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Eulogizing the 2012 College Lacrosse Season: (59) VMI

You spent the better part of four months meticulously dissecting the 2012 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 61 teams and their 2012 campaigns, mostly because everything needs a proper burial.

I. VITAL SIGNS

Team: VMI Keydets

2012 Record: 4-10 (2-4, MAAC)

2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -2.30 (52)

2011 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -2.30 (57)

Winning Percentage Change from 2011: +13.19%

2012 Efficiency Margin: -15.95 (59)

Efficiency Margin Change from 2011: +1.73

II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT

  • Stephen Robarge and Matt Lindemann were pretty delightful for the Keydets in 2012. Robarge, with his 66.6 percent face-off win mark, almost single-handedly put VMI into the top-five nationally in possession margin. Lindemann, who came on in April for the Keydets, did a pretty nice job between the pipes, finishing the season with a 59.9 save percentage despite playing behind a defense that yielded the second-most shots per defensive possession in the country. Lindemann returns in 2013 but Robarge is gone, officially a thousandaire with the Denver Outlaws.

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

  • This was one of the overall worst shooting teams in the country in 2012. The team's raw shooting percentage -- 25.32 percent, good for 55th in the nation -- is evidence enough of that fact, but there are two other metrics that show how and why VMI had such a hard time canning the bean this past season: (1) The Keydets' offensive assist rate was third-worst nationally at just about 11 helpers per 100 offensive possessions; and (2) No team saw more shots saved by opposing goalies (and it's not like VMI saw a rash of unstoppable netminders in 2012). If you have trouble with accuracy and can't get the ball into preferential scoring positions, you're going to shoot like a drunk guy on the clay range that will eventually have a manslaughter conviction on his record.

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

  • As bad as VMI's offense was in 2012 (and it will lose its top-two point-getters going into 2013), with Lindemann's potential the Keydets may want to build out of the back next season. The Keydets, despite Lindemann's efforts, were a horrendous defensive squad in 2012, holding the nation's third-worst adjusted defensive efficiency. A clearer focus on limiting preferential shots from the opposition (VMI was 56th in the country in 2012 in defensive assist rate) will go a long way to helping Lindemann stop shots that are, you know, actually stoppable. Keeping your head on a swivel and working within the defensive structure as a whole will go a long way in making defensive possessions sustainable as the team has a guy in the back that can clean up a mess if asked to do so.