Eulogizing the 2013 College Lacrosse Season: (49) Quinnipiac

Hamden was a pretty happening place in 2013. Which is both a lie and a truth.

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: Quinnipiac Bobcats

2013 Record: 6-8 (3-2, NEC)

2013 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -3.05 (55)

2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -0.75 (42)

Winning Percentage Change from 2012: +21.43%

2013 Efficiency Margin: -6.46 (49)

Efficiency Margin Change from 2012: +4.65

II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT

  • Quinnipiac's offense was pretty sharp in 2013, even if it faced a schedule ranked just 52nd in opposing defenses faced. The Bobcats finished the season ranked 20th in adjusted offensive efficiency, this despite the fact that Quinnipiac had a touch of disgust for the bean (the team finished the year ranked 46th in turnovers per 100 offensive opportunities). There are a few aspects to the Bobcats' offense that made the team's effort on that end of the field full of rainbows and gumdrops falling from the sky (which, if true, would be frightening because an atmosphere full of candy is probably a signal that the end of existence is near): Quinnipiac wasn't a hyper accurate shooting team (the Bobcats' raw shooting rate of 28.92 percent ranked 25th nationally), but made up for that issue with a prodigious effort at sharing the ball, finishing the season ranked first in offensive assist ratio at 68.75 percent (the ratio of assisted goals to total goals scored) and fifth in assist rate at 22.40 (assists per 100 offensive opportunities); the team didn't rely on man-up situations to score the ball, generating just over nine percent of their total goals with the personnel imbalance in their favor; and Quinnipiac annihilated opposing goalkeepers, forcing opponents into a 48.01 save percentage (11th nationally) while seeing those netminders generate only about 30 saves for every 100 offensive opportunities that the Bobcats had (10th nationally). The Bobcats were solid on the offensive end in 2013, driven -- in large part -- by the quintet of Michael Sagl, Basil Kostaras, Pat Corcoran, Brendan Wilbur, and Matt Diehl. That group accounted for 67.27 percent of Quinnipiac's shots (and shot 28.06 percent as a group (that rate rises to 30.65 percent when you exclude Wilbur's 18.9 shooting percentage (gak!))), two-thirds of the team's assists, 65.28 percent of the team's total goals, and usage values that significantly dwarf the rest of the team's output (about 60 percent of the team's individual usage is concentrated in that quintet). All but Kostaras and Wilbur return to Quinnipiac in 2014, and the Bobcats have a nice core to build around for the upcoming season (especially if Dylan Webster and Jake Emms are ready to take a big step forward).

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

  • Here's the thing: The Bobcats finished the year ranked 54th in adjusted defensive efficiency and played a schedule that ranked just 54th in opposing offenses faced. Quinnipiac had a leaky defensive unit, forced to play slightly more defensive possessions than their opponents. This is a defense that needed to be protected, insulated, from non-preferential situations; instead, Quinnipiac put a level of pressure on itself to perform that was arguably unnecessary: Committing penalties at a rate that ranked 56th nationally, only eight teams played in more man-down postures per defensive opportunity than Quinnipiac did in 2013. Playing a lot of defensive opportunities with a personnel imbalance in the opponents' favor isn't necessarily a death blow (see, 2013 Duke), but for the Bobcats it was a disaster: Only four team's held a weaker man-down kill rate than Quinnipiac's 43.33 percent mark; opponents relied -- heavily -- on the Bobcats playing a man short, scoring over 16 percent of their goals against Quinnipiac with the extra attacker in their favor (57th nationally); and Gill Conners, an Onondaga Community College transfer that was terrific in net for Quinnipiac this past season, was put in a position to try and stop the bean in non-preferable circumstances, attempting to bend reality and make saves behind a defense that -- even in square scenarios -- was troublesome. In short, due to the Bobcats' overagressiveness, Quinnipiac helped weak offenses generate tallies (this was a team that had a pressure element to its defensive approach); the Bobcats made it easier for opponents to make the scoreboard blink.

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

  • It's time to see some sustained development from Quinnipiac. The Bobcats are moving to the MAAC in 2014, and if the program wants to continue to grow (something it did from 2012 to 2013), the team needs to start avoiding five-game losing streaks. Learning how to win (and to win consistently) is a difficult task for a maturing roster; turning the tide in one- and two-goal games is the difference between a program that is operating with a legacy of momentum and one that is working on putting that momentum in place. (In Quinnipiac's five-game skid, the team lost three consecutive one-goal games and followed up that streak with a two-goal loss to Binghamton.) This is as much a culture building pursuit as it is skill and game management development. Quinnipiac is close to having roster balance conducive to more sustained success; the Bobcats simply need to assume the responsibility of achievement.
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