More important than goaltending, ground balls, shooting
by RagingBull (2023-03-20 12:07:09)

In reply to: I have to disagree. F/O is but one element, but  posted by Fightorflight

percentage, clearing and riding?

That argument may have had more validity during the pre-shot clock days especially when offenses were copying Tierney's bleed-it out for the best shot approach. As far back as the 90s and up until recently - with the advance of sticks and a better selection of high school athletes - you could win the Faceoff and kill the clock with a 3-minute possession and wait for the best shot. You could create space, take a run at it and pull back if the shot wasn't there. You could tire out the defense by holding the ball and creating motion. Your best Attacker could hang back at the X while you set up a 1-3-2 or 1-2-3 motion offense and after 2 minutes dump it to a cutter. Byrne was a master at defending this because his D forced bad passes and pressured the X and relied on goalies to make outside shot saves.

The shot clock changed a lot as did the advent of specialty players like short stick D middies. Subbing has become more complicated and nuanced. The game is faster and while scoring is up - leading to more faceoffs - it's another possession number. But there are 90 things that happen after the faceoff. Blaming faceoffs as the cause-and-effect of a win-loss scenario is a surface-level analysis of a lacrosse game.

We are up 213-183 in GBs this year (that stat factors in Faceoffs). We are .625 in Man-up and have held opponents' to .278. Liam is just barely under 60%. Those numbers are more important and are phenomenal.

If we lose it's because those numbers decline. If we lose the Ground ball battle - and lose Faceoffs - we're screwed. If we lose the Faceoff battle and we lose goaltending, we're in bad shape. Or - we may lose because UVA has better athletes. I believe they have 3-4 D 1 football recruits.

I don't disagree with the sentiment that faceoffs need to improve. The numbers are low and whether it's Lynch or the wings - or just a match-up problem - there's no doubt we need to do better.

I just take issue with threads dedicated to one guy and theories that whether we win the National Championship rest on his numbers. There are too many other factors that will play a role.