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Lehigh-Furman: Highlights, Advanced Lacrosse Box Score

The Paladins hung around early but eventually fell to the Mountain Hawks.

Game highlights are above. Notes about what the box score tells us about the game are below. ENGAGE CONTINUED OVER-ANALYSIS OF SEASON-OPENING GAMES!

Pace 56.00 (32 Off. / 24 Def.) 56.00 (24 Off. / 32 Def.)
Opportunities per 60 Minutes Margin +8.00 -8.00
Possession Ratio 57.14% 42.86%
Percent Offensive Opportunities (Face-Off Wins) 40.63% 37.50%
Percent Offensive Opportunities (Clearing Opportunities) 50.00% 58.33%
Percent Offensive Opportunities (Opponent Failed Clears) 9.38% 4.17%
Face-Off Percentage 59.09% 40.91%
Clearing Rate 93.75% 78.57%
Ride Rate 21.43% 6.25%
Raw Offensive Efficiency 40.63 25.00
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 1.31 0.63
Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 30.95% 40.00%
Offensive Assist Ratio 61.54% 50.00%
Offensive Assist Rate 25.00 12.00
Penalties per 100 Opportunities 3.57 5.36
Extra-Man Postures per 100 Offensive Opportunities 9.38 8.33
Extra-Man Posture Conversion Rate 0.00% 0.00%
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 25.00 37.50
Team Save Percentage 50.00% 48.00%
Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 34.38 62.50
Unforced Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 25.00 58.33
Opponent Caused Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 9.38 4.17
Turnover Margin +28.12 -28.12
"Run-of-Play" Groundball Work Rate 30.36 17.86

Some brief notes on this:

  • Furman suffered the ultimate death: An inefficient offensive performance buoyed by an incredibly high volume of turnovers while playing in a big possession deficit. Compounded by the fact that the Paladins had a difficult time stopping Lehigh, Furman's circumstances weren't conducive to finding success. That's exactly how things got out of hand for the Paladins, and the issue for Furman on a go-forward basis is that the Paladins could be in a similar situation down the road: Furman plays North Carolina, Air Force, Army, Duke and a handful of other teams that could press the Paladins into games not unlike their effort against the Mountain Hawks. Furman's first effort at the Division I level was a learning experience for the Paladins, and avoiding the circumstances that sunk Furman last weekend is key for the team in the future.
  • Teams that struggle often have trouble valuing the ball, turning over the bean and failing to execute in the clearing game. Without getting into too much detail as to the Paladins' trouble in possessing the bean (the team's unforced turnover rate was abysmal), Furman's difficulty in turning defensive stops into box-possessions stands out as an area of concern. The national average in clearing rate last season was 85.96 percent; only three teams -- Mount St. Mary's, VMI, and Lafayette -- cleared at less than 79 percent in 2013. If Furman had cleared at 85 percent against Lehigh, the Paladins would have had about two more functional offensive opportunities, denying the Mountain Hawks -- at least theoretically -- the same number of offensive opportunities. This would have resulted in around a one-and-a-half goal swing on the scoreboard based on each team's offensive efficiencies on the day: Furman would have put about a half-goal on the board while Lehigh would have been denied about a goal. This is especially important for the Paladins considering they earned a large portion of their offensive opportunities from clearing postures (Furman's rate on the day was about two percent higher than the national average from last year). It's just not generating opportunities; it's also about maximizing them, and the Paladins didn't do a great job at that against Lehigh given the team's clearing rate.
  • That's a pretty quiet day for Matt Poillon, huh? Not sure he's going to have so many days like that this season. Poillon is a horse for Lehigh in the crease and he had a relatively light workload against the Paladins. His save percentage and the team's overall defensive shooting rate is a little troubling, but it was his first go of the season.
  • Lehigh didn't just win the turnover battle by miles; the Mountain Hawks also crushed the groundball war against Furman. Lehigh was all over run-of-play loose balls -- groundballs earned in other than face-off postures -- and out-worked the Paladins when the bean was on the ground. Dominating hustle metrics are important, especially when turnovers are committed at such a high rate. Lehigh's ability to pounce on free balls was a major factor in Furman committing so many giveaways. Basically, the Mountain Hawks capitalized on the Paladins' proclivity for giveaways -- in whatever context you can surmise (Lehigh's caused turnover rate implies that Furman had a difficult time passing and catching the ball, whether that be in simply moving the ball or crushing the bean into small windows around the box) -- by ensuring that any loose ball occurring from turnovers would turn into offensive opportunities. Winning or maintaining possession matters more than at the face-off dot, and Lehigh owned that battle in South Carolina.