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Bogus Megapardus

Navy

Saturday at Noon, Rappolt Field.  Dear Athletic Dept. - did you see the crowd for the Providence game?  Overflow parking?  How about some port-a-johns, and maybe even the Leopard mascot?

Navy is inexplicably 1-4 to date with a win over VMI and losses to Jacksonville, North Carolina and Bucknell.  In fact the Mids lot badly to Jacksonville, which has no business playing lacrosse in the first place. Navy lost by a goal to UNC - a team which Lehigh beat by a goal - suggesting that UNC really isn't all that good this year. Navy is Bucknell's only win; the Bison have a brutal schedule and two of their losses are OT.

In other words, the Pards can and should win this game at home.  Even if we repeat some of the horrors I witness and Rutgers, we can win this game.  But we're not going to win it without faceoff success and without taking advantage of out offensive speed on the clears.

Navy is our first PL game.  After Navy, the Pards face a ranked, 4-0 Fairfield squad that will be 6-0 by the time we get there.

Our guys have to go all out vs. Navy at home.  We should be 3-1 right now but we're not.  A win Saturday is essential to make up for the Bingo and Rutgers losses.

Right now the forecast is clear and sunny but cold - low 40s.  NW wind will seem amplified as always at Meztgar.  There seems to be an increased amount of tailgating in the Metzgar parking lot before and at halftime of lax games this season.  Even more so at the Rutgers game.
seenalot

Right on all points but I just dont see how the face-off problem gets turned around quickly - and thats a huge problem.   Have not looked at the stats recently but as I recall all three of the kids taking them are well under 50%.  

You played, so you know how critical those extra possessions are in tight games - and we are not blowing anyone else out.  Comeback victories are hell if you cant string together a few goals, and good teams just wont turn the rock over enough to make up the difference.

Conversely I do think clears are something coaching and practice can improve.

Hopeful against Navy - its just not going to get easier.
Bogus Megapardus

The game will be live streamed on CBS All Access/ULive.  There are ways to get it free but you should just pay for it.
PardsLax

I hope I'm wrong but it's hard for me to see a win against Navy.  They seem way too athletic/quick for our defense.  Last year, their middies (Nikk Davis in particular) just blew by the short stick middies, the slides came late or not at all, and their quick little attackmen (Jones and Hull) had a field day.  Their faceoff guy, Logan West, is only winning 48% of draws this season (largely due to getting owned by Keenan from UNC) but went 16/23 against an experienced Munoz last year.  They have very dedicated fans and I'm sure a good number will make it to Easton and make it seem like a home game environment for them.  In any event, it would be great if LC could pull out a victory and the way things have gone in D1 this year, anything seems possible.
RichH

CBSS expanding Lax coverage a lot this yr. College, and both proleagues
seenalot

Improved faceoffs but too many mistakes otherwise, and a hot goaltender on the other side.  Its now a season on the brink.
Xboreturns

The game was over 10 seconds into the second half. First, we gave up two goals in the last minute of the 2Q, then let them score 10 seconds in the 3Q.
Bogus Megapardus

OK, things are not as bad as they look - seriously.  It's not like we're trotting out the DIII-type squads we used to see a decade and more ago.

But Navy was beatable, and we could have beaten then this afternoon except for one thing - transition.  We flat out stink in transition.  I honestly don't know what is being coached or why (though it looks to me the guys are just trying to be ultra conservative with the ball) but whatever it is, it has got to change.

On offense, we're the same.  Not too shabby, although the speed and power is coming from guys like Heffernan and Prusoff which, quite frankly, is not at all what I might have guessed going into this season.  Navy's much larger, more physical defensive three gave us trouble but they were nowhere near as good as some we're going to see later in the season.

Navy's R.J. Wickham in goal has been giving us fits since he started as a freshman and remains one of the top DI goalies.  His athleticism was on display one again today.  For the Pards, it looked like we changed goalies at the half, although I didn't realize it until Hyatt got burned almost immediately.  I think Andrusko is better, bu what do I know?

Defensively we still are no match for a very physical, well-conditioned team like Navy.  They have superior stamina and they obviously spend as much time as they can in the weight room.  Our poles haven't put any weight on since last week, that's for sure.

But today's game was all about transition - faceoffs, GBs and clears.  We flat out stunk.  I'm sure the stats are going to show that we were even or maybe even ahead in faceoff possession, but that's not the whole story.  We got a few favorable procedure call calls and, to our credit, scooped up a few contested GBs off faceoffs that that looked to be in Navy's control.  Keep in mind that Navy was 1-3 coming in an near the bottom of the RPI chart.

Anyone who has ever been to lacrosse practice or camp knows what a "Braveheart" drill is.  And Navy made it look simple out there today.  They scooped up the ball on faceoff and drove it immediately and seamlessly to the goal, without batting and eyelash.  And Lafayette just opened up the barn doors and let them all run on in.  This is not on the goalie, folks.  This is all about being unprepared to defend a fast break, and man did it show today.

And the Pards were anemic again on clears and offensive transitions.  I sense that the Pards couldn't create a clear and break to save their lives so they're not about to try.  Instead, we go into sideline passing mode between the long pole, while I hold my freakin' breath with every pass.  Seriously, when we do that, I can almost feel a turnover coming on any second.

There's more, but it's too painful to write.

I will continue to maintain that the Pards have some bright spots especially on offense.  That said, we stand zero chance against Fairfield this week and probably less than that against Bucknell on Saturday.  Both teams are far superior to Navy.
seenalot

Post season coaching change in order?  

Has been a painful swirl since we were ranked (perhaps not deserved) two years ago.
Bogus Megapardus

seenalot wrote:
Post season coaching change in order?  

Has been a painful swirl since we were ranked (perhaps not deserved) two years ago.


We don't even play that tough of a schedule outside of the Patriot League.  I don't know if it's coaching, lack of scholarships or just that a marginally supported program that plays on field hockey turf in a wind tunnel doesn't attract top players.

We're miles better than we were at one time, for sure.  Several years ago, we were ranked becasue no one had scouted us and did not take us seriously.  They do now.  The PL consistently has multiple teams in the top 20.  Patriot League lacrosse is serious and well-regarded in general.

I hold out no hope for lax scholarships unless they are endowed by a wealthy alum who likes the game.    Just one or two rides would be huge, but we're not getting them.  If WLax gets scholarships (in light of football) that will elevate the men's program in terms of any new facilities or national attention.  If WLax makes the NCAAs (the way FH did) some of that will rub off on MLax.

We play schools like Fairfield and Loyola (and now Hofstra) where MLax is their football - their premiere outdoor sport.  All the scholarship money and facilities dollars go to lacrosse.  Lafayette could never match that (but of course Lafayette has premiere football facilities that those schools can't match).

Lafayette's location is a bonus.  It's so easy to get to for visiting H.S. kids.  The problem is, no one knows we're here.  Tons of H.S. kids show up at Rutgers, and they're really no better than we are at this point.  Today's lax players have to have the speed, acceleration and burst of their football counterparts.  We're not getting a lot of those kids.  We recruit in the right places and from the right schools, but we're just not getting the best kids.
Bogus Megapardus

On the heels of its win over #4 North Carolina, the Festering Filth just beat #15 Yale, 11-7.

Lehigh Coach Kevin Cassese was captain at Duke team and was an assistant coach under Mike Pressler when Duke won the national championship.  Cassese was an All-American in 2002 and 2003.  He scored 80 goals and recorded 38 assists in his career, and was a two-time Tewaaraton finalist.  He was ACC Player of the Year in 2001, and won the  MacLaughlin Award as the nation’s top midfielder in 2002.

By contrast Lafayette's Terry Mangan was a goalie at DIII Roanoke.

Roanoke is a top DIII program, and I like Terry Mangan a lot.  But maybe it is the coaching.
Franks Tanks

Bogus Megapardus wrote:
On the heels of its win over #4 North Carolina, the Festering Filth just beat #15 Yale, 11-7.

Lehigh Coach Kevin Cassese was captain at Duke team and was an assistant coach under Mike Pressler when Duke won the national championship.  Cassese was an All-American in 2002 and 2003.  He scored 80 goals and recorded 38 assists in his career, and was a two-time Tewaaraton finalist.  He was ACC Player of the Year in 2001, and won the  MacLaughlin Award as the nation’s top midfielder in 2002.

By contrast Lafayette's Terry Mangan was a goalie at DIII Roanoke.

Roanoke is a top DIII program, and I like Terry Mangan a lot.  But maybe it is the coaching.


Lehigh just has better players. Just like basketball, football, baseball, and pretty much every sport except field hockey and men's soccer.
Easton Assin

So you point out a lot of issues: face offs, clears, defence, etc.......  You compare to Lehigh.  You mention Scholarships as a reason - sure, but how many scholarships do they have available?  1 or 2 maybe 3?  You ask if we recruit the right kids?  There is some talent on the field?

 Lets go back to you other issues.  Why do they do what the do on the field?  They do what they are coached to do.  watching the clears is a painful thing.  They clear everything but the ball!  Everyone runs to a spot leaving the goalie to wait until they get there.  By that time the defence is already on their ride!.  Transition,; what transition?  They cross mid filed and wait to switch personnel .  seenalot has it right!  Time for some young blood!
PardsLax

[quote="Bogus Megapardus:23991"]OK, things are not as bad as they look - seriously.  It's not like we're trotting out the DIII-type squads we used to see a decade and more ago.

But Navy was beatable, and we could have beaten then this afternoon except for one thing - transition.  We flat out stink in transition.  I honestly don't know what is being coached or why (though it looks to me the guys are just trying to be ultra conservative with the ball) but whatever it is, it has got to change.

On offense, we're the same.  Not too shabby, although the speed and power is coming from guys like Heffernan and Prusoff which, quite frankly, is not at all what I might have guessed going into this season.  Navy's much larger, more physical defensive three gave us trouble but they were nowhere near as good as some we're going to see later in the season.

Navy's R.J. Wickham in goal has been giving us fits since he started as a freshman and remains one of the top DI goalies.  His athleticism was on display one again today.  For the Pards, it looked like we changed goalies at the half, although I didn't realize it until Hyatt got burned almost immediately.  I think Andrusko is better, bu what do I know?

Defensively we still are no match for a very physical, well-conditioned team like Navy.  They have superior stamina and they obviously spend as much time as they can in the weight room.  Our poles haven't put any weight on since last week, that's for sure.

But today's game was all about transition - faceoffs, GBs and clears.  We flat out stunk.  I'm sure the stats are going to show that we were even or maybe even ahead in faceoff possession, but that's not the whole story.  We got a few favorable procedure call calls and, to our credit, scooped up a few contested GBs off faceoffs that that looked to be in Navy's control.  Keep in mind that Navy was 1-3 coming in an near the bottom of the RPI chart.

Anyone who has ever been to lacrosse practice or camp knows what a "Braveheart" drill is.  And Navy made it look simple out there today.  They scooped up the ball on faceoff and drove it immediately and seamlessly to the goal, without batting and eyelash.  And Lafayette just opened up the barn doors and let them all run on in.  This is not on the goalie, folks.  This is all about being unprepared to defend a fast break, and man did it show today.

And the Pards were anemic again on clears and offensive transitions.  I sense that the Pards couldn't create a clear and break to save their lives so they're not about to try.  Instead, we go into sideline passing mode between the long pole, while I hold my freakin' breath with every pass.  Seriously, when we do that, I can almost feel a turnover coming on any second.

There's more, but it's too painful to write.

I will continue to maintain that the Pards have some bright spots especially on offense.  That said, we stand zero chance against Fairfield this week and probably less than that against Bucknell on Saturday.  Both teams are far superior to Navy.[/quote]

Great observations!  You are right that the box score does not really tell the story of the game, particularly on faceoffs.  We actually won 61% but as you said, the real difference was that when Navy won the faceoff, the ball was rolling right at our goal and their fogo just scooped it up at full sprint leading to many quick goals.  This killed any type of momentum the Pards were able to mount.  When Lafayette was in their settled defense, they actually did OK.

One thing the cumulative statistics could suggest is the the Leopards are playing a fairly conservative brand of lacrosse.  Within the Patriot League, we are last in shots per game although our shooting percentage is second only to Bucknell.  We are dead last in caused turnovers and ground balls (by a lot) and have the lowest penalties and penalty minutes per game.  This is probably a gross generalization but on paper they look like a team playing to avoid mistakes rather than playing with confidence and taking some risks.  If there is any validity to that assessment, no doubt this has something to do with coaching philosophy but perhaps more to do with inexperience at the college level for several of the guys getting significant playing time.  Scheurle and Bock are both freshmen starting at attack and freshman O'Brien is taking a decent amount of faceoffs.  And there are several other freshmen who have been getting in most games.  Evans and Ahsler are sophomores starting at D who saw very limited action last year (Evans appeared in two games and Ahsler does not appear in the stats for 2011) and sophomore goalkeeper Hyatt was injured all last year so didn't have any game experience.  So the good news is that a lot of younger guys are getting good playing time which will pay off later in the season and in future seasons as these guys continue to develop and gain confidence.  This will be a long season for sure but hopefully we can pull out a few wins against the likes of Holy Cross and Marist and give Army and Georgetown a run for their money in Fisher.
Bogus Megapardus

So we're poor on FO, and dead last in caused turnovers and GB.  Well, when you can't get the FO, how then do you get the ball?  Right - by causing TOs.  And having your goalie make the save is NOT the kind of TO you want to rely on (especially since it appears that we never read How to Clear the Ball for Dummies).

I agree that the Pards are running an ultra conservative (and very basic) game that looks to be designed to minimize risk.  And when you "minimize risk" in lacrosse that means one thing only - avoid turnovers.  But is it always worth it?

R.J. Wickham makes a save for Navy then immediately hurls the ball 60 yards downfield into his offensive zone.  The Navy attack knows it's coming and is waiting, but there's still probably a 50-50 chance that it will be picked off or just go out of bounds.  Does Navy care?

Sure they do, but they do it anyhow, becasue they know the Pards are . . . ummm . . . "distracted" during transition and they have confidence in their guys to battle for the ball if it hits the turf or to knock it lose if we intercept.  So it's a high risk play but they do it anyhow.  And it works.

Same with the "Braveheart" move from the X.  You have to believe that the Pard FOGO, if by some miracle he gets a clean scoop, is told to stand off and wait for the offense to come in and get set.  Navy?  Mr. FOGO charges the for crease and leaves our guys out there looking like, "what just happened?"  Yes, it's a game of possession, and you want the make the most of every one, but when you actually DO have possession, sometimes you have to just do it and not think too much.  It's a fine line.

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