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Eulogizing the 2014 College Lacrosse Season: Loyola

Loyola took their final bow after dealing with the mutant lacrosse thing that was Albany.

Winslow Townson

You spent the better part of four months meticulously dissecting the 2014 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 67 teams and their 2014 campaigns, mostly because everything needs a proper burial.


2014 Record 15-2 (8-0, Patriot) N/A
2014 Winning Percentage 88.24% 1
2013 Record 11-5 (6-1, ECAC) N/A
2013 Winning Percentage 68.75% 16
2014 Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation 83.53% 1
2013 Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation 73.83% 6
Value Change in Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation +9.70% 13*
National Rank Change in Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation +5* 19*
2014 Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 39.80 4
2013 Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 35.53 10
Value Change in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency +4.27 13*
National Rank Change in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency +6* 24*
2014 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 25.14 4
2013 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 25.53 11
Value Change in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency +0.38 28*
National Rank Change in Defensive Efficiency +7* 22*
Downloadable Team Profile (.pdf)

*These ranking values consider only the programs that competed in the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Accordingly, Boston University, Furman, Monmouth, and Richmond are not considered.


The Patriot League didn't have its best season in 2014: In a tempo-free environment, the conference ranked seventh nationally; LaxPower ranked the league eighth last season; a KRACH analysis slotted the Patriot League eighth; and Massey had the conference ranked eighth. That's not the kind of reality that the league has become accustomed to, and with the addition of the Greyhounds to the conference starting last spring, the Patriot League was not expected to slip as much as it did on the national scene. That slide, consequently, impacted the way that folks thought about Loyola last year: Tattooed with the stigma of snapping the necks of lesser species, the Greyhounds were painted as having built its success around a kind of falsity.

That sentiment is, in important ways, not exactly a fair characterization of the 'Hounds in 2014. Pertinently, almost half of Loyola's opponents last season were expected to win at least 64 percent of their games in the context of adjusted Pythagorean win expectation. That's a sizeable chunk of capable opponents that Loyola faced, a group that averaged a 72.26 adjusted Pythagorean win expectation value. When you also consider that the Greyhounds went a solid 6-2 against those opponents, it becomes clear that Loyola was more than an average-sized citizen in the Land of People with No Legs and Short Torsos:

at Virginia 13-14 (OT) (L) 69.03%
at Penn State 12-11 (OT) (W) 64.18%
at Lehigh 14-7 (W) 71.25%
Duke 14-7 (W) 81.64%
Army 7-6 (2OT) (W) 68.60%
Lehigh 16-7 (W) 71.25%
Johns Hopkins 13-10 (W) 76.07%
Albany 6-13 (L) 76.10%
AVERAGE 12-9 (W) 72.27%

What more could you want from a team (other than to demand that it wrestle alligators at halftime to up the degree of difficulty in shattering souls)? The loss to Virginia remains one of the most controversial results of the 2014 and may have spurred the rules congress to pass policy changes on how end-of-quarter situations are called. The loss to Albany in the first round of the NCAA Tournament was reasonable: Preparing for and executing a gameplan against the mutant lacrosse force that the Danes were last season tested teams throughout the year. None of that erodes the pure pop that the Greyhounds had last season outside of its admittedly weak conference slate.


Loyola used up all the capital it had accrued when the Greyhounds took home the 2012 national championship. There's no other way to understand how and why the 'Hounds have suffered through brutal first round losses in The Big Barbeque the last two years. The universe is a fickle, angry sociopath and it always seems to want -- and get -- revenge where it believes it is necessary to fix a blip in the spectrum. The Greyhounds are clearly the focus of the universe's realignment at the moment.

The facts here are too notable to ignore:

  • In 2013, Loyola took a go-ahead goal off of the board against Duke in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The game between the two teams was as tight as expected: LaxPower considered the game a true toss-up from an expected outcome standpoint and Massey had the game in the region of a toss-up with Duke as a slight favorite. For the Greyhounds' season to end the way it did against a similar-situated opponent -- one that would claim gold on Memorial Monday -- has to be the work of a pissed off universe.
  • In 2014, Loyola drew the straw that nobody wanted to get stuck with: Albany, champions of the America East and the hardest matchup in Division I. The way that the Greyhounds fell to the Great Danes was ugly, and the havoc that Lyle Thompson caused against one of the best defenses in college lacrosse will haunt Loyola for a while. Any of the other unseeded teams in the tournament at that point -- Air Force, Johns Hopkins, Drexel, North Carolina, Harvard, Bryant or Cornell -- probably would have been a better matchup for the 'Hounds instead of the death machine that was Albany. The Greyhounds simply hadn't seen anything quite like what Albany was rolling on the field, and combined with an especially bad moment for the team's offense to spin into the sun, Loyola was set for an abysmal moment in a spot where it wasn't possible to miss marks.
This is evil. Icky, unrelenting evil. Yet, them's the breaks in Division I lacrosse.


Charley Toomey has some work to do before the 2015 season starts. The 'Hounds will lose around 50 percent of their starts from last season, those losses including five cats -- Justin Ward, Brian Schultz, Matt Sawyer, Joe Fletcher, and Jack Runkel -- that started all 17 games for the 'Hounds last spring. The scope of Loyola's losses aren't limited to starters that have departed, though: The team lost Pat Laconi, one of the best short-stick defensive midfielders in the nation and the team lost four of its six players that generated at least 20 points last season (that group accounted for around half of the team's total points in 2014). On the bright side, the team will presumably get Zach Herreweyers back for an entire season, Graham Savio will return to give the 'Hounds some heat at the faceoff X, and the team had a handful of guys -- Nikko Pontrello, Romar Dennis, Ryan Fournier, and Brian Sherlock -- that took on increased responsibility last season and responded pretty well. What the team looks like in February may not indicate the team's ceiling in April.