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: Hobart Statesmen
2012 Record: 4-9 (2-4, ECAC)
2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 2.92 (5)
2011 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 2.86 (3)
Winning Percentage Change from 2011: -4.95%
2012 Efficiency Margin: -3.98 (43)
Efficiency Margin Change from 2011: +3.09
II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT
- More than anything, Hobart simply survived this year. The schedule -- featuring Siena, Colgate, Robert Morris, Bucknell, Syracuse, and the entire ECAC slate (save Michigan) -- was brutal in 2012, ranking fifth overall in terms of aggregated opponent efficiency margin. For the Statesmen to pull out four wins is pretty impressive (even if those four wins came against teams that combined for a 20-32 record). Then there was goalie Peter Zonino, who saw just about as many shots as any keeper in the country (the Statesmen yielded about 1.2 shots per defensive possession, good for 58th nationally) and still managed to hold a 53.0 save percentage. (When all was said and done, only five teams saw more defensive possessions ended with a goalie save compared to Hobart. That's nuts, especially considering the fact that only one team played a schedule featuring better offensive opponents.) So, you could try and kill the Statesmen, but they just kept coming back for more punishment. Which, I guess, deserves credit?
III. "YOU'RE GROUNDED UNTIL YOU QUALIFY FOR THE AARP!" FACT
- The weird thing about survival is that it isn't definite. Everything is eventually going to die (except for our eventual Earth robot overloads; they will likely live forever). Hobart's defense was the biggest casualty for the Statesmen this season and the level of bloodshed wasn't even close. Taking penalties was an issue for Hobart on the season, both in volume and the number of defensive possessions that resulted in man-down situations (the Statesmen were in the bottom ten nationally in both metrics). With opponents rallying with the personnel imbalance (the reliance rate was among the heaviest third in the country), Hobart floundered. There were some other defensive issues running rampant, but the man-down stuff had a notable impact: As good as Zonino was in extended periods, you can't ask that guy to clear extra-man possessions and expect the defense to come out clean at a decent rate. And, in fact, that didn't happen in 2012 for Hobart.
IV. MR. FIX-IT HAS A ONE-FIX ENGAGEMENT, AND IT'S . . .
- Outside of the personnel imbalance issues, a real key for the Statesmen in 2013 is cleaning up its off-ball recognition. They have a backstop that should improve into one of the better keepers in the country; a little help out in front of him will go a long way. In 2012, only six teams saw their opponents generate tallies off the assist more than Hobart. That's . . . well, that's pretty terrible. Maturation, increase in depth, and a stronger level of execution in the defensive end to limit shots from preferential shooting positions will go a long way toward the Statesmen developing a defense that matches its emerging -- and relatively young with Alex Love and Cam Stone -- offense.