navy at Michie Stadium:
PEW! PEW! PEW! <--- Number of Navy defensive souls that Garrett Thul killed in one goal.
III. "YOU'RE GROUNDED UNTIL YOU QUALIFY FOR THE AARP!" FACT
- Look: Army wasn't exactly the most efficient offense in the country in terms of canning the bean at a decent rate. The Black Knights finished the season ranked 41st in the country in raw offensive shooting rate at 27.39 percent; only two players that registered at least 20 shots on the season -- Connor Hayes (32.1) and Andrew Boyd (43.3.) -- managed to hold an individual shooting percentage above 30 percent. That's . . . well, military tanks aren't built to knock out windows; they're built to knock out the buildings that hold the windows in place. Overall, this wasn't a gigantic issue for Army -- the team did finish the year ranked 31st in adjusted offensive efficiency. That isn't too bad. It's more a function of how the Black Knights were making their bones on offense: This was an offense built around heavy usage from Thul (which, given his ability to scorch the earth of Army's opponents, isn't a silly approach) and getting sharp one-on-one action from guys like John Glesener and Devin Lynch. This isn't to say that the Black Knights didn't try and get momentum from the dodge and off-ball looks, it's just that the team didn't really rely on it much to generate goals -- Army's offensive assist rate only ranked 46th in the country last season. This was a team that got a significant number of their tallies from individual effort, and given the difficulty of finishing shots at an efficient rate in those scenarios, it's not all that surprising that the Black Knights struggled to shoot the ball last year. A little more offensive unity from Army probably would have pushed that raw offensive shooting rate much higher.
IV. MR. FIX-IT HAS A ONE-FIX ENGAGEMENT, AND IT'S . . .
- Find a replacement for Zach Palmieri. The loss of Tim Henderson to graduation is going to sting Army's defensive posture (that tends to happen when you lose a tiger that liked to kill and eat everything in sight because, well, it's a damn tiger), but given the importance of a solid ball stopper in a conference that is ripe with goal scorers, the Black Knights need to find a guy that can match what Tommy Palesky was able to pull off between the pipes. Sam Somers -- a cat that saw spot duty last season -- looks poised to step into the crease for Army in 2013 but he's going to need to sharpen his game if the Black Knights hope to break up the Lehigh-Colgate duo that appears to have a lock on the league next season.