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The Weekend in Stick: You Part the Waters (Part I)

"The Weekend in Stick": It's exactly what it sounds like -- a recapitulation of this weekend's most notable. No doink.

You part the waters,
the same ones that I'm drowning in.
-CAKE, "You Part the Waters"

Let's get to the big stories from the weekend.

Social Disorder
Cornell 17, Pennsylvania 9
Yale 16, Princeton 15
Harvard 16, Dartmouth 7

The Ivy League has historically had the class structure of a gossipy tennis club. There league's alpha predators in the hierarchy used their wealth and status to dominate while others backstabbed and hustled to maintain relevance. This year, however, the conference's social ladder isn't quite as defined: Chaos -- to a noted degree -- is engulfing the league.

Cornell 2-0 (8-0)
Harvard 2-0 (5-3)
Yale 1-1 (4-2)
Princeton 1-1 (4-3)
Brown 0-1 (4-3)
Pennsylvania 0-2 (3-3)
Dartmouth 0-1 (1-4)

Hi, Dartmouth!

  • Cornell at Pennsylvania: The Red used two big runs to put the Quakers away: A six-goal push that spanned the later portions of the first quarter and extended to the 8:10 mark of the second period gave Cornell an 8-4 lead, putting the pressure on Pennsylvania to respond while assaulting its respected defense; and a second six-goal run that occurred in the third quarter. It's that push -- a half-dozen goals scored over 13 minutes in the penultimate period -- that ultimately drove the outcome: Penn was within three before Doug Tesoriero had a seven-second tally to start the period and the surge.

    Offensive Opportunities 10 8
    Raw Offensive Efficiency 60.00 12.50
    Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 37.50% 14.29%
    Shots per Offensive Opportunity 1.60 0.88
    Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 30.00 100.00
    Run-of-Play Groundballs per 100 Total Possessions 38.89 33.33
    Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 12.50 40.00
    Team Save Percentage 50.00% 40.00%
  • Princeton at Yale: How bonkers was Reese Stadium? All of the bonkers:
    • The teams combined for 63 offensive opportunities, but both Princeton and Yale were highly efficient with their possessions. Princeton finished the day scoring 15 goals on 25 estimated possessions (60 percent) while the Bulldogs put 16 tallies on the scoreboard on 38 estimated possessions (just over 42 percent). That's . . . bloody. The Tigers finished the day shooting 33.33 percent while the Elis shot 50 -- five-zero -- percent; combined with each team's low turnover rates, and it becomes clear that the worst place to be on the field was anywhere near twine.
    • Princeton played at a 13-possession deficit and still had a chance to win the game. In fact, the Tigers had the last possession of the game and had two attempts at a game-tying goal: Jake Froccaro -- who had 10 goals against the Elis (no big deal) -- wasn't able to find his 11th right off of the game's final face-off and Eric Natale stopped a Kip Orban shot with eight seconds left in regulation, a shot that came with the Tigers on the extra-man. Yale's large possession margin was driven by the team's plus-15 mark at the dot.
    • The game-winner from Mark Glicini -- a bouncer from distance off of a J.W. McGovern helper -- came in a timer-on posture and 38 seconds left on the clock. Gadzooks.
    • Froccaro almost single-handedly outscored most of the nation: His 10 goals came on 18 shots, only one attempt of which was saved. Froccaro also went four-of-seven at the face-off dot, the only Princeton player to have success against Dylan Levings (Levings went 20-35 at the whistle).
    • There were six lead changes and six ties in the final 32:59 of play.
  • Dartmouth at Harvard: Harvard is unbeaten in Ivy League play but the team's unblemished record is deceiving: The Crimson's two wins have come against Brown and Dartmouth, two of the league's weaker teams. Harvard is solid but the team's conference slate is back loaded: The Crimson will face Cornell in two weeks, Pennsylvania the week after, Princeton follows the team's date with the Quakers, and close with Yale at the end of April. Harvard hasn't even entered the torture chamber yet, although the Crimson has taken care of business against the inferior competition that it has faced.

Study: Research Triangle is Death Zone
North Carolina 11, Maryland 9
Duke 21, Syracuse 7

  • Syracuse at Duke: This was the turning point in the game:
  • Maryland at North Carolina: North Carolina has knocked off undefeated-and-number-one Maryland in consecutive seasons, dealing the Terps their first loss of the season in both 2013 and 2014. The last two regular season meetings between the two schools have been different, but there is a degree of continuity between the two games: Maryland's offense sputtered while North Carolina's defense exerted a measure of pain that supported the Heels' offensive efforts:

    Offensive Opportunities 34 25 32 31
    Raw Offensive Efficiency 23.53 44.00 25.00 32.26
    Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 26.67% 35.48% 21.62% 33.33%
    Shots per Offensive Opportunity 0.88 1.24 1.16 0.97
    Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 47.06 40.00 40.63 54.84
    Run-of-Play Groundballs per 100 Total Possessions 32.20 32.20 42.86 25.40
    Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 32.00 35.29 38.71 46.88
    Team Save Percentage 42.11% 60.00% 54.55% 65.22%
    Maryland dominated possession against North Carolina this past weekend, but the team's proclivity for giving the ball away and an inability to beat Kieran Burke and the rest of the Tar Heels' defense crushed the Terrapins' soul. It was only a three-goal win for the Heels, but it probably could have been worse had Maryland not dominated the game's possession margin.

Penn State Gets Thompson'd
Albany 17, Penn State 10

It was just another 14-point day for the Thompson Trio against Penn State, dropping the Nittany Lions in University Park with the relative ease of a crossword puzzle in a grocery store flyer. Penn State never led against the Great Danes, trailing right out of the gate and managing to draw even with Albany just once: At 1-1 at the 5:41 mark of the first quarter. Otherwise, the Danes dictated everything in the remaining 50:41 of play. The turning point in the game was a 9-1 run that Albany used to generate a nine-goal lead, a mark achieved early in the fourth period that ultimately found its genesis with an Eli Lasda tally with only six seconds left in the first half.

This is the fire that the Great Danes are capable of stoking, and it ultimately burned Penn State in more than one way. The loss moves the Nittany Lions to 4-4 on the year with five games remaining. And those five games are key for Penn State. Not only is the team's remaining slate ripe with potential issues for the Lions, lined with teams with an ability to drop Penn State under the right circumstances, but Penn State probably needs to do better than going 3-2 in that stretch to keep itself in NCAA Tournament consideration. The Nittany Lions' resume isn't all that impressive at this point: The team's best win is against Notre Dame and doesn't have much in the way of further support; Penn State's RPI rank is currently 20th and its RPI strength of schedule rank is currently 16th; and the team's tournament selection index ranking -- an imperfect way to predict the field, but still a method that supports the notion that the Nittany Lions have work to do -- is 16th, trailing teams that are going to be in the same at-large pool as Penn State.

The pressure is officially on for the Fightin' Tambronis.

Virginia Continues to Win One-Goal Games Because Reasons
Virginia 11, Johns Hopkins 10 (OT)

The Cavaliers were one of the unluckiest teams in the nation last season, losing three one-goal games and another by two goals. In 2014, the universe has eased back its stance on Virginia, throwing four one-goal wins in the Cavaliers' direction. Those wins -- against Loyola, Richmond, Drexel, and Johns Hopkins -- constitute over half of Virginia's victories this season, a ridiculous fact that is made even more insane when you look at Virginia's aggregated statistics in those four games:

Offensive Opportunities 140 140
Raw Offensive Efficiency 32.14 35.00
Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 32.37% 31.82%
Shots per Offensive Opportunity 0.99 1.10
Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 50.71 39.29
Run-of-Play Groundballs per 100 Total Possessions 24.64 38.93
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 27.86 32.14
Team Save Percentage 44.32% 50.00%

Virginia has been *thismuch* better than their opponents in one-goal games, doing the little things that create wins. It's difficult to win games like this, and the 'Hoos have shown an innate ability to close in 2014 when it was lost in 2013.