Each week, we will look back at the games that were to see which players had the largest individual performances. I say largest because the contributions that we can measure (from play by play) tend to be things that are easy to count. This includes, goals, shots, assists, turnovers, penalties, etc. We can’t measure a defender who shuts down an opposing player so completely that he doesn’t even touch the ball. Still, it is interesting to be able to identify the players that really filled it up each weekend and give them a shout out here.
For a bit of background, in order to rank single game performances, we needed a way to condense box score stats to a single number for each player. In order to do this, we relied on our expected goal values methodology, which assigns a goal value to each type of play depending on how often it leads to a goal in the next 60 seconds. By adding up all the expected goals added for each player, we can get to that single number and these rankings.
We have also tagged each performance with the opponent’s ELO rating. The higher the number, the stronger the opponent. This should help to give some context for each performance. Did the player feast on the dregs of D1 or did they put up these numbers against a quality opponent?
Click on any player’s name or the PRO logo () and you’ll head straight to the detailed breakdown on their LacrosseReference PRO page. As opposed to last year, all players appearing in the weekly rundown are unlocked and the information on their page is available to all readers.
Over two games this week, Zach Cole put up 40 faceoff wins against just 13 faceoff losses. In the loss to Drexel, he also added a goal on 3 shots. The +8 possession margin was nearly enough to overcome the superior per-possession efficiency from Drexel…but not quite.
Cole was one of the faceoff guys that seemed to be most affected by the weirdness of the Covid-19 season in 2021. He won just 68% of his faceoffs last year, down from 76% in the shortened 2020 season. Well, safe to say he’s back to form this year.
Hughson didn’t have much luck against Tommy Burke in the Friars’ win over Vermont on Saturday. But let’s not let that take away from what he was able to do against Sacred Heart. His 23 faceoffs wins bested his previous career high of 13. As a freshman, it’s taken him a few games for him to get his “shot” as the primary faceoff guy for Providence.
With a faceoff Elo rating of 1557, Hughson is above average according to that model (64th percentile FOGO). For a team trying to scratch out a place in the Big East, having someone like Hughson to give them a possession advantage would be a huge get.
The Titans tend to play at a pace that is not conducive to amassing a lot of EGA. On the year, they’ve averaged just 37 offensive possessions per game. But since this list is compiled using total EGA AND a measure of player efficiency, guys like Erskine have a shot this year. And in this one, it was his individual efficiency that put him over the top.
Among games this year with at least 7 points scored, Erskine’s 4.52 uaEGA in this one is the fifth highest mark. 6 goals on 7 shots and no turnovers plus 5 GBs. Yeah, efficient.
Yale survived and kept their NCAA hopes above water. As of this writing, the Elis have an 81% chance at an NCAA bid come May.
It’s been quite a bounce back for Brandau since the loss to Penn State. Over the past two games, he’s shot 9 for 16 and put up an 8-point and 7-point game. That said, this has been a balanced offense so far; Brandau’s highest play share was 8.1% against PSU. 5 different players have at last 10 percent of the team’s shots. But Brandau has stood above. His worst statistical category is ball security, and he’s still a 73 (I use a Madden-style 0 to 100 scale)
Pretty solid stat line for Dwyer in this one. His play share in this one was 11.1% and that number has steadily risen every game so far this year. His shooting percentages aren’t going to wow you, but he’s been serviceable there (41st percentile). But add 3 assists to his 4 goals and you see how he made the list this week.
For his career, his distributor-skills have always been his strength. Last year, he rated an 80 (out of 100) for assist rate, and while he’s down a bit this year 64th percentile; that still makes him an above-average facilitator. The Seahawks’ D has been the story this year, but at least on this day, the offense carried their share of the load too.
Macrae appears to have figured some things out this year. Through 5 games, his individual player efficiency rating is an 81 (out of 100). In his freshman year last season, he was a 37. You don’t see too much year on year increases like that.
His shooting is the obvious factor. He’s an 84 this year (40% shooting) after rating in the 26th percentile for shooting last season. Less obvious are his strides in ball security. He’s averaging 0.5 turnovers fewer per game (.80 vs 1.3), but when you account for the fact that he’s getting a lot more touches this year (11.4% play share vs 7.0% last year), his ball security rating has gone from the 46th percentile to the 71st.
On an opponent-adjusted basis, this was the best game of the year for the Colgate offense. And it was their shooting that did it. 36% for the team marked a season-high and for Brian Minicus, it was a nice shooting day as well. 56% (5 of 9) is the 6th best shooting percentage of his career.
The strength for Minicus throughout his career has been his assist rate. He was in the 92nd percentile on a per-touch basis last year and is above average (69th percentile) this year. Surprisingly though, his assists are down a bit this year while he’s taking twice as many shots as he did last year. And honestly, for a guy who struggles with ball security issues, that’s probably a good trade.
Now, conference seeding simulations are based on LaxElo, so they don’t explicitly incorporate a team’s stats. And because LaxElo starts with the prior season as a baseline, you could argue that it underweights the impact that Coletti has had on Army’s prospects.
Against Lafayette, his 22 wins helped Army to a +9 possession advantage and allowed the Black Knights to play patient, with an average possession length of 52 seconds.
I haven’t done much research on this question, but Stathakis’ 2022 season suggests that the benefits persist even after the transfer moves on. True, Stathakis won 63% of his draws last year vs 58% this year, but when you account for the strength of the opposing faceoff guys, his faceoff Elo rating is up from last season. So while the win rate isn’t where it was last year, he’s actually been better on an opponent-adjusted basis.
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