LacrosseReference / New England Lacrosse Journal: 2022 AEC Preview
Now for something new. I’ve run through several of the New England programs and put them under the LacrosseReference microscope. This isn’t going to contain very many predictions. My goal is to give you a sense of where each program is heading into the 2022 season and which players and games are likely to determine their success or failure as the season unfolds.
Today we are going to cover the 2 New England teams from the America East conferences. The teams are presented in order of their current LaxElo ratings. Let’s go…
Vermont is coming off a year where, for the first time since I’ve been tracking college lacrosse stats, they had a dominant faceoff guy in Tommy Burke. The Catamounts ended the year having earned 89 more possessions than their opponents. Their opponent-adjusted faceoff win rate was 66.9% (good for 3rd nationally).
The offense used those extra possessions to put up a 31.7% opponent-adjusted offensive efficiency mark, which was good for 20th nationally (and 3rd in the AEC). It was the defense that proved the weak link, giving up a 30.2% adj-efficiency mark (41st nationally).
This is a team that is looking to separate itself from the rest of the AEC teams. With another year of development from Burke, they’ll have a tailwind that no other team in the conference can match.
Strength-of-Schedule is estimated using the LacrosseReference Lax-Elo model, which assigns every team a rating based on their wins-and-losses and the scores of those games. For reference, the average team is assigned a 1500 rating.
Vermont MLAX Overall SOS: 1471 (46th nationally)
Non-Conference: 1533 (29th)
The toughest 3-game stretch for Vermont MLAX comes between Feb 6th and Feb 16th. Their average win probability in these 3 games is 49.5%
|@ Penn State||1588||26th||52%|
|@ Stony Brook||1559||33rd||56%|
|Games in blue are part of the critical stretch for Vermont MLAX|
Returning Talent Breakdown
Continuity is the name of the game. They return 92% of their overall production from last season’s roster.
This section may not always show the best or most well-known players on a roster. We’re really trying to shine a spotlight on the players that will determine each team’s overall success or failure.
Below is a selection of players likely to have an out-sized impact on the success of the Catamounts this year
|Tommy Burke||TOP SKILL: the thing that most stands out is Ball Security; his performance last season puts him in the 91st percentile nationally.
FACEOFF ELO: He enters the season as the 5th-rated faceoff guy based on the faceoff Elo model.
|Michael McCormack||TOP SKILL: his mark of 37.1 Offensive EGA tells the story of his season last year. That figure works out to the 99th percentile nationally
TEAM LEADER: He was the primary marksman on the team last year having taken a team-high 113 shots.
|Thomas McConvey||TOP SKILL: his mark of 37.4 Offensive EGA tells the story of his season last year. That figure works out to the 99th percentile nationally
TEAM LEADER: He was the leading goal-scorer on the team last year with a total tally of 37 goals scored.
|David Closterman||TOP SKILL: his mark of 31.9 Offensive EGA tells the story of his season last year. That figure works out to the 98th percentile nationally
TEAM LEADER: He was the top distributor on the team last year; no one had more assists last year than his 22.
|Liam Limoges||TOP SKILL: the thing that most stands out is Offensive EGA; his performance last season puts him in the 98th percentile nationally.
I don’t think we need to sugarcoat things here. From a statistical point of view, the Riverhawks are very glad to see 2021 in the rearview. After accounting for the strength of their 2021 opponents, they ended the year with the 6th best offense (measured by efficiency) in the league. On defense and faceoffs they were last.
The bright spot for UMass Lowell-MLAX is the potential of their young guys, and to the coaching staff’s credit, the young guys on this team got a lot of playing time last year. And the future is bright; their top three most efficient players (measured by usage-adjusted EGA) were all first-year players.
Niall Cremin and Jake Davis were both very effective distributors. Cremin was in the top percentile for individual assist rate and in the 2nd percentile for assist-to-turnover ratio. Ball security was Davis’ strength. And Sean-Park-pro showed glimpses of the sharp-shooter DNA with a 97th percentile mark for excess-shooting percentage. (For context, hero-shooter Mac O’Keefe ended his career with a 92nd percentile mark on this metric.)
UMass-Lowell MLAX Overall SOS: 1430 (60th nationally)
Non-Conference: 1414 (60th)
The toughest 3-game stretch for UMass-Lowell MLAX comes between Apr 2nd and Apr 16th. Their average win probability in these 3 games is 8.9%
|vs Sacred Heart||1266||67th||38%|
|@ Stony Brook||1559||33rd||10%|
|vs Holy Cross||1428||51st||20%|
|Games in blue are part of the critical stretch for UMass-Lowell MLAX|
Returning Talent Breakdown
It’s not that the cupboard is bare; it’s just that the players that filled it last year are no longer around. In fact, 31% of the team’s total production is no longer on the roster this year.
Below is a selection of players likely to have an out-sized impact on the success of the River Hawks this year
|Conor Foley||TOP SKILL: the thing that most stands out is Offensive EGA; his performance last season puts him in the 92nd percentile nationally.
TEAM LEADER: He was the leading goal-scorer on the team last year with a total tally of 11 goals scored.
|Domenic Giachello||TOP SKILL: his mark of 1.4 Points/Gm tells the story of his season last year. That figure works out to the 90th percentile nationally
TEAM LEADER: He was the top distributor on the team last year; no one had more assists last year than his 8.
|Jake Davis||TOP SKILL: his most impressive statistical category last season was Points/Gm, where he ranked in the 93rd percentile among qualifying players nationally.
|Liam McDonough||TOP SKILL: his mark of 3.2 Offensive EGA tells the story of his season last year. That figure works out to the 81st percentile nationally
FACEOFF ELO: Based on the entirety of his career faceoffs and accounting for the guys he has faced, he enters the season as the 89th-rated faceoff guy in the country.
|Kyle LaForge||TOP SKILL: the thing that most stands out is Offensive EGA; his performance last season puts him in the 86th percentile nationally.
Basketball has KenPom; lacrosse has LacrosseReference. Zack produces live win probabilities for every game, and manages the free LR Newsletter. As part of mission to make lacrosse more fun to coach, play and follow, he also runs a season-long Win Totals contest and a Bracket Challenge for the NCAA tournament each spring.