Eulogizing the 2013 College Lacrosse Season: (22) Hofstra

A three-game losing streak to end the Pride's season was all sorts of icky.

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: Hofstra Pride

2013 Record: 7-7 (2-4, THUNDERDOME!)

2013 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 0.92 (22)

2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 1.08 (21)

Winning Percentage Change from 2012: +7.14%

2013 Efficiency Margin: 3.10 (22)

Efficiency Margin Change from 2012: +0.81

II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT

  • A solid case can be made that Hofstra struggled with its shot selection this season, and while this strongly impacted the team's overall offensive efficiency in 2013 (the Pride ranked just 40th in adjusted offensive efficiency), Hofstra didn't exacerbate its problem in making the scoreboard blink by pitching away the bean with a carelessness. In fact, the Pride were fairly exceptional at limiting giveaways, allowing their offensive opportunities to gestate into fully functional possessions:

    I GOT SOME ICE CREAM, AND YOU AIN'T GOT NONE
    METRIC VALUE NT'L RANK
    Opponent Caused Turnovers per 100 Hofstra Offensive Opportunities 14.80 3
    Hofstra Unforced Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 23.15 33
    Hofstra Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 37.95 7
    Estimated Lost Functional Offensive Opportunities per 60 Minutes Ratio 32.47% 4
    There are two reasons why Hofstra's kung-fu grip on the bean was important for the Pride this past season: (1) The team, as noted, relied on volume to score, having trouble beating opposing goalkeepers (the Pride shot just 23.87 percent in 2013 (58th nationally); opposing netminders held a 58.42 save percentage against Hofstra (55th nationally); and opposing keepers generated saves on about 41 out of every 100 defensive opportunities against the Pride (59th nationally)); and (2) Hofstra didn't play many possessions per 60 minutes of play in 2013 (only about 59 per game, a mark that ranked second to last in the nation), and the Pride -- as a result of its responsibility with the ball -- didn't pitch away precious limited offensive opportunities. Taking care of the bean matters (even in the context of saved shots essentially operating as functional turnovers), and Hofstra did a really nice job of at least giving themselves an opportunity to create some offense (even if that offense wasn't as efficient as it could have been).

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

  • Hofstra had the look of one of the stronger teams in the country after going to Notre Dame and defeating the previously undefeated Irish in South Bend (this was an Irish team that had knocked off Duke, Penn State, and North Carolina in consecutive games before falling to the Pride at Arlotta). After the win over Notre Dame, Hofstra vaulted to ninth in the media poll (even I, a pragmatic conservative, moved the Pride up five spots to the 12th position) and 10th in the coaches tally -- basically, Hofstra had momentum in their favor. Then, as if Nassau County wasn't entitled to nice things, the Pride fell apart: A loss to St. John's in Queens took the shine off the Pride's diamond, a triple-overtime loss to Drexel four days later exacerbated the issue, and a remaining THUNDERDOME! campaign that featured only one win -- a shattering of St. Joseph's soul -- finished Hofstra off. It was a mind-bendingly difficult way for the Pride to go through its last month-and-a-half of play, the lingering stench of lost potential hovering above Hofstra's head. It was a virtual recreation of the Pride's 2012 THUDERDOME! campaign, an effort that saw Hofstra put together a 2-4 league record and defeating only Delaware and St. Joseph's. That's not even the scariest part of the Pride's completion to its 2013 season though; rather, it's that Hofstra was a favorite or in a competitively comparable position to its opponent in four of its last six losses (this is all based on year-end values):

    HOFSTRA'S LOST FORTUNES
    OPPONENT LOG5: HOFSTRA % OF VICTORY FINAL SCORE
    St. John's 49.48% 6-7 (L)
    Drexel 55.80% 7-8 (3OT) (L)
    Towson 55.05% 6-7 (L)
    North Carolina 29.64% 5-14 (L)
    Massachusetts 59.48% 8-9 (L)
    Penn State 43.73% 7-16 (L)
    Egad. If Hofstra takes care of business where it should/could have, the Pride's season could have been drastically different.

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

  • There's something about Hofstra in THUNDERDOME! play the last two seasons that just hasn't been right. It's not that the Pride's peers in the league were substantially stronger than Hofstra (in fact, Hofstra is still among the conference's better programs from high level); it's just that the Pride have faded the last two seasons when it needed to accelerate. This stuff often evens out over time, but the fact that Hofstra has only managed to defeat the Blue Hens and Hawks in THUNDERDOME! the last two years is somewhat concerning. The team's effort in that aspect of their schedule is what has really put the Pride in a precarious position. If Seth Tierney is able to find a little THUNDERDOME! magic and turn losses into wins -- especially against opponents in which Hofstra has an even or stronger chance at victory -- the entire scope of Hofstra's universe changes.
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