I've discussed it with some former D-1 players and the common response is that we have more than enough talent to win it all, but we look lost against the top competition. What worries me is that we don't appear to learn from these losses. Case and point: you'd think we'd eventually learn that we need our own elite faceoff middie.
I made a similar post a few weeks ago and got taken to the woodshed by Corrigan supporters.
I think Corrigan is a very good coach but I honestly don't ever see him winning a NC. Tierney has his number. My main issue, besides annual mediocre faceoff performance and self inflicted errors, is that the team doesn't seem to progress throughout the season. The team we saw yesterday was no better than the team we saw very early in the season - little if any overall improvement and little improvement in some players after multiple seasons under Corrigan. Denver and Duke are traditionally much better at the end of the season and I attribute part of this to coaching (yes, I know Duke lost yesterday). We will be in the tournament virtually every year and depending upon the brackets we will see some final 4's. It appears that a NC will be quite a stretch and, with the talent we have, that shouldn't be the case.
In college lacrosse I can't imagine any D-1 coach not understanding that face offs are important. Is being a top face off player something that is coached or does it require a specific athletic base to perform at a high level. Do other teams like Denver have an assistant to focus on this? Is it like recruiting a kicker in football and it sometimes doesn't work out? Do we not spend enough time on practice?
I really don't know the answer, but having watched the team over the past five years it would seem face offs is a huge area of weakness.
Face-offs have been a weakness for quite some time. Our next biggest weakness is with EMOs on offense. A propensity for turnovers -- particularly off unforced errors -- is also a weakness, albeit not quite as glaring as the others I have mentioned.
We are among the best in the country in settled 6-on-6 defense, and have been for quite some time. In recent years, our offense has started to catch up to our defense, and we are now at near-elite, if not elite, status in settled 6-on-6 offensive opportunities.
As others have alluded to, certain teams just seem to have our number. Denver, of course, is the one that jumps out at you, and it's also true to a lesser extent of Duke, North Carolina and Syracuse. OTOH, we beat two of the teams in this year's Final Four, and besides this year's regular season-finale OT loss to Army, I'm at a loss as to the last time we lost to any team not named Denver, Duke, North Carolina or Syracuse (I'm thinking Loyola in the 2012 tournament semifinals, worth noting that Loyola was the #1 seed that year).
I love this program's consistency, but I wish that we could get over the top, if only just once.