Eulogizing the 2012 College Lacrosse Season: (16) Yale

I'm a dog.

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: Yale Bulldogs

2012 Record: 11-5 (4-2, Yachting and Cardigan Conference)

2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 2.56 (7)

2011 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -1.45 (50)

Winning Percentage Change from 2011: -2.68%

2012 Efficiency Margin: 4.22 (16)

Efficiency Margin Change from 2011: +1.10

II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT

  • How do you play the nation's seventh-hardest schedule and still pull out 11 wins? Dylan Levings winning 63.2 percent of his draws helps. (As does having Matt Gibson on your roster, but that's a long story that involves covered wagons and a love for poutine.) On the year, Yale played almost four more offensive possessions per 60 minutes of play than their opponents, a mark that ranked the Elis sixth in the country in possession margin. Those extra offensive opportunities -- putting the ball in Matt Gibson's and Deron Dempster's stick so that they could create violence on the run -- allowed the Bulldogs to limit excessive exposure to their defense (which was pretty good in 2012 (the team's overall defensive efficiency was heavily attributable to the team's ability to generate turnovers) despite some uneven play from Jack Meyer in the net (the rising junior only held a 48.7 save percentage)) and let their offense shoulder the load. With the team only clearing at an average rate (39th nationally) and not really getting a lot out of the ride (49th nationally), it was Levings' work at the dot (and Cole Yeager to a lesser degree) that allowed Yale to push its offense out front and let it win games for the Bulldogs.

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

  • After a 5-8 campaign in 2009, Andy Shay has guided the Elis to three consecutive seasons of double digit wins. That's pretty impressive for a program that doesn't have a ton notable history in the books. (Even if that 2010 total wins figure is a bit misleading given the fact that Yale played only the 48th hardest schedule in the country.) What isn't impressive about Yale's 2012 effort? A four game losing streak that started with a horrible loss to Sacred Heart at home and dicey results against Brown, Stony Brook, and Penn (teams the Elis probably should've stomped but decided to bare-knuckle brawl). Elite programs aren't immune from getting themselves into difficult situations with inferior opponents, but you just don't see elite programs suffer through multi-game losing streaks (even if that losing streak was 75 percent attributable to playing three teams that were among the nation's best 12 or so teams). If Yale takes care of some business in that stretch they possibly don't need to win the Ivy League Tournament to make the NCAA show. That's the difference between Yale being "superior" and Yale being "very good."

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

  • Well, Ryan Polley -- the Elis' former defensive coordinator -- is off to The Hub to try and make lacrosse a thing at Boston University. Shay is going to need to replace the young savant and time is running fairly short with the academic year starting in a few weeks. If Yale hopes to break through to the upper echelon of the Ivy League and the nation, establishing itself as a consistent threat and not just a program going through a recent surge, a solid coaching staff -- both at the top and through the assistant ranks -- is an absolute must.

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