Eulogizing the 2013 College Lacrosse Season: (34) Colgate

Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE

The Raiders fell back after a charmed 2012 season.

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: Colgate Raiders

2013 Record: 8-7 (3-3, Patriot)

2013 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -0.10 (29)

2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 2.14 (9)

Winning Percentage Change from 2012: -24.44%

2013 Efficiency Margin: -2.29 (34)

Efficiency Margin Change from 2012: -11.24

II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT

  • In a year of transitioning from the highest reaches of Division I lacrosse, Colgate managed to pull together eight wins, a decent effort considering that the team's performance over its 15 games in 2013 projected only about six-and-a-half victories for the program. That overachievement is notable (even if the Raiders failed to beat a team with at least a .500 record), but there's something else about Colgate's effort last season that sticks out and deserves a free petting zoo trip (with balloons, duh): The Raiders saw the leveraged emergence of a handful of offensive weapons to complement first team All-Destruction member, Peter Baum. Now, the Raiders were a step behind where they were in 2012 on the offensive end (these things happen), but the contributors that surrounded Baum in 2013 -- The Dump Truck (Ryan Walsh), Brendon McCann, Jimmy Ryan, Matt Clarkson, etc. -- bode well for an offense that is going to need to deal with the graduation of Baum (the Raiders' centerpiece and primary cog) in 2014. The fact that these players were able to step forward and did so fairly well helped create a bridge for Colgate into the coming season, something many programs fail to achieve when they lose exceptional talent that serves a power plant function over a period of years. When you look at this quartet (and even further), you can see the adoption of additional responsibility and the platform it creates for the Raiders, soon to enter an era without the services of one of the most dynamic offensive players to pull on the maroon and white. This isn't scavenging for a positive in a season that otherwise didn't have the volition that many thought it would at the sunrise of the Raiders' campaign; this is potential evidence of a leveraged offensive model that could work out well for Colgate down the line, which isn't a bad thing if it comes to fruition. In essence, the Raiders didn't receive a Tewaaraton-worthy season from Peter Baum and still managed to finish among the meaty middle of the nation; that's a "problem" that many programs would like to have.

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

  • Well, there's Colgate's drop off from 2012 to 2013:

    COLGATE'S REGRESSION: 2012-2013
    METRIC 2013 2012
    Pythagorean Win Expectation 44.14% (34) 70.56% (7)
    Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 29.06 (38) 36.41 (4)
    Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 31.35 (33) 27.47 (17)
    Adjusted Efficiency Margin -2.29 (34) 8.95 (7)
    That isn't a first-line issue to me; these types of regressions tend to happen to programs that touch the face of the hyper-elite without having a long, established tradition at that particular pay grade. The key for programs of that ilk is to mitigate cyclical progressions and regressions, spinning gleefully (and unintentionally) back to the same position after the cycle is done. The idea here is, of course, growth: Building toward the exceptional, taking greater steps forward than in reverse. A part of Colgate's ceiling limitation in 2013 -- these are pursuit inhibitors, and they usually take time to resolve -- was the Raiders' uneven play within the crease: After a season in which Colgate struggled with netminding (due to physical limitations, among other things), the program followed it up with another effort between the pipes that couldn't sustain the Raiders' defensive hopes. Conor Murphy, a junior keeper, saw the bulk of the action in the crease for Colgate, but Gordon Santry and Jake Danehy saw significant time in the net as well (especially for Danehy late in the season). The aggregated statistical profile of the performances were less than spectacular: Seeing very few shots per defensive opportunity (just under a shot an opportunity, a mark that ranked ninth nationally), opposing offenses shot 30.80 percent against the group (51st in the country) while holding just a 46.98 save percentage (58th nationally) and generating saves on just 26.52 percent of the team's defensive opportunities (62nd nationally). Now, this isn't all on Colgate's crop of netminders (there are esoteric relationships between goalie performance and the field defense that supports crease play), but the performances put on between the pipes for the Raiders was a significant driver in the team's overall ability to keep the opponent's side of the scoreboard from blinking. This remains a concern for Colgate, and its resolution isn't crystal clear.

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

  • Step 1: Get consistent goalkeeping. Step 2: ???? Step 3: Profit.
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