Eulogizing the 2013 College Lacrosse Season: (32) Marist

The Red Foxes faded late, which ultimately was the team's death blow.

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: Marist Red Foxes

2013 Record: 10-4 (5-1, MAAC)

2013 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -4.93 (60)

2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -1.21 (43)

Winning Percentage Change from 2012: +28.57%

2013 Efficiency Margin: -0.34 (32)

Efficiency Margin Change from 2012: +2.68

II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT

  • There are teams that are possession-generating animals and then there are the teams that generate possessions and decimate the opposition with a greedy attitude that makes you wonder whether they're possessed by the simple existence of a rubberized ball. Marist was one of those teams in 2013, a hawkish group that both generated possession and dispossessed the opponent of the bean as if it was written in canonical law that the Red Foxes had a right to the property:

    MARIST'S "MINE! MINE! MINE!" MENTALITY
    METRIC VALUE RANK
    Opportunities per 60 Minutes Margin 3.69 8th
    Faceoff Percentage 53.12% 21st
    Clearing Percentage 90.07% 7th
    Riding Percentage 18.32% 4th
    Caused Turnovers per 100 Defensive Opportunities 27.89 8th
    Opponent Unforced Turnovers per 100 Defensive Opportunities 26.36 9th
    Opponent Turnovers per 100 Defensive Opportunities 54.25 3rd
    I love that relationship: Marist did an excellent job at generating functional offensive opportunities (opportunities that inured to an offensive unit that finished the season ranked 26th in adjusted offensive efficiency (and had the opportunity to attack a schedule of defenses that ranked just 59th in the nation)) and killed their defensive postures -- and opportunities that could have become functional defensive postures -- through an aggressive approach to dispossessing the opponent (and having the opponent chuck the bean into the seats). There's value in all of this, especially when you consider that the 50 failed clears that Marist's opponents suffered through took somewhere around 15 goals off the board for those opponents and put about the same number of tallies on the scoreboard for the Red Foxes (this is based on Marist's adjusted offensive and defensive values, which is a noise-filled methodology but fine enough for a rough estimate). That's a notable swing in game momentum, and considering that the Red Foxes were already playing with possession in their favor, it allowed the Red Foxes to build sustainable cushions and stay in a competitive position in close games. (Incidentally, Marist was about a three-win overachiever in 2013 based on their Pythagorean win expectation; you can make a decent argument that this offensive possession-generating and defensive possession-killing relationship fed significantly into that overachievement.)

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

  • For all the good that Marist accomplished this season -- a 10-win campaign despite only putting together performances that expected around seven victories; a MAAC regular season championship and the first overall seed in the league tournament; important wins over Towson, Stony Brook, and Siena, etc. -- the Red Foxes engaged in activity that should come with a slap upside the head: A season-ending fade that took the shine off of Marist's diamond. It's not just that Marist seemingly lost its volition at the end of April and early May; it's that the Red Foxes fell apart against two opponents it should have annihilated:

    MARIST'S DUBIOUS EXIT FROM 2013
    OPPONENT MARIST'S CHANCE OF VICTORY FINAL SCORE
    Manhattan 73.09% 12-14 (L)
    Detroit 63.62% 6-7 (L)
    Marist had already took a boot to Detroit's face earlier in the season (an 11-8 victory for the Red Foxes) and the Jaspers were a woeful 3-11 before meeting Marist (the three victories came against Lafayette, Mercer, and Wagner, three of the weakest teams in the nation). The Red Foxes spit the bit at the least optimal time in their season, something that kept Marist from its second NCAA Tournament appearance ever (the Red Foxes last made The Big Barbecue in 2005, but that iteration of Marist lacrosse wasn't as strong as the 2013 version). The Red Foxes were the class of the MAAC all season long, and wasted a beautiful opportunity to achieve something valuable; 12 games of effort -- the long slough through February, March, and most of April -- yielding only thoughts of what could have been for a program that asserted itself as a dangerous marker in the Division I landscape.

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

  • Marist is losing a ton of contributors going into 2014. The Red Foxes' roster featured 13 (!) seniors last season, and the vast majority of them were valuable to the Marist universe: Connor Rice, Jack Doherty, Jim Marks, Aedan Herman, Patrick Wall, T.J. McDermott, Ethan Fox, Mike O'Hagan, and Matt Dugan. That's a lot of starts and a lot of cogs to replace. Turnover and transition is going to be a major issue for Keegan Wilkinson entering 2014, and focus needs to be on building responsibility cores, assigning roles, and establishing deep leadership due to the large void left by the Red Foxes departing senior class. It's not quite learning how to get on and off the bus for Marist, but it is reestablishing how the program performs in a different kind of era for the program.
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