NEC Lacrosse Tournament Preview: Quinnipiac-Robert Morris

Get your face ready for Bobcats-Colonials.

Every Division I tournament. Every team. College Crosse has it all on lockdown. Please send cookies and naptime. Today we're slashing to bits the NEC Tournament.

It's the darlings of the early portion of the 2013 college lacrosse season against a team that grabbed everybody's attention in 2012. The Bobcats have dramatically cooled since their 3-0 start to the year but were able to pivot back to a decent position during NEC play; Robert Morris hasn't quite built upon what it laid last year, but the Colonials have shown well in tempo-free metrics all season despite having some uneven efforts throughout the year (including losses to Dartmouth and Sacred Heart). A date in the conference tournament final is on the line this afternoon, and without punching that ticket, any hope for seeing the second weekend of May is out the window.

THE COMPUTING MACHINE SAYS

Log5: Quinnipiac (28.50%); Robert Morris (71.50%) (I think the computing machine is a lil' drunk.)

DOSSIERS

NEC Tournament: Quinnipiac (3) vs. Robert Morris (2)
QUINNIPIAC BOBCATS ROBERT MORRIS COLONIALS
OPPORTUNITIES/TEMPO
Pace 61.65 (27) 69.92 (11)
Opportunities Margin -1.21 (40) -3.31 (55)
Possession Ratio 49.01% (40) 47.63% (54)
Functional Offensive Opportunities per 60 Minutes 28.02 (52) 30.85 (31)
Functional Offensive Opportunities Ratio 92.71% (31) 92.61% (32)
Functional Defensive Opportunities per 60 Minutes 29.08 (20) 34.15 (58)
Functional Defensive Opportunities Ratio 92.51% (39) 93.28% (46)
Lost Functional Offensive Opportunities per 60 Minutes 12.38 (34) 13.00 (46)
Lost Functional Offensive Opportunities Ratio 44.17% (50) 42.14% (43)
Lost Functional Defensive Opportunities per 60 Minutes 12.60 (29) 16.85 (2)
Lost Functional Defensive Opportunities Ratio 43.34% (17) 49.32% (3)
Lost Functional Opportunities Margin +0.23 (34) +3.85 (1)
Lost Functional Opportunities Margin Ratio -0.83% (35) +7.18% (10)
ADJUSTED EFFICIENCIES
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 31.07 (23) 33.33 (14)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 36.78 (54) 29.33 (25)
Adjusted Efficiency Margin -5.72 (48) +4.00 (21)
SHOOTING
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 1.15 (20) 1.14 (23)
Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 28.32% (28) 31.38% (9)
Shots per Defensive Opportunity 1.26 (58) 1.00 (16)
Raw Defensive Shooting Rate 27.50% (27) 28.30% (37)
ASSISTS
Offensive Assist Ratio 68.46% (1) 58.06% (31)
Offensive Assist Rate 22.36 (7) 20.79 (13)
Defensive Assist Ratio 66.43% (60) 62.96% (52)
Defensive Assist Rate 22.95 (61) 17.86 (40)
EXTRA-MAN RATES
Extra-Man Postures per 100 Offensive Opportunities 8.79 (52) 9.01 (49)
Extra-Man Posture Reliance 9.23% (49) 12.26% (27)
Extra-Man Posture Conversion Rate 34.29% (32) 48.72% (3)
Man-Down Postures per 100 Defensive Opportunities 13.04 (53) 13.66 (59)
Man-Down Posture Reliance 14.69% (48) 12.59% (40)
Man-Down Posture Conversion Rate 38.89% (48) 26.15% (11)
MISCELLANEOUS
Penalties per 100 Opportunities (Team) 7.02 (53) 7.81 (61)
Penalties per 100 Opportunities (Opponent) 4.43 (58) 4.73 (50)
Caused Turnovers per 100 Defensive Opportunities (Team) 27.78 (9) 29.20 (4)
Caused Turnovers per 100 Defensive Opportunities (Opponent) 23.37 (40) 23.09 (38)
Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities (Team) 48.24 (47) 46.42 (41)
Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities (Opponent) 47.58 (20) 52.73 (8)
Unforced Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities (Team) 24.87 (47) 23.33 (32)
Unforced Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities (Opponent) 19.81 (52) 23.53 (29)
Team "Run-of-Play Work Rate" (Non-Faceoff Groundballs per 100 Total Opportunities) 32.39 (9) 32.45 (8)
Opponent "Run-of-Play Work Rate" (Non-Faceoff Groundballs per 100 Total Opportunities) 32.88 (57) 29.70 (47)
"Run-of-Play Work Rate" Margin -0.49 (31) +2.75 (20)
GOALIE ACTIVITY
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 44.69 (1) 30.04 (49)
Saves per 100 Offensive Opportunities 30.40 (11) 34.41 (37)
Team Save Percentage 56.40% (11) 51.44% (39)
Opponent Save Percentage 48.21% (13) 49.01% (15)

THOUGHTS AND STUFF

Two pieces of incredibly important information about each team from my brain to your eyes via your Internet computing machine:

  • I do not want Gill Conners' job. The crease monkey for Quinnipiac has seen more than his share of rubber this season -- only nine teams see their defense yield more shots per defensive opportunity than Quinnipiac's unit; no team has asked its goaltender to make more stops to end defensive opportunities than what the Bobcats have asked Conners to accomplish (almost 45 percent of the team's defensive opportunities have ended with a Conners stop, which is bonkers); only a small handful of teams have put their keeper in a position to stop as many difficult attempts on goal -- as indicated by the defensive assist rate value and the team's proclivity for attempting to create turnovers -- as Quinnipiac has this season; and Quinnipiac has put Conners in tons of situations where the netminder has needed to turn away shots with the personnel imbalance in the opposition's favor due to the Bobcats taking a significantly high rate of penalties. Yet, Conners -- a junior that transferred from Onondaga Community College -- has managed to survive and keep the Bobcats' overall defensive performance from residing in the absolute basement of the country (Quinnipiac's total defensive efficiency still isn't great, but what would the Bobcats' defensive profile look like without Conners between the pipes?). He's going to need to play to his potential against Robert Morris -- the Colonials' hectic style and ability to pick corners from a thousand points of spite is a netminder's nightmare -- and how Conners performs is going to dictate whether the Bobcats' can keep pace: The Bobcats have enough offense to knock the Colonials around a bit (it's not like Robert Morris has exceptional crease play), but the issue remains whether that offense can produce at a rate that erases a defensive performance that isn't always conducive to keeping the opponent off the board. Conners' play may be the biggest factor in all of that.
  • The Colonials remain one of Hoya Suxa's Children given how Drew McMinn has his guys play the game, but that's not what I want to write words about today. Rather, I'm more interested in this -- Quinnipiac's strength is on the offensive side of the field, but the Colonials are fantastic at killing functional defensive opportunities and are, in the overall, one of the nation's better takeaway teams. That kind of pressure can create some difficult circumstances for a keeper -- Charlie Ruppert doesn't hold an exemplary save percentage, partly due to how the Colonials play -- but it does do something important: It crushes the will of the opposition. The Bobcats don't value the ball as well as they should and are a strong candidate for dispossession via a caused turnover; this should play in the favor Robert Morris if the Colonials look to drop the hammer and get on everyone's hands all day. These lost opportunities for Quinnipiac puts extra pressure on its defensive unit to try and control the Colonials' strongest unit -- it's offense, a unit that can pick corners with the best in the country (and they get it from five guys -- Jake Hayes, Eric Rankel, Tyler Digby, Dave Morton, and Luke Laszkiewicz -- that all shoot above 33 percent). It's a defensive approach that creates offense for Robert Morris (both with respect to creating transition opportunities and at the broader level of simply providing offensive opportunities for a unit that can efficiently operate (when it isn't turning the ball over itself)), and it could exhibit itself strongly against Quinnipiac.
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