Eulogizing the 2013 College Lacrosse Season: (25) Stony Brook

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The Seawolves were close in 2013, but not close enough.

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: Stony Brook Seawolves

2013 Record: 7-9 (2-3, America East)

2013 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -1.33 (40)

2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 0.03 (35)

Winning Percentage Change from 2012: +2.57%

2013 Efficiency Margin: 1.59 (25)

Efficiency Margin Change from 2012: -1.77

II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT

  • This may create some cognitive dissonance -- and if so, don't feel bad: the Internet computing machine is really good at doing it -- but here's some truth earned through control of circumstances: Stony Brook, despite a sub-.500 overall record and a middling 2-3 effort in the America East, was one of the more interesting teams to watch in 2013. In fact, the Seawolves were arguably among the most fun dozen or so teams in the nation last season. This position is built on both Stony Brook's style of play and their actual performances, using foundational tent poles that I've planted as indicia of what creates fun and what doesn't (in function, the "Fun Factor" scale). Here's how the Seawolves stacked up in the scale at the close of the season:

    YOU CAN GO 7-9 AND BE FUN! I SWEAR!
    METRIC VALUE NT'L RANK
    Fun Factor 4.40 9
    Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 33.99 13
    Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 32.40 35
    Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 35.25% 2
    Pace 66.02 34
    Only Albany -- which finished second in the nation in the Fun Factor scale in 2013 -- ranked ahead of the Seawolves in the America East, something lost in the shuffle during Stony Brook's meandering season on Long Island's north shore. The Seawolves were an offensive juggernaut last year, finding residence among the nation's elite offensive clubs in so many offensive metrics that redundancy quickly accrues -- as a team and individually, the Seawolves chugged along, embarrassing opposing goaltenders and making the scoreboard blink with a sort of ebullience that is often forgotten when achieved outside the scope of Division I's most prominent conferences. I wouldn't go as far as to say that the Seawolves were as exciting or offensively capable as their peers in New York's capital region, but Stony Brook was competent and played a brand of lacrosse that was provocative enough to draw attention away from the four losses it suffered of two goals or less, anchors on the team's record and the likely reason that more people weren't devoting ink to how intriguing Stony Brook was throughout the year. There are aspects of team play that deserve attention paramount to wins and losses, and how the Seawolves played their 16 games in 2013 is proof of that.

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

  • This is what I wrote about Stony Brook last year:
    Here's a great way to ruin things: Have a great offense and never give it the damn ball. On the year Stony Brook drew at only 37.22 percent, a mark that ranked 58th in the country. / / This woeful effort on the whistle helped Stony Brook to the fifth-worst possession margin mark in the nation at an almost four possession deficit per 60 minutes of play. Had the Seawolves been able to draw at the national average -- around 50 percent -- Stony Brook actually moves into a positive possession position, about two extra opportunities per 60 minutes of play. That's pretty significant for a team that scored a goal on just about every third possession they'd have.
    This is what I'm going to write about Stony Brook in 2013: Here's a great way to ruin things: Have a great offense and never give it the damn ball. The Seawolves' biggest problem this past season was the same issue they encountered in 2012: A suffocating inability to generate possessions (but unlike 2012, the Seawolves added an additional degree of difficulty by failing to maximize opportunities to work in functional offensive possessions). This chart illustrates Stony Brook's underlying possession problems:

    STONY BROOK'S PERVASIVE POSSESSION PROBLEMS
    METRIC VALUE NT'L RANK
    Opportunities per 60 Minutes Margin -5.22 60
    Possession Ratio 46.05% 60
    Faceoff Percentage 40.43% 57
    Clearing Percentage 82.55% 55
    Ride Percentage 9.42% 58
    So, Stony Brook desperately wants to get the ball to its hyper-efficient offense that is loaded with tactical nuclear weapons like Jeff Tundo and Mike Rooney, but, instead, is crippled by the fact that: (1) the team got its teeth kicked in on the whistle; (2) when Stony Brook was able to generate a kill on the defensive end, they struggled to matriculate the ball up the field and promulgate a functional offensive possession; and (3) the team couldn't make up the possession gap due to the prior two points as the team wasn't a destructive force on the ride. This is the perfect storm of possession-starvation; I'm not sure that there are more than two teams in the nation that struggled at generating offensive opportunities quite like the Seawolves. This is just . . . catastrophic, especially because it (1) put extra pressure on an average defense to withstand decent offenses (Stony Brook faced a schedule ranked 27th in opposing offenses faced), and (2) denied a freakshow offense the opportunity to streak across the sky. These are bad factors that exacerbate themselves in the controlling circumstances; the fact that the Seawolves were able to stay as competitive as they were is almost shocking considering what they needed to overcome.

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

  • Possession-generation, possession-generation, possession-generation, possession-generation, possession-generation, possession-generation, possession-generation, possession-generation, possession-generation, stronger play from within the crease, possession-generation, possession-generation, possession-generation, possession-generation.

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