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: Lehigh Mountain Hawks
2013 Record: 12-5 (6-0, Patriot)
2013 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): 0.56 (25)
2012 Strength of Schedule (Efficiency Margin): -0.39 (40)
Winning Percentage Change from 2012: -11.76%
2013 Efficiency Margin: 8.76 (7)
Efficiency Margin Change from 2012: -1.69
II. "ATTA BOY!" FACT
This is what I wrote about Lehigh last year with respect to their "fix" going into 2013:
The "fix" isn't necessarily a "fix" but rather a desire: Keep it all together and show me 2012 wasn't an aberration. Lehigh has all kinds of potential to be very dangerous again in 2013, but the history of this program hasn't exactly been one where back-to-back season of double-digit wins is a common occurrence. The Mountain Hawks' learned how to win big in 2012; now the charge is whether they can keep winning big, which is something that a lot of programs struggle to overcome.You're likely having blood leak from your ears after suffering through months of a dangerous brain worm infection if you believe that Lehigh didn't accomplish that task: The Mountain Hawks remained among the nationally elite in 2013, carrying forward a foundation laid -- somewhat surprisingly -- in 2012. The program went undefeated in a league ranked fifth in conference Pythagorean win expectation (just a shade below the ECAC), beat solid programs in Villanova, Penn State, and Bucknell (twice), won a dozen games en route to the NCAA Tournament, and generally kept pace with the standard that the program set in 2012:
LEHIGH'S SUSTAINED SKULL-CRUSHING METRIC 2012 2013 Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 33.90 (14) 34.69 (11) Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 23.45 (6) 25.94 (14) Adjusted Efficiency Margin 10.45 (5) 8.76 (7) Pythagorean Win Expectation 75.81% (4) 71.13% (7)
III. "YOU'RE GROUNDED UNTIL YOU QUALIFY FOR THE AARP!" FACT
- Lehigh went 5-4 against teams with a Pythagorean win expectation value of 50 percent or greater. That's a decent record against the nation's better teams (the Mountain Hawks beat Villanova (30th), Penn State (15th), Army (18th), and Bucknell (12th) (twice); the Mountain Hawks lost to Denver (10th); Air Force (23rd); Pennsylvania (fifth); and North Carolina (second)), but it's a wrinkle in that record that makes me want to deny Lehigh worker's compensation benefits: The Mountain Hawks dropped three games that they a) could have won, or b) were expected to compete more fervently. The following table explores that theory:
LEHIGH'S LOST OPPORTUNITIES OPPONENT FINAL SCORE LEHIGH'S EXPECTED CHANCE OF VICTORY Denver 10-18 (L) 53.78% Air Force 10-15 (L) 66.17% Pennsylvania 4-6 (L) 49.00%
- Lehigh folded late in the game (not unlike the team's effort the day prior against Denver), yielding three unanswered goals in the last seven minutes of regulation to an average Falcons team. In fact, the only lead that Lehigh held against Air Force was an early 1-0 advantage; the Mountain Hawks never led at any other stage of the game. Matt Poillon was an important piece to Lehigh's success in 2013, but Lehigh still had the juice to show stronger -- in a difficult spot -- than what the final five-goal deficit illustrated.
- The loss to the Quakers is reasonable, yet you'd like to see a nationally-elite team win a game against a competitive peer in a "push" type of game. The difference between going 12-5 and 13-4 or 14-3 often turns on efforts in those kinds of contests. Lehigh went just 2-2 in competitive-equal games (both wins coming against the Bison), including the loss to the Quakers.
IV. MR. FIX-IT HAS A ONE-FIX ENGAGEMENT, AND IT'S . . .
- Two big factors in Lehigh's success have punched their ticket to the real world: Dante Fantoni and David DiMaria have traded their lacrosse sticks for lunch pails, now forced to spend their days daydreaming about bamboozling goalkeepers while they drone on at their desks. Fantoni and DiMaria have been key cogs in the Mountain Hawks' offensive fortunes over the last two seasons, and their absence in 2014 is going to create a vacuum. There is talent remaining on the roster that can step into each cat's shoes -- Dan Taylor and Patrick Corbett have high ceilings -- but what Fantoni and DiMaria accomplished in Bethlehem is going to take time to replace. The sooner the Mountain Hawks are able to address their new reality without either attack, the better the team's transition to 2014.