NESCAC 2018

NESCAC 2018

New postby M. Laffley on Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:59 pm

As usual, NESCAC had 7 teams ranked in the IWLCA Pre-Season Poll

The IWLCA Division III Coaches Pre-Season Poll is topped by 2017 NCAA National Champion Gettysburg College, who claimed 19 of the 25 available first place votes. The Bullets narrowly edged out #2 TCNJ in the rankings after doing the same in last year's Championship game, a 6-5 defensive battle that saw Gettysburg claim its second NCAA title in program history. Washington and Lee, Trinity, and Middlebury comprise the remainder of the top five in the pre-season poll after going deep in the NCAA tournament last year. Checking in at numbers six through ten are William Smith, Franklin & Marshall, York, Salisbury, and Colby. The NESCAC is again the top conference in Division III with seven teams ranked in the pre-season Top 25, including Hamilton (#12), Tufts (#19), Wesleyan (#20), and Bowdoin (#23), who join the Top 10 peers (Trinity, Middlebury, and Colby).

Rank Institution Points FPV 2017 Record
1 Gettysburg 618 19 21-3
2 TCNJ 605 6 19-2
3 Washington and Lee 559 0 19-2
4 Trinity (CT) 533 0 17-5
5 Middlebury 519 0 16-5
6 William Smith 482 0 20-2
7 Franklin & Marshall 472 0 17-5
8 York (PA) 452 0 16-4
9 Salisbury 434 0 16-6
10 Colby 397 0 15-4
11 Ithaca 323 0 14-5
12 Hamilton 314 0 12-6
13 Messiah 311 0 16-3
14 Catholic 302 0 14-5
15 SUNY Brockport 282 0 16-3
16 SUNY Cortland 255 0 14-5
17 Mary Washington 219 0 15-6
18 St. John Fisher 207 0 15-5
19 Tufts 168 0 10-6
20 Wesleyan (CT) 167 0 11-6
21 Colorado College 125 0 15-5
22 Claremont-Mudd 86 0 16-2
23 Bowdoin 62 0 10-6
24 Denison 41 0 15-4
25 Stevens 35 0 13-5
RV Amherst
RV Muhlenberg

The 2018 Coaches Poll has been expanded to include 25 teams in all three NCAA Divisions this year in order to more accurately reflect the growth of the game at the collegiate level in recent years. The first Division III regular season poll for the 2018 season will be published on February 26.
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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby cto on Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:17 pm

You can probably throw away this poll. The shot clock and free movement in the game will change D3 dramatically. Personally I will be happy not to see the 6-5 games with 20 min of stalling.
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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby 21laxer on Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:30 am

You don’t think any of these coaches will adjust?
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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby M. Laffley on Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:34 am

Agreed.

I expect the top-tier teams with roster depth to run multiple midfield lines. The result will be an even wider gap between these programs and the rest of D-3.
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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby playlax on Mon Feb 12, 2018 9:00 am

21laxer wrote:You don’t think any of these coaches will adjust?


21laxer - what are your referencing here?
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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby 21laxer on Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:15 pm

Playlax- I was responding to cto’s post. I do not think the rule changes will shake up the top 25 much. I think there are a lot of great coaches leading those teams that are innovative and can adapt. I’m sure many of them have been brainstorming and researching. Maybe I’ll be proved wrong in May? I do wonder/worry that M Laffley May be right. The disparity may widen between top tier teams and the rest—I hope this is not the case. Coaching Friends have also argued the other point that the other team will have a chance to get the ball back. I guess we will see soon. I think in a month we will all have a much better understanding standing of the impact of the rule changes. Good luck!
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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby netrip on Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:36 am

Not trying to be provocative here at all; I'm new to women's D3 this year, so I have no real frame of reference for this query, but are the best D3 teams so deep that they have multiple lines of middies to run that won't be a substantial to dramatic drop-off in ability from their top line(s)?

i.e., if team A has a roster of 33 girls and team B has 23, are those last 10 players on A's bench, maybe 5 of whom play midfield, good enough to run significant minutes to spell the best lines without hurting the team overall? I've been watching IAAM high school games the last four years (albeit without the new rules), and it seemed the giant roster teams didn't actually play too many more girls than the thinner roster teams when the outcome was genuinely at issue, although they admittedly could probably withstand injury better.
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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby cto on Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:02 pm

The changes will not be affected by midfield depth. It is the decision making in transition by defenders and midfield. Also the more deliberate offenses ( not just NESCAC schools) will have to be more quick strike in nature. Some teams have the athletes some do not. I predict more upsets and after looking at that top 25-I know at least a few will not be there at the end. The free motion in my opinion allows the defenders to run back in position more than letting the offense keep going. Also with 3 second calls being FPS makes installing zone/backer d more risky . D1 has had a year to digest the shot clock before the free motion -D3 will be thrown right in . Great coaches can only do so much to get these teams ready. The real strategy will be weather to zone ride or man to burn the 90 sec clock. Any weak link in transition will get exposed.
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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby seacoaster on Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:21 pm

I think teams are going to need an additional "line" of midfielders come late April and May; the pace of play will generally increase and fatigue and heat will become factors. So in the NESCAC, what are the general size of lineups: 24-30? At some point, teams are going to need a bench that can play.
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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby baldbear on Mon Feb 19, 2018 11:16 pm

President’s Day means D3 lacrosse is close to full swing. Not making any predictions this year but taking the cowardly approach of predicting/guessing if each team can finish in the same place as last year (see what I did there).

Using simple math, an analytic I don’t really understand to rate defense (D1 uses it but I don’t have access to all variables for D3 so it’s worthless) and pure guessing. As a current best friend assistant coach has wisely said, you never know what you will get from freshman so you take what they can give you. So I’m not guessing how good a freshman class is but rather I’ll note what schools usually recruit well (see what I did there, Part II).

I will use a tried and true standard that usually does give an indication of how well a team can carry on from the year before—graduated goals and what percentage a team is losing. If a team can stay in the 30-35% range that is average because your sophomore to senior folks do provide, generally, your goals. Anything north of that, north of 40%, and you will need a step up from existing players or count on a freshman. Anything significantly south of that and you have that perennial young team hitting that mature stage (ahem, Tufts).

I watched a lot of NESCAC and D3 games last year so my “Key Graduates” are folks I actually watched playing and had impacts on the games I watched. I’m not taking anything away from other players.

Also the shot clock, free movement and return of the free position 3 second foul all important.

So without further ado, here are my probably wrong predictions.

1) Middlebury
31% graduated goals
Key graduates: O’Donnell, Smith

They should stay at the top and be the team to beat. Recruits well, coaches well, lost an average amount of goals and had highest defensive score in the aforementioned but somewhat flawed defense analytics. Shot clock not an issue for this team as well. You are number one until someone knocks you off.

2) Hamilton
43% graduated goals
Key graduates: File, Fletcher

So a new number two snuck in last year. Will they stay there…..that 43% number means the goals will have to come somewhere. A good sign is this team has played shot clock offense for the last couple of years so that will not be an issue. Has recruited well (the 2013 class didn’t make NESCAC playoffs and graduated in second place). Has coaching, returning defense (second in analytics) and superb goalie. Anywhere from first to fourth.

3) Trinity
35% graduated goals
Key graduates: Guida, Lyne

Lost to Hamilton late in the year in 2017 only to return the favor in the playoffs. Recruiting and coaching is solid. More than half of the lost goals come from one player so others will have to step up. Defense loses key player but has good foundation. Also has a history of winning which is such an intangible. Predict first to third finish.

4) Colby
34% graduated goals
Key graduates: Perticone, Lubrano

Team got better as season progressed last year. One player accounted for 40% or so of lost goals so losing an impact player on offense and on defense as well. In the games I saw last year shot clock may be an issue for team. I sense some teams behind them may be better. Coach recruits well. This team puzzles me coming in—prediction third to fifth.

5) Wesleyan
43% graduated goals
Key graduates: Mathis, Giacalone, Kelly

Last year this team surprised many but only because of recent past disaster seasons. The players were there. Problem is they aren’t there anymore. They lose a lot of scoring and defense, analytic-wise the most. The coach has done wonders for this team and for that I give a lot of thought. Unless folks pickup the graduating class I predict in the fifth to ninth spot.

6) Tufts
13% graduated goals
Key graduate: Macklin

Tufts versus Hamilton, opening day in Boston. If any early game on the schedule will forecast where either team will be, that’s the game. That young team is not young anymore but veteran. They are getting goals back. They are getting defense back. It’s up to their coach to put these pieces together; this is not a young team anymore. Predict second to sixth.

7) Bowdoin
37% graduated goals
Key graduates: Gallagher, Glenn

Year in, year out I can’t figure this team. Streaky. When hot they look like conference killers and play the top teams that way. Then suddenly cold. The coach is solid, plays up tempo so clock will not be an issue. One graduating player account for 50% of lost goals so who picks that up. Defense is mature. But I have to predict fourth to seventh.

8. Amherst
36% graduated goals
Key graduate: Cagnaggola

If any team will benefit from the shot clock it’s this team because it will force them to do something. They scored the least amount of goals last season. I watched them play several teams last year and any kind of deficit really put them in a bind. So hopefully the clock gets things moving. Lost some defense as well so that may be a concern. Predict six to tenth.

9) Bates
21% graduated goals
Key graduate: Shea

Not losing a lot of goals, which is a good sign. Defense will be a concern. Style not conducive to the clock so adjustments will have to be made there. I just don’t see them competing with the upper half of the conference. Predict seventh to tenth.

10) Williams
30% graduated goals
Key graduate: Chodos

The most likely team to surprise and get up into the playoff bracket. Why? New coach. This is a school that can recruit when they want to. Gritty players coming back. Predict eighth to tenth.

11) Connecticut College
56% graduated goals
Key graduate: Balzotti

56%. Graduating player a lot of those. New coach needs to recruit. To be honest I only saw them play a couple of times last year but didn’t have the talent. Start from scratch and build. Predict eleventh.

That’s all folks. Ultimately means nothing but when you are lax crazy you do these things. That first weekend game of Hamilton at Tufts will be great. Second choice is Amherst at Colby. If you can’t get there stream them.
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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby quackbury on Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:28 pm

Baldbear, that is a well-thought out prediction. I agree with 90% of what you noted, but have a couple of thoughts:

First, I think the game this year will favor teams which can clear well, the ones with speedy defenders who can get back quickly, and midfielders with the legs to excel on the ride. I don't think there are any statistics or metrics from last season that will reflect that. Looking at your rankings, I see at least one team that I think will struggle in this regard, and at least one which should out-perform. But I'll keep those thoughts private for now.

Second, I think the new draw rules will have a big impact. There are some returning players who were monsters on the draw last year. I don't think they will have the same impact this season. But I may be wrong.

Third, while I like the % goals graduated statistic, not all goal scorers had the same impact on their teams. Losing a player like former Bant Martha Griffin, who could dish out assists when covered, and was from all accounts a great teammate, likely hurts more than losing a ball hog who scores a ton of goals but has few assists and can be a b*tch in the locker room.

Fourth, players can be lost to more than just graduation. The rumor mill tells me one team lost one of their top scorers and their ace on the draw because of poor chemistry with the incoming coach. On a NESCAC size roster, that can have a big impact. And in contrast, having players returning from injury can have an outsize positive impact. But I don't think there are any statistics that would help you there, and this isn't like NESCAC football or basketball where you can pick up rumors on active discussion boards.

Ten days to the opener. It can't get here soon enough!
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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby baldbear on Tue Feb 20, 2018 4:54 pm

Quackberry,

Good to hear from you. I suspect we are thinking of the same team with regards to clearing. Let’s connect at the end of the season to see if we are on the same page.

You state all valid points. I could go on and on so I kept it simple. The lost goals is a metric that has been used forever.

You are on the money regarding clearing expertise. I watched a lot of D1 last year (and already this year) and while a factor they clear very well. Not so at D3. As you note the athletic teams that can ride (including attack players) will be a huge factor. When top NESCAC teams play out of conference you can see the difference in the ride—some teams are not used to it.

If you could evaluate teams based on pure talent and play based on pure talent this would all be boring. Injuries, return from injuries, spats with the coach, personal issues, classes (remember those!), team chemistry, long bus rides, etc affect the outcome. These are things you and I might know a little something but that’s all. That’s what makes it fun.

I’m trying to get to Boston for Hamilton/Tufts. I just think that is an early barometer game.

Looking forward to some great chatter this year. Thanks for the 90% score. I’m sure it’s too high.

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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby M. Laffley on Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:31 pm

Biggest surprise of the first weekend has to be the blow out win by Tufts against Hamilton.

Williams taking Wes to OT at Wes is also a mild surprise.
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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby quackbury on Mon Mar 05, 2018 11:49 pm

Agreed. I was also surprised by the lopsided Midd-Bates score. With some big scorers returning, I really expected the Bobcats to put bigger numbers on the board. I'm wondering if the Bates' coaches habit of starting their season a week or two before any other NESCAC teams hurts them; I think they were on the road at Colorado College a mere 8 days after the start of (formal, permitted-by-NESCAC) practice. Maybe that's not enough time to get a program ready, particularly with the rules changes this year?
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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby baldbear on Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:51 pm

We'll call this the Quarterly-ish Spring Break NESCAC Report. Standings per current NESCAC website.

1) Amherst
Next three league games: Hamilton, Middlebury, Wesleyan

Predicted 6-10. I thought the shot clock would help this team and it appears so. We will see how the home game against Middlebury fairs to see if team can contest for the top. One goal game against Colby who lost to next opponent Hamilton in Clinton. Will the bus ride west affect the team?

2) Middlebury
Next three league games: Bowdoin, Amherst, Colby

Predicted: First. Their magic number in offensive goal in league play is 12-13. Defense has allowed 5, 2 and 1. Less than three goals a game pretty good. Should be tested by Bowdoin offense.

3) Trinity.
Next three games: Tufts, Bowdoin, Conn College

Predicted 1-3. I still like my prediction and the next two games will tell a lot. Tufts at home should be good game.

4) Tufts
Next three games: Trinity, Conn College, Williams

Predicted 2-6. My dark horse team with all that talent coming back. Have beaten two teams that have underperformed. Trinity at home will be the litmus test.

5) Bowdoin
Next three games: Middlebury, Trinity, Bates
Predicted 4-7. May have the rookie of the year. Team in the past always seemed on the cusp and maybe this year will be different. Next two games will be the test. Better non-league games may be helpful for this bunch.

6) Wesleyan
Next three games: Colby, Amherst, Tufts
Predicted 5-9. Beat TCNJ at their place only to be humbled at Middlebury. I still see them in bottom half of NESCAC playoff but potentially dangerous.

7) Hamilton
Next three games: Amherst, Bates, Trinity
Predicted 1-4. A finish in the top half of the standings would be a triumph. This team now battles for a playoff spot. Conjure up what they did in the Colby game and try to forget everything else. That 43% offensive loss due to graduation is showing.

8) Williams
Next three games: Bates, Tufts, Amherst
Predicted 8-10. They played a couple of one goal games with varying talent and was competitive with Trinity. Nice Florida schedule should have them tuned in for the following league games. Still will be fighting for a spot in the playoffs.

9) Bates
Next three games: Williams, Hamilton, Bowdoin
Predicted 7-10. Their next two games are pre-playoff games for all teams involved. Didn't show me anything when playing the top tier teams. May be one of the non-playoff teams.

10) Colby
Next three games: Conn College, Wesleyan, Middlebury
Predicted 3-5. Disappointing start not as severe as Hamilton (despite losing to Hamilton) because the games were close. If the next two games don't spark up the team leading into Middlebury is it possible this is not a NESCAC playoff team?

11) Connecticut College
Next three games: Colby, Tufts, Trinity
Predicted 11th. I same some comments on this website regarding Conn College parents upset with new coach? Really? Make judgements after a couple of recruiting classes. Tied with Williams until last 0:25.

Bold predictions until next report card? I still like Tufts to make noise. Amherst may be back with the big boys. Bowdoin can make some noise.
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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby quackbury on Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:55 pm

Colby looked fantastic against William Smith. Don't count them out.

Midd looked INCREDIBLE against Wes. They could run the table. If Bowdoin can keep the clock out of running time this Saturday, I will consider it a moral victory.

Amherst is a much better team than I had anticipated. Their game hosting Midd on March 31st will be the NESCAC regular season Game of the Year.

I haven't seen Trinity or Tufts play this year. But my sense is that Midd and Amherst are the top dogs, and Colby and Bowdoin will be in the tourney.
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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby M. Laffley on Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:38 am

Tufts will be in the top four at the end of the season. A lot of offensive firepower. Their game at home on Saturday against Trinity will be a good barometer of where Tufts is this year.

Bowdoin at Midd should be very competitive as well. I think the Midd vs Wesleyan game last weekend was a bit of an anomaly. Weather reports indicate that it was very cold at Midd on Saturday. I don't think the Wes women were ready to play in those conditions. In addition, I believe they had a let down after their big win at TCNJ earlier in the week.
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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby quackbury on Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:15 pm

Watching the broadcast, it was FRIGID Saturday in the cow-tipping capital of the universe, and the wind was whipping. And several lengthy officiating conferences didn't help. There was one in the second half that must have run 3 minutes plus, and the field players were all jumping around, dancing, and/or running wind sprints to keep the blood flowing. I'm actually surprised that NESCAC or Division III doesn't have some wind chill threshold, below which a game cannot be played. Frostbite (or worse, hypothermia) shouldn't be part of the game-day experience.
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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby Just saying on Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:07 pm

I agree that there should be some sort of wind chill threshold. Girls on the sideline as well as those playing this past weekend looked so cold.
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Re: NESCAC 2018

New postby playlax on Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:20 pm

There are windchill guidelines imposed by the ncaa.
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