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Eulogizing the 2014 College Lacrosse Season: Quinnipiac

The Bobcats just missed out on the MAAC Tournament.

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 6-8 (3-3, MAAC) N/A
2014 Winning Percentage 42.86% 40
2013 Record 6-8 (3-2, NEC) N/A
2013 Winning Percentage 42.86% 40
2014 Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation 44.20% 40
2013 Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation 40.15% 42
Value Change in Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation +4.05% 23*
National Rank Change in Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation +2* 22*
2014 Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 30.49 38
2013 Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 31.47 20
Value Change in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency -0.98 45*
National Rank Change in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency -18* 54*
2014 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 33.39 45
2013 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 35.39 35
Value Change in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency +2.00 19*
National Rank Change in Defensive Efficiency +9* 17*
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 Bobcats were not afraid of leaning on their goalkeepers -- specifically Gil Conners, a cat that played around 88 percent of Quinnipiac's total minutes last season -- in 2014. The team's goalkeeping profile is one that illustrates a barrage of enemy fire, much of it turned away thanks to strong play from the crease. The Bobcats didn't play a murderous slate of opponents in terms of strength of opposing offenses, but the circumstances in which Conners, primarily, succeeded is impressive regardless of the straight quality of the competition he suffocated:

Shots per Defensive Opportunity 1.23 60
Shots on Goal per Defensive Opportunity 0.74 61
Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Defensive Opportunity 60.70% 55
Raw Defensive Shooting Rate 26.96% 23
Raw Defensive Shots on Goal Shooting Rate 44.41% 10
Saves per 100 Defensive Opportunities 41.36 4
Team Save Percentage 55.59% 10
Estimated Lost Functional Defensive Opportunities Ratio 31.68% 65

Let's quickly explain what this table indicates:

  • Quinnipiac's keepers -- again, primarily Conners -- saw a high volume of shots per defensive opportunity, most of them on cage. The Bobcats' values in the first two metrics are among the highest in the nation, creating scenarios where Quinnipiac's goaltenders needed to maintain high focus because they knew that opponents were going to challenge them to make stops.
  • The team's save rate per defensive possessions and team save percentage mark the Bobcats' keepers as both ending a high rate of defensive opportunities with stops while also keeping their twine free of torching. So, at this point, Quinnipiac's goaltenders are under siege and are, simultaneously, pushing back the rebels with strength and purpose.
  • Look at the Bobcats' estimated lost functional defensive opportunities ratio -- opponents weren't turning the ball over once they breached the box. Painting in broad strokes, Quinnipiac's opponents were, therefore, either scoring goals or getting stoned by the Bobcats' keepers, with rare instances of pitching the bean away. That's nuts: Not only were Quinnipiac's keepers under siege and fighting back the rebels, they were also doing so without the rebels making self-inflicted mistakes or otherwise missing opportunities to fire on the presidential estate.

This reliance on keepers to make stops -- and those keepers answering the bell -- is impressive. There are teams that are somewhat similar to the Bobcats that are unable to perform in such circumstances. Good on Conners for coming through for Quinnipiac in his final season in Hamden, completing a two-year residency with the 'Cats after starting his career at Onondaga Community College.


Quinnipiac was cycled out of the MAAC Tournament due to the league's tiebreaker procedure, forced to watch the tournament unfold from Connecticut while Canisius, Detroit, and Marist -- teams that finished with identical league records to the Bobcats -- advanced for a shot at the conference's automatic invitation to The Big Barbeque. While Quinnipiac likely steamed over their exclusion from the postseason, the Bobcats ultimately lost their opportunity to play some extra lacrosse in Poughkeepsie when the team fell to three opponents that were regarded as potential kills:

at Marist 8-13 50.05% 0
Canisius 10-11 53.31% +1
Siena 12-18 44.35% 0

Win one -- just one! -- of those three games and Quinnipiac's volition is significantly different than the reality that they ultimately received. Avoid severely underperforming against the Red Foxes and Saints and maybe the multiple-team tiebreaker goes in a different direction. Going 0-3 against teams in which the Bobcats were basically in toss-up situations is bad, but it's even worse to have an aggregate goal differential of -12 (an average of four goals per game) in these things. Quinnipiac was good enough to make the MAAC Tournament, but these three dates on the team's schedule were the deciding factors to the Bobcats' fate.


Quinnipiac will lose 40 percent of its starts from the 2014 season going into next spring, suffering the losses of major contributors like Conners, Dylan Webster (A), Chris McMahon (D), and Tom Gilligan (M). A host of big guns return to Southern Connecticut in 2015, though, including Michael Sagl (led the Bobcats in points in 2014), Carmen French (an All-MAAC honoree in 2014), and Zach Vehar (held a 53.54 faceoff percentage last season). There is transition afoot in Hamden, but Quinnipiac may not fall too far from where they were a year ago: Of the 21 players that appeared in at least 10 of the team's games last year, only five will not return to campus next spring. Returning 76 percent of these contributors to 2015 should allow for the Bobcats to find a groove early and create some havoc in MAAC.