October 4, 2010

By The Numbers: The Women's Turn Around

Photo Credit: Rachel Hale
The Women's Soccer team has turned things around just like they should have. They started their most recent home game stretch at 2-5 after being out scored 13-4 (including the three goals scored at South Dakota) in their first seven matches. Since Big Bold Jaguar Weekend, however, the Lady Jags have gone 4-1 all while outscoring their opponents 9-5. Jumping into Summit League play, signs couldn't be looking any better for Head Coach Chris Johnson and his ladies. Let's dive into the numbers and see just how they're getting things done.

There are a ton of reasons that could be behind the new found success. Upper-class leadership coming back from injury, freshman adjusting to the speed of the game, and even the weather can all affect how games are played. But in reality, numbers don't lie, no matter who is on the field or what the conditions are. Here are the average numbers before and after Big Bold Jaguar Weekend. (NOTE: The South Dakota game is  not included as an anomaly against a far inferior opponent.)

SHOTS (First Half - Second Half - Total)
Before: 3 - 5 - 8
After: 5.6 - 6.4 - 12

CORNERS (First Half - Second Half - Total)
Before: .67 - 1.33 - 2
After: 2.2 - 2.2 - 4.4

FOULS (First Half - Second Half - Total)
Before: 4.33 - 6.5 - 10.67
After: 4.8 - 4.4 - 9.2

GOALS FOR (First Half - Second Half - Total)
Before: 0 - .16 - .16
After: 1.4 - .4 - 1.8

GOALS AGAINST (First Half - Second Half - Total)
Before: 1.16 - 1 - 2.16
After: .8 - .2 - 1

There are a few incredible things that can be seen right away. First, 'goals against' are 1.16 less per match, while 'goals for' is up over 1.6 per match. When you score more and clamp down on defense, you're going to win. Another glaring statistic is the corner kick figures, being double before-to-after. Aggressive play leads to corner kicks. Twice the aggression leads to twice the chance of scoring, and the shot difference help prove that (8 to 12 per match). Not discouraging either is the foul statistics. The total went down, but the better observation is that less fouls are being committed in the second half. Smarter play means victories.

The women have a ways to go yet. The Dakota swing is next, followed by two home matches, the northeast swing (Oakland & IPFW), culminating in a home finale against Western Illinois. Could they win the regular season and post season championships? Absolutely. At 2-0 in the Summit League, the are on the right track to charge into the NCAA Tournament.

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