PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 11: The Navy Midshipmen march off the field before the game against the Army Black Knights on December 11 2010 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. (Photo by Hunter Martin/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: Navy Midshipmen
2012 Record: 6-6 (3-3, THUNDERDOME!)
2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 0.86 (25)
2011 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -0.10 (30)
Winning Percentage Change from 2011: 19.23%
2012 Efficiency Margin: 3.58 (19)
Efficiency Margin Change from 2011: +6.52
II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT
- The Naval Academy had a bunch of nothing on the line when it met Hopkins at the end of April: The Mids were already eliminated from participating in the Patriot League Tournament and the NCAA Tournament wasn't going to be a reality unless half of the nation's programs were poisoned with strychnine. With that as a backdrop, it was anticipated that Johns Hopkins would come into Annapolis and administer a drubbing. So, of course, Navy lost its mind and beat Hopkins with a tire iron to the tune of an 8-2 drubbing at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. It was just the second time in 39 meetings that Navy beat their long-time rivals from Baltimore; it was also the lowest goal output from the Jays since a 7-1 loss to Princeton in 1966 (and the fewest goals scored against Navy since 1925). RJ Wickham deserved a bronze star for his effort between the pipes, stopping 18 shots, scooping up three groundballs, and generally playing like the fate of existence rested on whether he would turn away attempts from the Jays. (Science has proved that this was true. We all owe Wickham a debt of gratitude.) It was a perfect ending to the Midshipmen's odd season, a year that saw deep lows (a loss to Jacksonville in Florida) and a peaked high (a 12-11 defeat of Colgate in Hamilton).
III. "YOU'RE GROUNDED UNTIL YOU QUALIFY FOR THE AARP!" FACT
- When you have two offensive weapons like Sam Jones and Tucker Hull, you need to maximize the number of possessions that those guys are given to operate. The Naval Academy struggled at making that happen. On the year, only 11 teams played at a larger possession gap than the Mids. That almost three possession disparity was a big factor in Navy's ability to hang around and make things happen; had they gotten at least average play from the dot, the team's possession margin mark would have moved to the positive end -- about half a possession -- and allowed Hull and Jones to push the outcome of games rather than relying on Wickham to control the momentum of the game. Logan West -- the Mids' primary face-off specialist -- was a major factor in Navy's season, even if he only registered four points on the season: His 41.6 success rate on the whistle drove a lot of Navy's ability (and inability) to control the game.
IV. MR. FIX-IT HAS A ONE-FIX ENGAGEMENT, AND IT'S . . .
- Rick Sowell needs to find a netminder for next season as well as a face-off specialist to fill the voids of Wickham and West. These aren't easy things to quickly address and may serve as warts in 2013 unless folks come to the fore. Navy has the opportunity to take another big step forward from its disastrous 2011 campaign, but a big factor in whether the Mids continue to improve is whether they can find consistency at the dot and between the pipes.