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Eulogizing the 2014 College Lacrosse Season: Monmouth

A winless season for the Hawks was an inauspicious way to start their Division I journey.

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.

VITAL SIGNS

MONMOUTH HAWKS
METRIC VALUE NATIONAL RANK
2014 Record 0-13 (0-6, MAAC) N/A
2014 Winning Percentage 0.00% 67
2013 Record N/A N/A
2013 Winning Percentage N/A 54
2014 Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation 14.99% 62
2013 Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation N/A N/A
Value Change in Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation N/A N/A
National Rank Change in Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation N/A N/A
2014 Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 22.09 64
2013 Adjusted Offensive Efficiency N/A N/A
Value Change in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency N/A N/A
National Rank Change in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency N/A N/A
2014 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 33.86 49
2013 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency N/A N/A
Value Change in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency N/A N/A
National Rank Change in Defensive Efficiency N/A N/A
Downloadable Team Profile (.pdf)

"ATTA BOY!" FACT

Nobody is going to confuse Monmouth's defense last spring to some kind of laser-guided system that shoots robot spacecraft out of the sky. That defense, though, performed fairly well in some difficult circumstances: Facing a situation where it was playing an extra six possessions per 60 minutes of play, the Hawks' defensive unit kind of kept things together when everything looked like it could fall to pieces.

"YOU'RE GOING TO FEEL A LITTLE PINCH"
METRIC VALUE NATIONAL RANK
Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 33.86 49
Team Opportunities per 60 Minutes Margin -6.63 66
Defensive Opportunities per 60 Minutes 33.62 45
Shots per Defensive Opportunity 1.14 40
Shots on Goal per Defensive Opportunity 0.70 49
Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Defensive Opportunity 60.78% 56
Raw Defensive Shooting Rate 28.63% 37
Raw Defensive Shots on Goal Shooting Rate 47.10% 26
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 36.77 15
Team Save Percentage 52.90% 26

So: (1) Monmouth's defense was forced in its games to play an absurdly high number of possessions compared to its opponents; (2) the size of this possession deficit forced Monmouth to play a higher-than-average number of defensive possessions per 60 minutes of play despite the fact that the Hawks had one of the slowest tempos in the nation; and (3) Opponents peppered Monmouth's defense with shots, but the Hawks' goalkeeping situation stood tall and the team's field defense did enough work to limit opposing offenses. In other words, Monmouth's defense was under constant fire and survived, wounded but not missing any major limbs.

"YOU'RE GROUNDED UNTIL YOU QUALIFY FOR THE AARP!" FACT

Based on Monmouth's adjusted Pythagorean win expectation value -- 14.99 percent -- the Hawks left two wins on the table in 2014. That may not be a fair assessment for a first-year program -- neophyte programs are historically volatile in terms of performance consistency -- but the victories that Monmouth potentially missed are strikingly apparent: Away dates against Wagner and Canisius, as well as a home date against Lafayette, likely constituted the pool of games in which the Hawks -- based on their performance throughout the season and in those games specifically -- whiffed on putting numbers in the wins column of their record. Here's some detail on those three games:

"WE LET 'EM OFF THE HOOK!"
OPPONENT FINAL SCORE LOG5
Wagner 6-7 (L) (4OT) 53.65%
Canisius 4-5 (L) 20.27%
Lafayette 5-9 (L) 54.91%

[shakes fist at the sky] "DRATS!" [sulks away]

The games against Wagner and Lafayette were toss-up affairs in which the Hawks had just as much of a shot at a victory as they did a defeat. In the former game, the Hawks lost in quadruple overtime after putting its offense in cold storage for the game's final 36:53 of play. In the latter game, Lafayette -- running with one of Division I's least potent offenses -- used a four-goal run in the third quarter to turn a one-goal lead into an insurmountable 8-3 advantage. These were both lost opportunities that could have reshaped what eventually became a winless season for Monmouth.

Against Canisius, the Hawks got into a land war with the Griffs, fighting a battle against a superior opponent. Monmouth was able to draw within one of the favorites midway through the third period, but a Billy Jacobbi tally with 2:59 remaining in regulation sealed the deal for Canisius (despite the fact that Dan Bloodgood -- that name should come with a mace -- punched in a bucket with 12 seconds left on the clock). Monmouth got the character of game it needed against the Griffins to try and pull a pretty strong upset but ultimately couldn't close.

Three opportunities to grab two wins, all evaporating into the ether. Icky.

THE DISTANT FUTURE

Monmouth put two players -- Bloodgood and Chris Daly -- on the MAAC All-Rookie Team last season, recognition that there is a little bit of young talent kicking around West Long Branch. Adding a 12-person freshman class that features of a handful of high school All-Americans should add a shot of energy to a program that suffered through nothing but pain in 2014. Rising in the MAAC isn't an impossibility, but the Hawks have a lot of internal work to do before Monmouth starts to worry about where they exist in their conference. The team's offense desperately needs to find some purpose and consistency in 2015 if the team hopes to make any significant gains in their second season of existence -- the team failed to score 10 goals in any game this season and generated tallies on fewer than 25 percent of their offensive opportunities. There is still much focusing to occur for the Hawks.