Overall scoring changed little this past spring compared to a year ago across the three NCAA men's divisions.  However, a 1.2 goal per game increase in Division I was offset by a similar drop in Division II.  In fact, the average – about 20 goals per game – was almost identical in all three divisions for the first time since this analysis has been done.  But that level of scoring in Division I lacrosse hasn't been seen since the 2001 season.

After a four-year rise in scoring in the women's lacrosse, the average declined slightly (0.4 goals per game).  There was little change in any of the three divisions, and scoring in Division II continued to be the most prolific at 25.4 goals per game.  Women's matches continued to result in about 4 goals per game more than in men's matches.

For this analysis, we examined both scoring (average total goals per game) and high score differentials (15+ and 20+).  Only games played within each division were included.  The first two graphs below show the trends over the last 11 years for each division in men's and women's lacrosse.  Note: You can click graphs to view a larger (904 x 616) version.

What has happened with score differentials over this 11-year period?  The four graphs below show the percentage of games in each division with differentials of 20+ and 15+ goals.

High goal differentials remain extremely uncommon in Men's Division I.  In Division II, 6.0% of games had a 15+ margin and 0.8% a 20+ margin, and both of these represent appreciable declines compared to the 2009 season.  The corresponding figures for Division III were 12.1% and 4.3%, the latter being the highest rate since 2002.  The greatest change over the 11-year period is clearly in Division II, which has had a markedly lower percentage of high-differential games in the past four years.

On the women's side, the percentage of games with high goal margins is substantially greater.  In Division II, the percentage of 15+ goal games reached a record 28.3% this year, although the percentage of 20+ goal games fell to 7.6%.  The percentage of high-differential games has tended to rise in Division III in recent years.

Over the last three years in men's Division I, despite an increase in scoring from 18.1 to 19.9 goals per game, the average differential (not shown) has dropped from 5.1 to 4.5 goals per game.  Division II has also seen a decline, from 7.3 in 2008 to 6.3 in 2010.  The average goal differential in Division III has remained stable in the 6.8 to 7.2 range.

For the women's divisions, on the other hand, the average game score differential has changed very little over the last three years.  It continues to be lowest in Division I and highest in Division II.

On a side note, for those interested in home field advantage, the average goals per game in favor of the home team for 2010 for this data set were 1.16, 1.28, and 1.79 in men's Divisions I, II, and III, respectively.  The corresponding figures for women's divisions were 1.87, 1.95, and 1.59.  The figures for 2009 were 1.63, 2.03, and 1.95 in men's Divisions I-III and 1.41, 1.73, and 1.77 in women's Divisions I-III.  The averages in MD1 and MD3 for this past spring were atypically low.

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