(Photo Courtesy of Yale Athletics)
The team that puts the ball in the back of the net the most wins the game. So, yes, offense matters. And especially in the shot clock era, offenses have evolved and in many cases are more high-powered before ever before.
Furthermore, the best teams typically have some of the best offenses. Three of this past season’s final four teams – Maryland, Princeton, Rutgers – ended the season top 10 in goals per game. A pair of quarterfinalists also ended the year among the top 10 in that category.
Let’s take a look back and dive into the best offenses in college lacrosse from this past season.
*Note: All efficiency numbers via Lacrosse Reference*
10. Hobart Statesmen
Goals per game: 14.08 (10th)
Team shooting percentage: 27.8% (45th)
Overall offensive efficiency: 32.1% (12th)
Led by three-time All-NEC honoree Ryan Archer (26G/35A), the Statesmen averaged over 10 goals per game for a fourth consecutive season and a third year under the tutelage of offensive coordinator Stephen Brundage. 53% of their goals were assisted. Hobart went 7-6 (4-3 NEC) and fell 14-7 to Saint Joseph’s in the NEC title game. It was one of two games (vs Sacred Heart) in which the Statesmen were held to single-digits. A 21-5 win over Bryant in the NEC semis was arguably their best output. Hobart but up 20-plus goals twice more (vs Lehigh and LIU).
9. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Goals per game: 14.47 (9th)
Team shooting percentage: 30.7% (24th)
Overall offensive efficiency: 33.0% (9th)
Rutgers had its best season ever in 2022 as they went 15-4 (4-1 Big Ten) and made their first Championship Weekend appearance in program history. Leaning on their signature NASCAR offense, creating offense from defense, the Scarlet Knights were a top five clearing team (90.5%) and had the sixth-best efficiency (32.7%) on possessions that lasted less than 30 seconds. With Ross Scott (50G/25A) – a converted midfielder – and Mitch Bartolo (45G/17A) leading the way at attack while Ronan Jacoby (37G/11A) and Shane Knobloch (32G/16A) headlined the midfield, this Scarlet Knights’ offense proved to be one of the most lethal in college lacrosse.
8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Goals per game: 14.75 (8th)
Team shooting percentage: 32.9% (7th)
Overall offensive efficiency: 35.4% (4th)
Ranked in or near the top 10 in nearly every offensive statistical category, the Fighting Irish were one of only three teams to do so and not make the NCAA Tournament. Also, Notre Dame had the best man-up unit in college lacrosse as they converted on 67.7% of such opportunities this past spring. Midfielder Eric Dobson led the way in that category as he cashed in six EMO goals. Brothers Pat (25G/39A) and Chris Kavanagh (22G/11A) headlined the strong Irish offense, combining for 26% of the team’s total goal output and 35% of its points output.
7. Princeton Tigers
Goals per game: 14.81 (7th)
Team shooting percentage: 31.7% (15th)
Overall offensive efficiency: 32.6% (10th)
Princeton earned double-digit wins (11-5), earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2012, and advanced to Championship Weekend for the first time 2004. In short, it was a renaissance year for Matt Madalon’s squad. The Tigers’ offense, run by coordinator Jim Mitchell, was especially good with Chris Brown (31G/41A) running the show as quarterback. Touting one of the deeper roster in college lacrosse, Princeton saw each of their top seven offensive produces surpass 20 points and have double-digit goals.
6. Yale Bulldogs
Goals per game: 14.88 (6th)
Team shooting percentage: 31.6% (17th)
Overall offensive efficiency: 31.5% (17th)
Another deep Ivy League roster, the Bulldogs were led by junior attackman Matt Brandau (57G/42A) with 99 points and saw a number of freshman take on big roles with Leo Johnson, Chris Lyons, and Brad Sharp also as top five point-getters. Yale had 11 different players tally double-digit points and seven have double-digit goals. 25 total players registered a goal. Six of those double-digit point-getters had never played in a game before this spring. The youth movement in New Haven this spring turned out to be a success, helping lead the Bulldogs to an NCAA Quarterfinals appearance.
5. Georgetown Hoyas
Goals per game: 15.06 (5th)
Team shooting percentage: 31.7% (15th)
Overall offensive efficiency: 33.9% (5th)
Headlined by the unanimous Big East Attackman of The Year, Dylan Watson, the Georgetown Hoyas featured one of the most prolific offenses in college lacrosse. Georgetown went 15-2 (5-0 Big East), won their conference title for a fourth consecutive season, and earned the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Hoyas’ 10-7 upset loss against Delaware in the first round of the NCAA Tournament was just one of two games in which they were held to single digits. Princeton beat Georgetown 10-8 in early March.
4. Duke Blue Devils
Goals per game: 15.41 (4th)
Team shooting percentage: 34.9% (3rd)
Overall offensive efficiency: 35.5% (3rd)
Duke went 11-6 (3-3 ACC) this past season and missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time in a full season since 2004. Despite their short comings, the Blue Devils’ offense was as effective as ever as they were never held to single digits (the only team on this list to do so) and only had two games (vs Loyola and Syracuse) in which they didn’t surpass 10 goals. Both of those instances ended up being two of their worst losses. Sophomore Brennan O’Neill (53G/21A) stayed on pace at attack, as did Dyson Williams (43G/9A) as the Blue Devils’ top goal-scorer, while Nakeie Montgomery (29G/19A) ran the show at the midfield.
3. Virginia Cavaliers
Goals per game: 15.50 (3rd)
Team shooting percentage: 33.1% (6th)
Overall offensive efficiency: 33.8% (6th)
Led by Tewarraton finalist Connor Shellenberger (32G/44A), the Cavaliers’ once again had one of the top offenses in college lacrosse. The Cavaliers have now averaged 13 or more goals per game in five of the six seasons that offensive coordinator Sean Kirwan has overseen that unit. Along with Shellenberger’s 76 points, Payton Cormier (50G/10A) and Matt Moore (26G/26A) combined for 112 points to give the Virginia attack line a total of 188 points (108 goals) as one of the best attack lines in the nation.
2. Jacksonville Dolphins
Goals per game: 16.06 (2nd)
Team shooting percentage: 38.1% (2nd)
Overall offensive efficiency: 35.9% (2nd)
The Jacksonville Dolphins were the darlings of the 2022 season. John Galloway’s squad went 14-3 (5-0 SoCon) and fell by one, 10-9, to Richmond in the SoCon title game. Despite closing the year still searching for the program’s first NCAA Tournament berth, the Dolphins proved to be able to play with anybody as they earned big wins over Duke, Denver, Richmond, and High Point in the regular season. Housing a top-flight offense, the Dolphins leaned heavily on their attack unit of Max Waldbaum (48G/24A), Jacob Greiner (51G/18A), and Jackson Intrieri (31G/30A). That line combined for a whopping 202 points (130 goals) as one of the most productive attack lines in college lacrosse.
1. Maryland Terrapins
Goals per game: 17.67 (1st)
Team shooting percentage: 39.1% (1st)
Overall offensive efficiency: 37.4% (1st)
Maryland hoisted the national championship trophy on Memorial Day as the first undefeated champion since 2006 Virginia, joining a club with only 13 other members. They were far and away the best team in college lacrosse and their offense was no exception. Running a seemingly unbeatable motion offense, Tewaaaraton Award winner Logan Wisnauskas led the way and leaves College Park as the Terrapins’ all-time program leader in goals (205) and points (340), as well as the program record-holder for points in a season (103). Behind Wisnauskas, Keegan Khan (35G/28A), Anthony DeMaio (33G/21A), Jonathan Donville (31G/22A), Eric Malever (26G/22A), and Kyle Long (17G/25A) each ended the year with over 40 points on the year as the other five starters. Furthermore, reserves Owen Murphy and Jack Brennan each had 20-plus points. It truly was the deepest and most productive offense in college lacrosse.