Eulogizing the 2012 College Lacrosse Season: (44) Mount St. Mary's

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: Mount St. Mary's Mountaineers

2012 Record: 6-9 (2-3, NEC)

2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -1.97 (49)

2011 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -1.06 (43)

Winning Percentage Change from 2011: -20.00%

2012 Efficiency Margin: -4.22 (44)

Efficiency Margin Change from 2011: -4.64

II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT

  • It's not an "Atta boy!" that I like to give, but it's one I'll give anyway: There were few teams in Division I that were as dedicated as The Mount in playing trench warfare masquerading as lacrosse. On the year: only four teams played fewer total possessions per 60 minutes of play than the Mountaineers; only nine teams exposed their defense to fewer defensive possessions per 60 minutes of play than the Mountaineers; only four teams saw their offense play fewer possessions per 60 minutes of play than the Mountaineers; only 10 teams turned the ball over less than the Mountaineers and only one team created fewer turnovers than the Mountaineers; and only nine teams fired more shots at the cage per offensive possession than the Mountaineers and only four teams exposed their defense to more opposing shots than the Mountaineers. Mount St. Mary's tried, and successfully achieved, a strategy of plodding blandness to insulate a desolate defense (and, for the most part, it kind of worked). Even though writing all those words makes me want to vomit, kudos to the Mountaineers for executing exactly as they desired: Boringly with a side of naptime.

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

  • The Mount's defense was a disaster. The Mountaineers didn't get much out of Chris Klaiber this season between the pipes, seeing the sophomore keeper hold only a 44.9 save percentage. It's not like the underclass goaltender was getting much help from his defense anyway, what with the Mountaineers' defense yielding the fifth-most shots per defensive possession in the country and failing to create turnovers on a per possession basis. This was a perfect storm of misery: Yielding tons of shots per defensive posture without a stopper in the back that could clean up the mess. Throw in a proclivity for letting opponents slice and dice to make the scoreboard blink (Mount St. Mary's ranked 51st nationally in defensive assist rate), and it's a minor a miracle that the Mountaineers were able to make it all the way to the NEC finals against Bryant.

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

  • This is a defense that needs to mature and get its act together. A quick glance at Mount St. Mary's roster illustrates that fact: There wasn't an upperclassmen with a goalie stick in his locker nor were there tons of upperclass depth on the defensive end of the field. It's not necessarily a bad thing to let opponents fire at will at the goal if they're doing so from non-preferential positions (Johns Hopkins has, in the past, made a living at this under Dave Pietramala); the issue comes when opponents are getting good looks (which was a major issue for The Mount in 2012). Stronger execution within the defense as a whole -- keeping an eye on off-ball play, rolling to the crease, etc. -- should cure some of Mount St. Mary's problems. As the defense matures, this should come around (hopefully) relatively naturally.

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