Friday, December 28, 2012

NCAA Player Impact Ratings

In an earlier post, I covered a mathematical system, developed by Dr. Martin Feldman, for assessing the impact lacrosse players have on the game. My earlier post can be seen here.

In this post, I list the NorCal NCAA players in DI and DII who performed in the top bracket created by Dr. Feldman, the author of "Player Impact Ratings". To make Dr. Feldman's list, DI players had to participate in at least ten games. Players whose Impact Rating number would have made this list, but who did not participate in ten games are not included. To give just one example, Giancarlo Sangiacomo's Impact Rating would easily have made the top defender list, but he did not play in the requisite ten games.

Attack: Parker Brown (Brown), Alex Capretta (Princeton), Billy Mattimore (Bucknell)
Midfield: Rob Emery (UVA), Roy Lang (Cornell), John Glesener (Army)*
Defense: none in top 200
Goalie: none in top 200

Attack: Austin Pridham (Colo. Mesa), Casey Hock (Queens), Gabe Garcia (Colo. Mesa)
Midfield: none in top 200
Defense: Brian Raaka (Dominican U)
Goalie: none in top 40

Attack: Jack Bodine Haverford)
Midfield: Nick Alimam (Kenyon), David Lee (Williams)
Defense: none in top group
Goalie: Nick Massa Kenyon

You can find the rankings for all NCAA players whose complete stats were reported by the respective colleges here.

Taking all positions into account, NorCal's highest rated NCAA DI Impact Player was Parker Brown of Brown University. For NCAA DII, Brian Raaka of Dominican University was NorCal's highest rated Impact Player, and for NCAA DIII, Nick Aliman of Kenyon College.

Congrats to the players who repped NorCal Lacrosse so well!
* John Glesener played his Youth Lacrosse for the Scorpions and played his Freshman year at De La Salle, before moving to West Genesee, New York.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

update on Mike Tagliaferri

Mike Tagliaferri
An article in the Danville, CA Patch provides an update on Mike Tagliaferri, with particular emphasis on his time with Team USA U19. You can read the entire article at:

Key quote: "Michael Tagliaferri has been home in Danville maybe three days since graduating in June from San Ramon Valley High School.
Actually, he missed his graduation ceremony. And his grad night. And other festivities.
But ... he has a gold medal to show for it."

Saturday, December 22, 2012

SRV's Niko Souza commits to Furman

Niko Souza

Niko Souza, San Ramon Valley's versatile Junior (Close D, LSM, FO), has committed to Coach Richie Meade and Furman University. On the summer circuit, Niko played for The Golden State Titans in 2011 and the Alcatraz Outlaws this past summer. As a Soph he was named to the 2nd team of EBAl's All-League squad. 

Watch Niko's highlight Reel at

Looks like Coach Meade is getting a good one!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

St. Ignatius to make East Coast trip!

It's official! St. Ignatius will travel to New York to play the legendary Long Island Catholic powerhouse – Chaminade. Last year, Chaminade finished 16-2, playing one of the toughest schedules in the nation. They finished the year rated #8 in the country. The Flyers had wins over national #2 ranked West Islip and national #6 ranked St. Anthony's.

In addition, SI will play Seton Hall on their Eastern swing. This game will be played as part of the Konica Minolta Big City Classic event, held at MetLife Stadium in Rutherford, NJ. More important, Seton Hall is coached by Dave Giarusso, formerly Head Coach of St. Ignatius. What a reunion and what an amazing road trip for the SI guys!

Game info:
Thursday 4/25/13 at Chaminade, Mineola, NY @ 4PM
Saturday 4/27/13 vs Seton Hall at the Konica Minolta Big City Classic MetLife Stadium, Rutherford, NJ @ 11AM

While it's too early to speculate on whether SI can win one or both of these games, I am sure the Wildcats will give it everything they have. Here are some stats on college commitments and school size that show SI will need to be on top of its game:

Current NCAA Commitments*: DI DII DIII Male students
Chaminade Flyers                     21   2     4         1,700
Seton Hall Pirates                       7    0     3           975
St. Ignatius Wildcats                   8    0     3           710

I wouldn't miss it!
* Data from LaxPower recruiting lists for recruits entering college in school years 2013-14 & 2014-5

Monday, December 17, 2012

The most important stats in a lacrosse game

Mathematical analysis of sports performance has become an important tool for player evaluation. In baseball, Bill James analyzed more than a hundred years worth of box score data to determine which statistics had an impact on game outcomes. Over time, Baseball's General Managers have used his system – Sabermetrics –  to evaluate players. GMs seek to trade low-rated players for higher-rated players to improve their teams' onfield performance. The same statistical exercise goes on in basketball, football, and hockey. Now, the math whiz behind LaxPower, Larry Feldman, has produced a set of factors that determine, not only player performance, but tell us which factors of our game have the biggest impact on winning and losing Lacrosse games.

 Once these factors are given relative weights – determined via multivariate regression analysis – it is possible to rank player performance. Feldman goes one step farther, by adjusting player's performance rankings to the quality of opponents a player and his team face. This data, for NCAA Divisions I, II, and III, is now available.

 So, what factors from the box score does he consider and how does he weight them to produce accurate predictions of game outcomes and relative player performance? Here they are, sorted by largest absolute number, regardless of positive or negative value:

 Assists 1.25
Goals 1.00
Caused Turnovers 1.00
Goals saved 0.80
Goals allowed -0.80
Turnovers -0.60
Groundballs 0.25
Faceoffs won 0.22
Faceoffs lost -0.22
Shots on Goal -0.10
Missed shots off goal -0.05

 Without having attempted to quantify these factors myself, I – like many lacrosse observers – have long felt that Assists, Goals, Caused Turnovers, and Goalie Save percentage were the most important determinants of victories. That's not to diminish Groundballs. Though Feldman gives a positive weight of 0.25 to a single Groundball, fact is that there are LOTS of Groundballs in a game, and the team that wins the majority of them will cumulate a substantial statistical advantage.

Still, Feldman has produced a set of "weights" for lacrosse statistical events that help us understand the game in new ways. I believe that Feldman's system, or a variant thereof, will become a standard set of tools used by coaches to analyze their own players, as well as the players on opposing teams.

Finally, Feldman takes into account the quality of competition faced in determining overall rankings of players by position. I'll post on this player ranking scheme in the next day or two.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Clusters of NorCal laxers in NCAA lacrosse

In an earlier post, I posited that NCAA guys from California were finding other California guys on their rosters. But what about NorCal guys having other NorCal guys as teammates? Looking at rosters for the 2013 season, there are some rosters with multiple NorCal laxers, but not a huge number. Next year the number will grow, but what about this season? In NCAA DI, I believe Duke leads the pack, with 3 NorCal guys on the Blue Devil's roster. In NCAA DIII, my cursory search reveals Kenyon College getting the top spot, also with three NorCal guys. The action in NCAA DII is amazing, with Dominican having 10 NorCal laxers on the squad and Colorado Mesa having 6 Bay Area guys. If you're aware of NCAA Mens lacrosse teams in each Division that have more NorCal guys than what I've found, please leave a comment and a link to the 2013 roster of that school.

Also, I have a quiz for readers. The NorCal guys on the rosters of Duke and Kenyon have several AMAZING similarities! Can you name at least three things the NorCal guys at Duke have in common with the NorCal guys at Kenyon? Leave your name on your post if you'd like a little publicity as a Wizard of NorCal lacrosse! If you just like being first with the correct answer, but want to remain anonymous, that's fine, too.
Update on 12/22/2012

OK, it's been a week since I posted my quiz, and no one has answered correctly. So, I'll respond to my own quiz!

The AMAZING similarities between the 3 NorCal guys on the Duke roster and the 3 NorCal guys on the Kenyon roster are:
• Each team has a pair of NorCal brothers
• All 4 of those brothers went to St. Ignatius
• Each team has a NorCal goalie on the roster
• Both of those goalies attended Foothill High School
• Each team has one player who was named a US Lacrosse High School All-American

Now, can you name all the players?