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.
Against UNC, O’Neill shot 70%. It was his best shooting game of the year. But the thing that stands out for the Duke offense in this have-to-have it victory is the turnovers. Their turnover rate was 21.4%, which was the lowest mark of the season.
In 9 wins this year, the Blue Devils have turned the ball over 30.6% of the time. In 4 losses, that number is 43.4%. O’Neill’s ball security rating this year is an 89 out of 100. Will be curious to see how their turnover numbers look a few weeks from now.
Cornell won an ugly one against Dartmouth on Saturday, but things were a bit more…free-flowing shall we say in their win over Colgate. And CJ Kirst was more than happy to take advantage. His first top-EGA game of the season was a well-rounded performance.
In fact, well-rounded has been the primary characteristic of his 2022 campaign. The Colgate game was the fifth time this year that he had at least 2 goals, 2 assists, and 3 ground balls. Put it all together and you’ve got (surprise surprise) a very well-rounded season.
The BU defense got the attention in the early going. As BU started hot, everyone glommed on to the easiest explanation for their newfound shine. But Timmy Ley, Vince DAlto and crew have quietly put together an impressive season in their own right.
In this one, Ley’s 9 points paced the team. It was also the 3rd game this year that he had at least 4 points and zero turnovers. Don’t look know, but the offense is now the 24th ranked opponent-adjusted unit in the country.
It does seem a bit unfair. Doesn’t it? Last year, after adjusting for the quality of the opponents faced, Maryland had the 2nd best offense and the 6th best defense. That got them to within one goal of an undefeated national championship run. And given the role that Petey LaSalla played in that Cavs win, it’s fair to look at the 27th rated FOGO unit as the weak leg in the Terps’ stool.
Fast forward to 2022 and the Terps are now the best offense, the 3rd best defense, and they have the 2nd rated opponent-adjusted faceoff unit. Yikes. For those following the faceoff Elo ratings, Luke Wierman’s game against Michigan has him in the seventh spot nationally.
Not a memorable day for the Griffins. But we don’t dock player stat lines because of team losses. And while the 14-11 L against Manhattan was not pretty, Johnny Richiusa’s 19 faceoff wins, plus the goal he scored lands him here.
And we also don’t dock players for having great numbers against bad teams (yes, Manhattan has the lowest rated opponent-adjusted faceoff unit in the country). So congratulations Johnny on setting a new career high for faceoff wins.
Things you love to see. Players increasing their volume without sacrificing their efficiency. That was Alex Slusher against Brown, who took a season-high 12 shots and still shot 50%. The 6 goals was a season high and most importantly, it was also one of his most efficient games of the year. Here’s what his season looks like.
I’m not sure how concerning this is, but the Brown game does mark the 3rd consecutive game with zero assists for Slusher. My gut says that it’s not a cause for concern because of his 29 goals this year, 22 are unassisted. As he becomes more and more a point of emphasis for opponents, the risk is that if he has a game where those unassisted goals start to become turnovers, do the Tigers have a plan to adjust as needed?
This one is definitely a candidate for most exciting game of the week. And given the thunderdome that is the Patriot League, it was one of the more meaningful results as well.
Given the margin in this one, it’s fair to say that without Coletti’s 19 faceoff wins, the Black Knights probably don’t pull this one out. Or you could look at it another way: the goal he scored equaled the final Army cushion.
Towson won 72% of the faceoffs against Drexel. The last time that the Tigers won that many faceoffs was last year, March 6th against…Drexel.
The tricky thing for Towson is that they’ve got 2 FOGOs (Shane Santora and Constantinides) who are almost exactly the same. In the faceoff Elo model, Santora has a 1492 rating (1500 is average) and Constantinides has a 1487 rating. Both very slightly below average.
Santora has taken 41% of the Tigers draws and Constantinides has taken 36%. You might argue that giving one guy all the draws might help, but when you look at their win rate by quarter, neither guy has any real trend one way or the other. Not sure what you do there.
Ah, the 22-6 game that wasn’t as close as the final score makes it look. The Irish still have work to do though. They have 3 wins and 5 games left. Based on their final record over those 5, here’s how often the projections have them in the NCAA field:
Now the upside is that their adjusted efficiency ratings have been that of a top-5 team all season. The Irish as in the very odd position of being good enough to make Championship Weekend, but with a schedule that may prevent them from making the tournament at all. The science of schedule construction has been overlooked too long.
Yes, the Providence defense entered this one as the 58th rated opponent-adjusted defense in the country. But still, you don’t see 9-goal quarters very often. It was just the 22nd time that’s happened this year.
The Golden Eagles onslaught included 17 shots, of which 13 were on cage. They had the ball for 68% of the first quarter thanks to an 82% faceoff win rate during the frame. I know that one quarter does not make an offense, but any team that is capable of that should strike at least some fear in the hearts of the conference heavyweights.
And you can’t look at this performance without taking stock of first-year player Bobby O’Grady. He’s been the top option for Coach Stimmel’s group this year, having taken 21% of the teams shots overall. The issue, as with so many first-year players is turnovers. He can shoot lights out, but the issue is what to do when that’s not working. No matter against Providence, since it was definitely working in this one.
The entire reason for LacrosseReference to exist is to make it more fun to be a lacrosse fan, parent, player, or coach. What began in a bar with an empty Google search for an NCAA game win probability has become the sport’s leading source for non-vanilla stats, analytics, and insights. Thank you to those who’ve been following along since 2015 and welcome to those who are just discovering how LacrosseReference makes it more fun to follow college lacrosse.