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Eulogizing the 2014 College Lacrosse Season: Hofstra

"Drexel" is considered profanity in Hempstead.

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

HOFSTRA PRIDE
METRIC VALUE NATIONAL RANK
2014 Record 11-5 (4-1, THUNDERDOME!) N/A
2014 Winning Percentage 68.75% 11
2013 Record 7-7 (2-4, THUNDERDOME!) N/A
2013 Winning Percentage 50.00% 28
2014 Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation 58.69% 25
2013 Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation 59.88% 21
Value Change in Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation -1.19% 34*
National Rank Change in Adjusted Pythagorean Win Expectation -4* 39*
2014 Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 31.31 32
2013 Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 29.26 40
Value Change in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency +2.05 28*
National Rank Change in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency +10* 21*
2014 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 28.90 25
2013 Adjusted Defensive Efficiency 25.83 13
Value Change in Adjusted Defensive Efficiency -3.07 48*
National Rank Change in Defensive Efficiency -11* 51*
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.

"ATTA BOY!" FACT

Hofstra played close games all season long, opting for pressure-filled situations rather than the comfort of lying back in a hammock and drinking things out of a coconut with an umbrella in it. The Pride went 9-5 in one- and two-goal games in 2014 (that's over 85 percent of the team's games last spring), an impressive feat considering that the team did so against all manners of competition:

HOFSTRA DOESN'T DO EASY
OPPONENT RESULT LAXPOWER PREDICTED GOAL DIFF. MASSEY WIN PROBABILITY
Marquette 9-11 (L) +3 82%
at Princeton 10-12 (L) -1 43%
Fairfield 9-7 (W) 0 59%
Georgetown 9-8 (OT) (W) +4 86%
Ohio State 7-5 (W) 0 65%
Delaware 11-9 (W) +2 75%
at St. John's 10-11 (OT) (L) 0 61%
at Drexel 11-9 (W) -1 40%
Towson 9-7 (W) +2 70%
Siena 7-6 (W) +2 70%
Cornell 10-9 (OT) (W) -1 40%
at Penn State 7-8 (L) -1 42%
Delaware 8-6 (W) +2 75%
Drexel 10-11 (3OT) (W) 0 45%

This is stone-cold toughness in the face of perilously difficult circumstances to succeed. The aggregate goal margin in these games was +8 to Hofstra, an average margin of victory of just over half a goal. When you start getting into the nitty-gritty of expected outcomes, the details of those goal margins become even more bonkers:

  • In games in which Hofstra was favored in LaxPower's system (regardless of the margin), the Pride went 5-1 with an aggregate goal differential of +5 (an average margin of victory of .8 goals per game). In games in which Hofstra was favored in Massey's ratings (holding greater than a 55 percent chance of victory), the Pride went 7-2 with an aggregate goal differential of +9 (an average margin of victory of a goal per game). The Pride took care of business where they should have, even if the margins were crazy close.
  • In games in which Hofstra was in a toss-up situation in LaxPower's system (an even goal margin), the Pride went 2-2 with an aggregate goal differential of +2 (an average margin of victory of half a goal). In games in which Hofstra was in a toss-up situation in Massey's ratings (between a 45 and 55 percent chance of victory), the Pride went 0-1 with an aggregate goal differential of -1. That's . . . that's accepting math's few of reality and sticking to it.
  • In games in which Hofstra was an underdog in LaxPower's system (regardless of the margin), the Pride went 2-2 with an aggregate goal differential of zero. In games in which Hofstra was an underdog in Massey's ratings (holding lower than a 45 percent chance of victory), the Pride went 2-2 with an aggregate goal differential of zero. That's smashing some jaws against competition that was stronger than the Pride.

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

After failing to make the NCAA Tournament this past year, the Pride are officially in their longest participation drought in The Big Barbecue since the team spent 1979 through 1992 watching other programs contest for top honors in the nation. The Pride haven't taken a mid-May adventure since the 2011 season, a year in which Hofstra crashed out of the first round after suffering a six-goal defeat at the hands of Johns Hopkins. It ultimately doesn't matter that the selection committee chose to exclude the Pride from an at-large spot last season as Hofstra had everything it needed to extend its season right in front of them but failed to take advantage of the opportunity to do so.

The Pride were about a half-goal better than their opposition at Shuart Stadium last year, and against the Dragons -- an opponent that was on the same competitive level as Hofstra -- the Pride spit up a three-goal lead with under five minutes to play in regulation. Hofstra all but had an NCAA Tournament bid sewn up and couldn't close the deal. "But Harvard . . ." obfuscates the issue: The Pride had everything it needed to take a decision out of the selection committee's hands and duff'd it in historic fashion. Hofstra had the game against the opponent it needed to realize its postseason dreams and fell apart at the worst time possible.

THE DISTANT FUTURE

Seth Tierney concentrated his starts into -- for all intents and purposes -- the same 10 players last season. Only five of those cats -- Sam Llinares, Mike Malave, Korey Hendrickson, Finn Sullivan, and Chris Selva -- are currently listed on the Pride's 2015 roster, that quintet accounting for just under 50 percent of the team's total starts from a year ago. From the team's starting lineup in the THUNDERDOME! Tournament title game last season, Hofstra will need to replace: Two-thirds of its attack (Torin Varn and Lance Yapor accounted for almost a third of the team's goals in 2014 and about a quarter of the team's total points); two-third of its starting close defense; and a 22-goal scorer in the midfield in Drew Coholan. The Pride isn't starting over, but there is some transition taking place on Long Island.