Holy Cross, This Is Not About The Numbers

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Rachael Bird shuts down a Penn attacker

The Leopards will be on the road with a 3 game winning streak behind them, traveling to  meet the Crusaders of Holy Cross who have a 3 game winning streak of their own. As most you who follow this blog know, I love to sort out the game using statistics. But these games with Holy Cross have been anything about playing to numbers. Coach Lindsey Jackson somehow manages to get her team ready for Lafayette and enjoys a three game winning streak against our Leopards. The Crusaders love to fast break and high press, and as usual they feature a sprinting forward who can find the goal and an excellent goal keeper to keep it close, if necessary. But just for fun let’s look at the record.

Lafayette is 5-8 while finding a strong offense. They have scored 29 goals in 13 games averaging 2.3 goals per game while taking 162 shots for  12.5 shots per game. The scoring per shot is a very respectable, 18 percent, with a great improvement coming in the  last five games. Even more impressive is the diversity of the attack with 7 players scoring 3 or more goals. The defense can be counted on as well, with Lisa Van der Geest anchoring the backfield as well as scoring a team leading 6 goals. Senior co-captain Rachael Bird has a remarkable 4 defensive saves.  ( Going back over the games I believe there was an additional DS against Colgate which wasn’t recorded).

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Liza Welch moves the ball along the baseline

On the Crusader side, Emily Loprete has a league leading 10 goals on 23 shots for a 23 pct scoring percentage. The team itself has 21 goals on 145 shots. Marica LaPlante, the converted ice hockey goalkeeper, has been a wall with a  78 pct save percentage on 289 shots. The Crusader have gotten 45 penalty corners but have given up 103 corners.  Lafayette has 79 penalty corners and only given up 58 in their 13 games.

Loprete scored two goals in the Crusaders last outing against LaSalle, so she remains the key resource for scoring going into Saturday’s contest. One thing which did stand out to me was the average RPI of Holy Cross’ wins, which was 72 as opposed to Lafayette’s average RPI against teams they defeated is 54 ( higher than their own 55 RPI).

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But as I have learned in the previous three years, forget statistics. Both teams need this game to help them into the Patriot League playoffs. Lafayette and Holy Cross are 2-1 in the league and a win would be a big leg up. In previous years Holy Cross has won on the tiebreaker with the results of head to head competition the deciding factor. After Saturday’s game, Lafayette will meet American and Bucknell. Holy Cross will also meet Bucknell and will play Boston University as one of their final two games. The losing team will probably have to run the table to get in the playoffs.

So it appears Lafayette will need plenty of shots to get beyond LaPlante and Holy Cross will need to fast break to score on the Leopards. High scoring game?? If the recent history is any template for Saturday’s contest it’ll be a close low scoring game with neither side willing to give in and battling all the way. The only numbers that will matter is who has more goals. Go Pards!! It’s an 11 am start in clear cool weather!!

Published by

William Rappolt

I am past chairman of the Lafayette Friends of Field Hockey and a former BOT member at Lafayette College. My wife and I are members of the Board of Trustees for USA Field Hockey Foundation. I am the retired treasurer of M and T Bank Corporation and a 20 year fan of Division one field hockey

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