Playoff McNuttins

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by McNutty

2014 Season photos on sale now at Soundlacrosse.com. All proceeds to charity.

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For reason’s I can’t explain, last week’s article on LandSpartans vs. IslandSpartans was overwhelmingly popular, generating the most views of any this year (over 2500!) And we are still getting very emotional tweets/emails/comments about the game. Most of the comments are about how Skyline was robbed by the offsides call in overtime that wiped the apparent game-winner off the board. I’m sure much of it is just dealing with the grief of a season coming to an abrupt end, however a few stalwarts can’t let go of the notion that the LandSpartans were the victims of intentional misdeeds by the referees.

Secret signals whispered at midfield…

The conventional wisdom is that the offsides call came so late that it could only be the result of a conspiracy between the two refs doing the game. What’s interesting to me is that no one has argued that it wasn’t offsides, only that it shouldn’t have been called or called so late, which is a piece of logic I find curious. Since Soundlacrosse covered the game live, I offer the following counter argument:

I can think of four calls that were influential in affecting the game. Each of these calls was discretionary in the sense that no one in the stands or sidelines would have noticed if they weren’t made. The calls were:

  • A shot for Skyline which appeared to miss high, but actually sailed through a hole in the net. Only one ref saw it, and he immediately changed the call to the correct one. This gave a goal to Skyline.
  • An illegal body check on Bainbridge late in the game, ruled as targeting the head, which resulted in a non-releaseable penalty on Bainbridge. This gave Skyline a non-releaseable man-up.
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct on Bainbridge when their faceoff man intentionally played the ball with his hand. This also gave Skyline a non-releaseable man-up, late in the game. No one saw this but the ref.
  • The aforementioned offsides, called when it happened, but only noticed by the fans after the goal was waved off. The call was against Skyline and benefited Bainbridge.

My point is that there were four discretionary calls that influenced the play of the game. In three of the four calls, Skyline benefited. If the referees were going to throw the game Bainbridge’s way, they wouldn’t have made any of those calls, because no one in the stands or on the sidelines would have noticed. Instead, they made the right call, as they did on the offsides in overtime. Three of the four calls went against Bainbridge. If the refs were going cheat, that wouldn’t have been the case. It’s hard for me to buy into the conspiracy, and I’m done talking about it.

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The South Puget Sound Lacrosse league has had quite a run this year,  They placed four teams, Auburn tahoma #19Riverside, Tahoma, Vashon and Emerald Ridge Puyallup, in the quarterfinals, including three of the four D1 quarters. Vashon and Tahoma survived and will carry the SPSL banner into the semis.

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As attentive readers can attest, I’m a writer who is sympathetic to goalies. They are misunderstood and largely under appreciated. Normally, however, even I’m loathe to give accolades to mediocre play. If you stop the ones you were supposed to stop, I don’t think you should get a blue ribbon. And I don’t like save percentage as a stat, it’s often misleading if not outright irrelevant. I appreciate more the intangibles; running your defense, making the right choice on your fast, accurate clears, being the backbone of your team, not its last ditch hope.

For those of you that disagree with me, this was your week. Save percentage was an accurate predictor of outcome this week. In the eight quarterfinal games, the winning goalies averages a 63% save percentage, the losing ones, 44%. There were a couple of outstanding performances by losing goalies: Shorecrest’s Payten Brooks at 53%, Jaron Scarbrough 62%, ERP’s Devin Ehli had 15 saves. Standouts on the winning teams: Jordan Dondoyano and his Issaquah defense held their opponents to just 4 shots, Vashon’s Marquis Stendhal had 15 saves, Bellevue’s Cole Cansler held Auburn Riverside’s two All-Americans to one goal with his 77% save percentage. (But please remember, correlation still does not mean causation.)

And I just can’t let it pass without mentioning it…in the Mercer Island v Eastside Catholic game there were 59 shots on goal. That’s a hair shy of one per minute, and that’s with EC running out the clock at the end of the game. For comparison, over the course of the season, the D1 Metro league averaged 34 shots on goal per game, D1 Kingco, 35. It appears the defenses took this night off.

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Lastly, grown-ups, be on your best behavior at tonight’s semi-finals. This is not your night, it’s your son’s night. Let him remember it for the things that occurred on the field, not in the stands.

2014 Season photos on sale now at Soundlacrosse.com. All proceeds to charity.

McNutty

3 Responses to "Playoff McNuttins"
  1. Thanks for correcting his name. We really enjoy your articles – you provide humor and criticism, and of course, unbiased information. keep up the wonderful work!

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