The Titans have an opportunity to pick up a marquee non-conference win (at least in name) with a win over Georgetown this afternoon.
7-7 (4-2 Big East). #17 LaxPower.
0-1 (Lost to Maryland 11-16)
Only one game so far this year, so last year’s numbers are the only ones we’ll look at.
|Faceoff Wins||176||Faceoff Wins||167|
|Offensive Efficiency||.293||Offensive Efficiency||.274|
In the possession game, Georgetown was slightly above-average on faceoffs, and above-average on the ride. However, a pretty poor job on clears doomed them to a possession percentage that was barely outside of the nation’s bottom third. Obviously that’s not horrible in the grand scheme of things, but great teams tend to be positive in possession.
From an efficiency standpoint, Georgetown was pretty good on both offense and defense. Their strength of schedule (obviously, the Big East schedule included Notre Dame and Syracuse, while they also played Maryland and Duke in the non-conference) upped their numbers, and they hovered near the top 20 in both metrics post-adjustment.
The Georgetown offense was heavily concentrated among the starters last year. Six Hoyas notched more than 15 points last year, and nobody else on the team broached the six-point mark.
It’s questionable for Georgetown, then, that their two unquestioned offensive leaders – Davey Emala and Rickey Mirabito – are no longer in town. The prolific attackmen take their 45+ points each to North Carolina and the professional world, respectively. Their fellow starting attackman, the 5-8, 155-pound(!) Travis Comeau, is the lone returning starter from the unit. Now a junior, his 35 points were 20 points clear of midfielder/attackman Brian Casey, the second-leading returning scorer.
Midfielder Zack Angel and his 15 points from last season also return, but Max Seligmann’s 17 points will need to be replaced. This is an offense decimated by graduation. Somebody will obviously step up at attack – and get plenty of opportunities to finish, as the Hoyas’ front line mostly did last year.
Somebody whose name is C-Jay (seriously) Engelke joined Casey and Angel near the top of the scoring charts against Maryland, although the attackman did not start. Attack/midfielder Jason McFadden and midfielder Francis McDonough were the other offensive names to keep an eye on. That trio had a grand total of three points last year (a goal for C-Jay in two appearances, and two assists for McFadden, who played in nearly every game and seems to have been more of a D-middie last year).
Like the offense, the defense was above-average last year. Like the offense, some key personnel losses could spel a bit of trouble.
Enormous (6-6, 230) D-pole Barney Ehrmann has graduated after starting every game and earning the Hoyas’ lone first-team All-Big East honor last year. Fellow 14-game starter Dan Hostetler was only a junior last year, but is not listed on this season’s roster. That’s a big loss.
That leaves only one returning starter among the close D. Bobby Boyle was listed as a senior last season, but he gets to be one again this year (other 5th-year guys are listed as such by the Hoyas’ roster, which is odd). Junior Brennan Bicknese stands only 5-11, but got the start against Maryland. Patrick Murray also drew into the starting lineup against Maryland, even though it appears this is his first year with a longpole.
A variety of apparent short-stick defensive midfielders played against Maryland, but with very little sample size to go on, I’d assume Gerry Reilly is one of the starters, and your guess is as good as mine on the other. Patrick Schmitz appears to be the LSM.
In goal, CT Fisher was the primary backup last year, and he Fisher saved half of shots faced in limited playing time. He got the start against Maryland, but split halves with sophomore Jake Haley, who entered after the break. The senior Fisher made six saves and allowed seven goals, while his sophomore counterpart had more struggles, allowing nine goal and saving just four shots.
Georgetown was above average on draws last year, and all three of their most-frequently used specialists are back. Brian Tabb won .539 of his faceoffs last year, though he struggled to a 3/13 mark against Maryland. Tyler Knarr, .519 in a smaller role last year, was excellent against the Terps, winning 11 of 14 attempts. If things aren’t going well on draws for the Hoyas (unlikely given Detroit’s struggles there), they have options to mix it up.
Georgetown was a top-20 riding team last year, but a well-below average clearing team. With a limited sample size of exactly one game (and against good competition), we don’t know much, but it looks unlikely that they’ll excel in either phase.
Penalties were not a significant part of Georgetown games last year, with the calls just about even. Against a Detroit team that has been sloppy this year – and might even be developing a reputation for being dirty – expect the Hoyas to come out slightly on top there. They also converted man-up opportunities better than the opposition last season.
Georgetown is an interesting matchup for Detroit, and not just because they appear to be a “name” team that will have their share of struggles this season, perhaps to the point of suffering an upset at the hands of the Titans.
Their associate head coach, Matt Kerwick, has spent the past two years coaching Jacksonville, and should be very familiar with his former MAAC foes. With more talent at his disposal in D.C., Kerwick might be able to throw a few wrinkles at Detroit that they don’t have excellent answers for, thanks to his familiarity.
In the grand scheme of things, though, Detroit should be looking at this as a good matchup. They have five games under their belts, whereas Georgetown has just one. Their experienced lineup is facing a green unit from the Hoyas. They play a style of defense, forcing plenty of turnovers, that Georgetown’s assist-deficient offense isn’t well-suited to exploit.
Coming into the year, I thought this was a possible, though not necessarily likely, win for the Titans. Taking a closer look at the Hoyas’ team, I’m leaning even more toward UDM pulling off the victory, and earning their first victim from the power-conference set.
- The Detroit defense should be licking their chops against this offense. Georgetown doesn’t have much experience up front, and their style of play isn’t going to punish Detroit for playing takeaway. That leads to 13+ turnovers caused by the Titans’ D.
- Detroit’s offensive effort will be balanced, and nobody will notch more than five total points. I even hesitate to say anyone will reach a hat trick. However, a healthy effort will be spread across several players to make for a nice double-digit output.
- Georgetown will dominate on faceoffs. That’s just how it’s going to be until Detroit figures something – anything – out on draws. Minimizing the possession deficit despite struggling in the middle will be Detroit’s key to the game.
- Detroit commits more than five penalties. They’ve been infraction-prone this season, and as that continues, they’ll develop a reputation – fairly or not – among officials as a team that should be called for a lot of things.
At the end of the day, Detroit can have more efficient days offensively and defensively, and still not have a chance to win against Georgetown thanks to struggles in possession. I do think that will doom them in this one. Detroit will take it to overtime, but Georgetown will get a clean faceoff win and score the game-winner. The Hoyas earn a 12-11 overtime win at home.