America East Lacrosse Tournament Preview: UMBC-Hartford

Get your face ready for Retrievers-UMBC.

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 America East Tournament.

The America East Conference has two preferred positions: (1) Being Albany; (2) Being one of the two teams that doesn't have to play Albany in the league's tournament semifinals. Congratulations, Hartford and UMBC! You won the standings lottery!

THE COMPUTING MACHINE SAYS

Log5: UMBC (47.23%); Hartford (52.77%)

DOSSIERS

America East Tournament: UMBC (3) vs. Hartford (2)
UMBC RETRIEVERS HARTFORD HAWKS
OPPORTUNITIES/TEMPO
Pace 70.22 (10) 71.68 (7)
Opportunities Margin +1.38 (23) -2.84 (52)
Possession Ratio 50.98% (23) 48.02% (51)
Functional Offensive Opportunities per 60 Minutes 32.73 (13) 31.04 (29)
Functional Offensive Opportunities Ratio 91.42% (42) 90.18% (52)
Functional Defensive Opportunities per 60 Minutes 31.42 (41) 34.49 (59)
Functional Defensive Opportunities Ratio 91.29% (22) 92.58% (40)
Lost Functional Offensive Opportunities per 60 Minutes 13.91 (51) 11.98 (28)
Lost Functional Offensive Opportunities Ratio 42.49% (45) 38.61% (20)
Lost Functional Defensive Opportunities per 60 Minutes 13.06 (23) 12.52 (32)
Lost Functional Defensive Opportunities Ratio 41.56% (27) 36.30% (52)
Lost Functional Opportunities Margin -0.85 (44) +0.54 (25)
Lost Functional Opportunities Margin Ratio -0.92% (36) -2.31% (40)
ADJUSTED EFFICIENCIES
Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 30.40 (32) 29.08 (41)
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 34.88 (51) 32.19 (38)
Adjusted Efficiency Margin -4.48 (42) -3.11 (38)
SHOOTING
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 1.02 (47) 1.12 (26)
Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 30.61% (18) 26.84% (34)
Shots per Defensive Opportunity 1.06 (25) 1.09 (28)
Raw Defensive Shooting Rate 32.91% (62) 29.11% (43)
ASSISTS
Offensive Assist Ratio 56.16% (36) 65.19% (5)
Offensive Assist Rate 17.60 (28) 19.64 (16)
Defensive Assist Ratio 58.97% (43) 49.35% (6)
Defensive Assist Rate 20.54 (51) 15.67 (23)
EXTRA-MAN RATES
Extra-Man Postures per 100 Offensive Opportunities 8.37 (55) 8.26 (58)
Extra-Man Posture Reliance 10.27% (47) 8.15% (60)
Extra-Man Posture Conversion Rate 38.46% (18) 29.73% (48)
Man-Down Postures per 100 Defensive Opportunities 11.83 (46) 9.69 (19)
Man-Down Posture Reliance 10.90% (27) 12.99% (42)
Man-Down Posture Conversion Rate 32.08% (24) 42.55% (56)
MISCELLANEOUS
Penalties per 100 Opportunities (Team) 6.35 (45) 5.36 (28)
Penalties per 100 Opportunities (Opponent) 5.03 (44) 4.07 (62)
Caused Turnovers per 100 Defensive Opportunities (Team) 20.09 (42) 19.59 (46)
Caused Turnovers per 100 Defensive Opportunities (Opponent) 21.89 (32) 20.54 (22)
Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities (Team) 47.42 (44) 44.64 (29)
Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities (Opponent) 46.65 (23) 41.03 (50)
Unforced Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities (Team) 25.54 (50) 24.11 (40)
Unforced Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities (Opponent) 26.56 (8) 21.44 (44)
Team "Run-of-Play Work Rate" (Non-Faceoff Groundballs per 100 Total Opportunities) 23.74 (56) 22.83 (58)
Opponent "Run-of-Play Work Rate" (Non-Faceoff Groundballs per 100 Total Opportunities) 26.91 (28) 25.72 (21)
"Run-of-Play Work Rate" Margin -3.17 (49) -2.89 (46)
GOALIE ACTIVITY
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 28.35 (56) 32.99 (34)
Saves per 100 Offensive Opportunities 33.48 (33) 35.27 (40)
Team Save Percentage 44.88% (62) 50.96% (43)
Opponent Save Percentage 51.66% (25) 53.92% (36)

THOUGHTS AND STUFF

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

  • This is a manageable spot for the Retrievers. The last meeting between the two teams went to overtime -- a 15-14 victory for the Hawks -- but that's not why UMBC has a solid chance to move on to the league's Saturday final: Possession margin should move in the Retrievers favor (due to stronger play at the dot) and the Retrievers' troubles with clearing the ball may not become too much of an issue against the Hawks. The extra offensive opportunities should allow UMBC to insulate its troublesome defense against overexposure (it has been the Retrievers problem all season in a myriad of ways, including finding consistency between the pipes (Wes DeRito has assumed control of the crease, but he's only holding a 46.4 save percentage) and in the field defense as a whole (just look at that defensive assist rate and the rate at which UMBC kills functional defensive opportunities)), but it does an additionally important thing -- the possession margin creates a safety net for UMBC's lack of ball protection. The Retrievers rank in the bottom third in the country with respect to functional offensive possessions that are lost via a turnover; in totem (regardless of posture), UMBC ranks 44th in turnovers per 100 total possessions (a significant portion of which are of the unforced variety). This is shotgun-aimed-at-foot territory, but possession margin -- that beautiful instance of lacrosse uniqueness -- allows for the Retrievers to move past its metal errors and rely on volume to work its magic. Hartford doesn't generate a lot of turnovers nor does it see its opponents spit the bit with the bean all that much, so a little more care from UMBC in valuing possession could merit large returns.
  • This is where Hartford needs to get its offense going. Kevin O'Shea, Rory Nunamacher, and Jack Bobzien are at the Hawks' core to create offense, but Hartford has struggled this season to generate tallies on an efficient basis following the departures of Carter Bender and Ryan Compitello. (You probably missed it, but the Hawks rolled with one of the strongest offenses in the country last season, sharing the ball with aplomb and picking corners all over the place. Unfortunately, the team's defense took a bit of the shine off of Hartford's offensive diamond.) This problem has been exacerbated by a straightforward fact (other than that the team is shooting around 27 percent as a whole and that its core of shooters -- O'Shea, Nunamacher, Jared Franze, and Andrew Cacchio -- aren't raising that rate (the foursome has combined for about 57 percent of Hartford's total attempts and is connecting on 27 percent of their shots): The Hawks' have struggled to give its offense -- which needs volume to make the scoreboard blink -- enough possessions keep things close (the team is playing at a possession deficit this season of almost three opportunities). The culprit here for Harford isn't necessarily poor faceoff play (where this issue finds its genesis for many teams), but rather in how the Hawks take advantage of their opportunities to generate offense -- only seven teams clear the ball at a rate worse than the Hawks' 81.97 percent mark. If Hartford had cleared at the national average this season, that's 10 more opportunities for the Hawks to conduct a functional offensive possession; at the team's efficiency rate, that's three more goals on the board. That doesn't sound like a lot, but when you flip the narrative -- those failed clears leading to extra opportunities for the opposition to score -- things begin to focus: There are potentially three goals that come off the board, leading to a plus-six situation for the Hawks. Hartford is -19 on the season, and a potential six-goal swing is the possible difference between a few wins and losses this season (the Hawks are 5-3 in games decided by three goals or less; in two of the losses -- against Stony Brook and Massachusetts -- Hartford cleared at well below the national average (82.35 and 81.25 percent, respectively)). The Hawks can't let these opportunities pass them by against the Retrievers. UMBC's defense is beatable -- and Hartford is capable of putting a hurt on it -- but the question remains whether the Hawks will create the opportunities necessary to throw a sufficient number of punches.
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