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Rogalski's First Season with Lafayette Features 13 Games

The Leopards have five wins since 2011. That isn't good.

When writing about Lafayette's 2012 effort, I had this to say about Jim Rogalski's effort going into 2013:

Let new head coach Jim Rogalski try to figure this all out. Some support from the university -- which has been hinted at by the athletic department -- and time to develop a program identity will go a long way to allowing the Leopards to catch up to their arch rivals down the road in Bethlehem. The Patriot League is a nasty place to try and gain ground, but Lafayette has no choice but to throw hands and hope for the best.

That's kind of where Lafayette still is entering the spring. The schedule, which is a little adventerous, will help define where the Leopards are headed under their new head coach. Let's rip this to shreds.

Winning is Better than Losing
February 23: @ Manhattan; February 26: @ Wagner; March 27: @ High Point; April 6: Holy Cross

The bottom of Division I lacrosse is a lot like crab mentality -- it's really hard to get ahead when everything tries to pull you down. With the exception of its mind-exploding 2010 season, Lafayette has been mired in that situation for most of the last decade, consistently finishing under .500 while trading wins and losses with teams stuck in its bucket. 2013 doesn't look a lot different for the Leopards with its four best opportunities for victories coming against some of the weakest teams in Division I.

The potential wins here aren't fancy in the least sense, but Gatorade baths in these games do get Lafayette towards the light of potential crab bucket freedom: Manhattan, like Lafayette, is entering the spring under a new coach trying to get some direction into the program; High Point is entering its maiden voyage through Division I and may provide the Leopards with the start of a late-March two-game foray into sweet victory; Holy Cross, despite all the work that Jim Morrissey has done since taking over the Crusaders program, isn't quite ready to take a significant step forward and may provide Lafayette with its only Patriot League victory on the year; and Wagner is still Wagner, which isn't all that good for Wagner. There's no shame in playing these games or celebrating potential victories against these opponents; if the Leopards can get wins in these four contests they're at least showing their rear end at those crushed at the absolute bottom.

February 16: @ Georgetown; February 19: Stony Brook; March 2: Marist; March 6: Delaware

The mark of a team that appears to be on the relative move is getting wins in games against teams a little higher in the Division I hierarchy. This should not be a shocking statement, and if it is, you have likely suffered severe head trauma and should probably visit an emergency room or something. The four illustrated games aren't against teams that will likely inhabit the top-third of the country in 2013; they are, rather, rife with concerns but are still dangerous as part of the meaty middle of the nation. Lafayette will be 'dogs in all of these games, but if the Leopards are sitting on something that could be special in a year or two, wins in these games will be the best indication. Of the four-pack of games it looks like the best chance for victory would come against Marist -- which may be the best team in the MAAC given all of Siena's losses coming into 2013 -- or Delaware (a team that spit the bit in 2012). Again, I'm not saying that Lafayette wins any of these games, all I'm saying is that if the Leopards win any of these it may be a sign that Rogalski is working with something a little different than Terry Mangan had at the end of his tenure in Easton.

March 9: @ Navy; March 16: Bucknell; March 23: @ Army; April 6: Holy Cross; April 13: Colgate; April 20: @ Lehigh

Lafayette is one of the two worst teams in what is arguably the second best conference in the country. That's . . . that's probably not so good for the Leopards. Outside of the Holy Cross game, it'd take something going completely sideways for Lafayette to get more than one win in the league this coming year. Also: Ending with Colgate and Lehigh may or may not be the meanest thing that the Patriot League has ever done to one of its members in the history of history.