Eulogizing the 2013 College Lacrosse Season: (62) Wagner

The Seahawks put together another one-win season, but what did this one-win season look like?

You spent the better part of four months meticulously dissecting the 2013 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 63 teams and their 2013 campaigns, mostly because everything needs a proper burial.

I. VITAL SIGNS

Team: Wagner Seahawks

2013 Record: 1-12 (0-5, NEC)

2013 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -6.53 (63)

2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -5.79 (61)

Winning Percentage Change from 2012: +0.55%

2013 Efficiency Margin: -18.54 (62)

Efficiency Margin Change from 2012: +7.46

II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT

  • Look: Wagner was arguably one of the three worst teams in the nation last season. The Seahawks have been at the bottom of the college lacrosse hierarchy for as long as people have been willing to acknowledge the existence of Wagner as a Division I lacrosse team and not an abstract form of performance art that barely makes sense in sophisticated underground communities. However, the Seahawks, compared to their effort in 2012, were actually improved over a year ago despite the fact that the team's overall win-loss record didn't substantially change. The team's offense generated about five more goals on a 100-possession basis (adjusted for competition faced) compared to 2012; the Seahawks' defense yielded about three fewer goals over a 100-possession basis (adjusted for competition faced). There are secondary metrics that illustrate how Wagner improved in these high-level measures, but they're not as important as the big takeaway in the overall -- Wagner was a better team in 2013 than they were in 2012 (but still bad). For Matt Poskay, this is an important development (even though he's probably still steaming about the Seahawks' actual results this past spring): Wagner is in the conversation as being the toughest place in Division I lacrosse to win, but the Seahawks saw sparks of improvement in just one year (even if Wagner still ranked toward or at the bottom of the country in overall offensive and defensive performance). For a program that has had its face stomped in year after year, this is a nice thing to remember as Poskay enters his third season as the head of the school's lacrosse concern.

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

  • A bunch of teams unloaded a cannon directly into Wagner's face this season (four of Wagner's losses were by 10 goals or more; eight were by five goals or more), but three of the Seahawks' defeats were by only a goal -- Mercer (11-12); Manhattan (11-12); and Quinnipiac (10-11). How different would the Seahawks' season have looked if they did a better job at taking care of the little things that often determine results, especially in close games? Wagner was 60th in team faceoff percentage (36.65 percent); 58th in clearing rate (80.26 percent); 53rd in turnovers per 100 offensive opportunities (50.63); 43rd in unforced turnovers per 100 offensive opportunities (24.30); 51st in caused giveaways per 100 offensive opportunities (26.33); 47th in run-of-play groundball rate margin (-2.91 per 100 total opportunities) -- all of this against a schedule ranked dead last in the nation. Bad teams tend to have profiles that show poor performance in these metrics; these metrics, connectedly, tend to have strong impact on a team's overall success factors. Wagner improved in some of these areas compared to 2012, but there's still a long way to go for the Seahawks. Combined with the team's dreadful defensive performance this season -- I'm not sure there was a worse defensive team in the nation -- these little things exacerbated already prominent problems for the Seahawks.

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

  • Like last year -- everything. Again, there's hope on Staten Island based on the team's small improvements from 2012 to 2013, but this is still a huge rehabilitation job for Matt Poskay. Bringing on a full-time assistant should help, but the Seahawks are still bleeding in a lot of bad places. Wagner's performance places the Seahawks among the absolute bottom of the nation, and that's a tough hole to climb out of, even with an extra body on the payroll. A two-win campaign from Wagner in 2014 would just about make brains leak out of my ears, and I welcome the possibility of it happening if the team continues to show small sparks of development.
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