College Crosse's Midseason Lacrosse Awards (Part I)

Winslow Townson

Handing out hardware in important categories of human lacrosse achievement.

The college lacrosse season breached its halfway point this past weekend, and that's cause for an unnecessary celebration. Accordingly, College Crosse is prepared to give out the Internet's most important college lacrosse midseason awards ever considered in the entire scope of history: Really pointless ones concomitant with actually giving out midseason awards. Put on that top hat and monocle, friend; you're officially entering the most exclusive awards party this side of everywhere.

COLLEGE CROSSE AWARD I: ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FIELD OF MAKING ME WANT TO STAB THE COUCH
Winner: Canisius Golden Griffins

You have to give Canisius credit: Despite new rules designed to make the game go super fast and create tempo and pace, the Griffins have done that eye-roll thing that people do when they hear something that's so bonkers that simply doing a mouth-raspberry isn't condescending enough. On the season -- for the Griffs, seven games worth of lacrosse -- Canisius is playing just 59.43 possessions per 60 minutes of play. That's . . . that's an impressive level of trolling the rules committee. For perspective on this, last season's slowest team -- Hofstra -- played around 58 possessions per 60 minutes of play on an unadjusted basis.

So, congratulations to Canisius -- keep raging against the machine and don't let the man grind you down. Your diamond needs to shine, even if the glare makes me want to put it into a proton accelerator just to make things more interesting.

COLLEGE CROSSE AWARD II: ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FIELD OF BEING DROP-DEAD SEXY
Winner: Maryland Terrapins

The "Fun Factor" -- a stupid calculation that may or may not be useful -- attempts to rank teams based on a series of metrics -- overall competitiveness, the pace to which they play, and their ability to violently and efficiently make opposing goaltenders feel shame and seek therapy -- to determine which teams are the most fun to watch. Based on these tent poles, Maryland -- yes, that Maryland that finished eighth on the "Fun Factor" scale last year despite crawling all over the field in 2012 en route to the third-slowest pace in the nation -- is your midseason leader for most enjoyable team to watch. The Terrapins have been a monstrous force for most of the season, currently ranked fourth in adjusted efficiency margin and holding the second-highest offensive shooting rate in the land. The team's Pythagorean win expectation is among the strongest in the country at 79.65 percent (third nationally) and, most important of all, the Terrapins have a little giddy-up under the hood in 2013: Almost shockingly, Maryland is playing around 64 possessions per 60 minutes of play on an unadjusted basis, the 41st fastest mark in the country.

You're making me have strong emotional feelings about you, Maryland; given our strained relationship in the past, I'm not sure what this means but I'm willing to see where it goes.

COLLEGE CROSSE AWARD III: ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FIELD OF CRUSHING A GOALIE'S SOUL
Winner: Princeton-North Carolina, March 9, 2013

There always seems to be a game or two early in the season where two elite offenses meet and decide to detonate all the plastic explosives they've been carrying around just to see how much of the Earth they can demolish in one fit of uncontrollable joy. In the early part of the 2013 season, the Princeton-North Carolina meeting in Chapel Hill was that moment: Pitting Carolina's Death Squad of Death -- Joey Sankey, Jimmy Bitter, and Marcus Holman -- against Princeton's Hostile Takeover Firm -- Mike MacDonald, Tom Schreiber, and Jeff and Jake Froccaro -- college lacrosse witnessed the "KABOOM!" concomitant with eviscerating defenses and goalies without concern for collateral damage. In short, it was magnificent beauty. Carolina walked away with the 16-15 win, but both teams put on a display that deserves a Congressional citation for achievement in offensive art.

To wit:

  • Team Raw Offensive Efficiency: Princeton -- 45.45; North Carolina -- 42.11. The national average (on a raw unadjusted basis) hovers around 30.16 at this point in the season. We're talking about each of these teams pumping in more than 10 goals on a 100-possession basis than what your run-of-the-mill offense produces. And the Tigers and Tar Heels did it to each other in the same game.
  • Carolina assisted on 75 percent of their goals; Princeton provided a helper on 53.33 percent of their tallies. That's some beautiful lacrosse that was being played, creating opportunities all over the attack box -- at both ends of the field! -- and basically creating a circumstance where the goalies were being given wedgies because they were defenseless and weak. On a per-possession basis, the Tigers were generating about 24.24 assists per 100 possessions (which is nice), but the Tar Heels were going bonkers, generating about 31.58 assists per 100 offensive possessions. People helping people is a beautiful thing, especially when it results in goalies wanting to maul those people being helped.
  • Here's the best part of all of this offensive beauty: The game had a fluidity due to a lack of garbage play marring the flow of the contest. The teams played around 71 possessions on the day but the play was controlled: Princeton turned the ball over on less than 40 percent of their possessions and Carolina turned the ball over on only about 37 percent of their offensive opportunities. (Both marks rank below the national average of about 46 percent). The game was just two murderous offenses making the most of their offensive opportunities. I want to hug that situation forever and forever.

COLLEGE CROSSE AWARD IV: ACHIEVEMENT IN THE FIELD OF UNLOCKING MASTICATION ACHIEVEMENTS
Winner: VMI Keydets

A man has got to eat, right? And when he needs to eat, he needs to eat in dinosaur portions, correct?

College Crosse will give out more midseason awards as the week progresses.

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