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Fun With Syracuse Lacrosse Defensive Statistics

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The SU lacrosse defense is off to a blistering start - perhaps the best since John Galloway and Joel White led the charge - and that should get Orange fans thinking about a national championship

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

I'm not sure we spent enough time last year discussing how historically bad the 2014 Syracuse Orange lacrosse defense was. Personally, I knew it was bad, but not THAT bad. Turns out, it really, really was.

SU gave up a whopping 11.7 goals per game last season, which ended up being the single-worst goals against average for any Orange lacrosse team since Cuse.com started archiving season stats in 2003. The last team to allow double-digit goals per game was the infamous 2007 team that finished 5-8, missed the tourney, and allowed 11.4 goals per game. The 2014 squad also allowed 38.6 shots per game, the most in any season since 2006 (40.8).

This all brings me to 2015, where things are much more pleasant on the defensive side so far. The Orange are allowing just 7.3 goals per game thus far, and are limiting opponents to just 29.7 shots per game. If those totals hold up for the whole season, it would be the second-lowest goals per game mark since 2003, and the third-lowest shots per game.

The four best defensive teams, probably in Syracuse history, took the field from 2008-2011. Anchored by John Galloway, Joel White, and a host of other star defensive players, the Orange transformed from the run and gun teams of the Powells and Gaits, to a defensive juggernaut.

In those four seasons, SU averaged just 7.36 goals against per game and limited opponents to 29.3 shots per game. They also racked up a cumulative record of 60-8 (average of 15-2 per season), won two national titles and were ranked either No. 1 or No. 2 heading into all four NCAA Tournaments.

Season Shots Goals Games Shots/Game Goals/Game
2015 89 22 3 29.67 7.33
2014 618 187 16 38.63 11.69
2013 653 179 20 32.65 8.95
2012 537 157 17 31.59 9.24
2011 480 118 17 28.24 6.94
2010 447 111 15 29.80 7.40
2009 547 133 18 30.39 7.39
2008 516 139 18 28.67 7.72
2007 498 148 13 38.31 11.38
2006 612 158 15 40.80 10.53
2005 488 137 13 37.54 10.54
2004 676 186 17 39.76 10.94
2003 591 166 16 36.94 10.38

Obviously, three weeks don't make a season, but SU's start has been noteworthy. While the opponents are sure to improve and the numbers may go up a bit, this still remains one of the better starts for an SU defense in history, and the statistics prove it.

Through First 3 games
Season Shots Goals
2015 89 22
2014 135 40
2013 108 26
2012 111 30
2011 92 26
2010 100 27
2009 84 22
2008 94 27

Through three games, only the 2009 team equaled this current season in goals against, with both allowing 22. That 2009 team also got off to a strong start in shots against, allowing just 84, while the 2015 team has allowed 89. No other team allowed fewer shots per game since 2008.

There are a lot of games left, and a lot of good offensive teams remaining on the schedule. But if this team continues to dominate defensively, the sky is the limit for 2015.