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"Let Rob Pannell Do Stuff" is the best offensive strategy.— College Crosse (@SexyTimeLax) May 12, 2013
There isn't a better player in college lacrosse this year than Rob Pannell. There isn't. Lyle Thompson has been a production machine for Albany, JoJo Marasco has been Syracuse's pivot point all season, Marcus Holman is a horse in a deep stable of thoroughbreds, and Tom Schreiber is arguably the most dangerous and versatile midfielder in the college game right now, but none of these cats are Rob Pannell: The senior attackman is a one-on-one nightmare, a distributor with few peers, and his mere presence increases the elasticity and veracity of Cornell's offense. He is a thousand points of offensive fight and he put on an incredible display against one the nation's best defenses: A four-goal, three-assist effort (on just five shots and yielding only one turnover) detonated Maryland's national title hopes in 2013, continuing the Terrapins' almost 40-year streak without a national championship.
Other than Pannell doing whatever he seemingly wanted to do (the attackman didn't play with a margarita in his hand in the second half, which is a little disappointing), these other things stuck out as important or otherwise noteworthy:
- Turnovers were a dark stain on the game, more so with how the Terrapins valued the ball. Committing a turnover on almost 58 percent of their offensive opportunities on the day, Maryland simultaneously (1) exacerbated the possession deficit they were playing in, (2) lost opportunities to generate volume attempts against A.J. Fiore (who played well for Cornell in the crease) and to hide some of Maryland's offensive inefficiencies in shooting the ball, (3) gave the ball back to a Red offense that was shattering existence with its offense, and (4) put additional pressure on the Terrapins defense and Niko Amato (who had a forgettable day between the pipes for Maryland) to try and turn back Rob Pannell Demolition and Associates, Ltd. What's especially interesting about Maryland's turnover rate isn't necessarily the volume of turnovers that Cornell caused (the Red have a knack for it) but rather that the Terrapins -- at the most important juncture of the season -- continued to commit unforced turnovers at a mind-numbing rate.
- Folks may point at the Red's possession margin as the reason that Cornell won (it was a factor, giving Cornell about three additional goals on the day based on the team's overall offensive efficiency), but Cornell's defense deserves some credit as well: Jordan Stevens caused five turnovers (as a team, the Red were generating (on a 100-opportunity basis) about 30 caused turnovers); the team's effort on corralling run-of-play groundballs (at both ends of the field, but notably at the defensive end given Maryland's turnover rate) far exceeded what the Terrapins put forth -- on a 100-opportunity basis, Cornell's work on non-faceoff loose balls created about a plus-15 groundball advantage (the Terps only earned 18 run-of-play groundballs against Cornell's 30); and Fiore played a balanced and complete game between the pipes. It was solid performance for a Red defense that doesn't get a lot of ink; the unit took advantage of preferable situations and stood strong for the full 60 minutes of play.
Somewhat oddly, Cornell returns to Byrd Stadium next week to face either Ohio State or Towson. The indispensible Patrick Stevens came through on the answer to the question of when the last time this has happened (an unseeded team playing the first two rounds of the tournament at the same site (the first as the visitor and the second as a neutral site participant)):
Recent teams to win on the road in the first round and return the next week: 2008 Ohio State (at Cornell) and 2010 Notre Dame (at Princeton)— Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse) May 12, 2013
Here's a truncated tempo-free box score:
|Offensive Efficiency (per 100 Offensive Opportunities)||39.02||24.24|
|Shots per Offensive Opportunity||0.76||1.06|
|Offensive Shooting Percentage||51.61%||22.86%|
|Turnovers (per 100 Offensive Opportunities)||39.02||57.58|
|Caused Turnovers (per 100 Defensive Opportunities)||30.30||24.39|
|Unforced Turnovers (per 100 Offensive Opportunities)||14.63||27.27|
|Team Save Percentage||60.00%||38.46%|
|Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities||36.36||24.39|