The Stags’ faceoff unit looks like a beacon of stability, thanks to the return of Dylan Smith, who not only brings experience but also demonstrated skill, having been in the 97th percentile for total faceoff-related production. His near 50% win rate is a solid foundation for the Stags to try and build upon. He finished the year as the 49th best FOGO in the country for a unit which finished the year in the 26th percentile. With 98% of their faceoff experience returning, Fairfield is poised to fortify this aspect of their game, potentially giving them less of a possession deficit and, by extension, more control over the pace of their games.
The offensive end of the field tells a different story. The departure of key players, like the sharpshooter Jack McKenna, means that Fairfield is now tasked with replenishing a full 42% of their offensive output. McKenna’s absence leaves a significant void, given that he took 18% of the team’s shots, and his replacement’s efficiency will critically impact the team’s scoring capabilities. The onus will likely fall on players like Bryce Ford and Will Consoli, who have shown promising glimpses of their scoring abilities, to step up and fill the gap. Ford, with his commendable efficiency rating (69 on our 100-point scale) and 23% of the team’s assist total, seems primed to become a more central figure in the offensive scheme. Consoli is a guy that will need to be more efficient if he’s to take on a larger role. He finished the year with a 29 rating for individual efficiency.
Looking ahead, the Fairfield offense has a considerable hill to climb. After finishing in the lower half nationally in terms of opponent-adjusted offensive efficiency (42nd percentile), the loss of such a significant percentage of their contributors could either be a stumbling block or an opportunity for new talent to emerge and propel the team forward. But it all depends on whether the fresher faces that outperform McKenna’s 52 rating for individual efficiency. An offense is the sum of its parts.
In sum, Fairfield’s roster reflects both promise and challenges. The continuity at faceoff is encouraging, but the offensive losses are a hurdle that will test the team’s adaptability and depth. As the Stags look to reverse their fortunes, the real litmus test will be whether the fresh faces on the roster can translate potential into performance and improve upon last year’s benchmarks. The coming season will be a proving ground, not just for individual talent but for the program’s collective ability to take a step out of the lower ranks in college lacrosse.
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P.S. What did I miss? Data-centric analyses like this can miss things that don’t show up in the stats (i.e. injuries/coaching changes). If you can help explain any of the above, put it in the comments.