Scoring rebounded this past spring in Men's Division I to 19.8 goals/game, up from 19.1 a year ago, but it declined slightly for the second year in row in Divisions II and III. The overall men's average was 19.2 goals per game, which is down from 19.9 two years ago.|
The scoring average increased almost a goal per game (from 23.3 to 24.1) for the women's divisions. In fact, the figure for each division matches or exceeds the highest figure during the period examined. The pattern changed little, and scoring in Division II was again the most prolific at 25.4 goals/game. Women's contests now result in almost 5 goals per game more compared to 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 13 years. You can click graphs to view a larger (904 x 616) version.
What has happened with score differentials over this 12-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, 6.8% of games had a 15+ margin and 2.2% a 20+ margin; both represent small declines compared to 2011. The corresponding figures for Division III were 12.0% and 4.0%, respectively, which also decreased slightly vs. last year.
On the women's side, the percentage of games with high goal margins is substantially greater, although it dropped in all three divisions once again this spring. In Division II, the percentage of both 15+ goal games (17.8%) and 20+ goal games (3.0%) remained appreciably higher compared to Division I (5.7%/0.6%) and Division III (13.0%/1.8%), although the figures for D2 are substantially lower than they were 3-4 years ago.
Average Goal Differential
Over the last four years in men's Division I, the average differential (not pictured) has stayed 4.5-4.7 goals per game. Division II has been more variable (5.9-7.1), averaging 6.5 (the figure for 2012) in that period. The average differential in Division III has remained in the 7.1-7.3 goals per game range during this time.
From 2009-2012 for women's lacrosse, there has been considerable stability in average differential in both Division I (6.2-6.7 goals/game) and Division III (8.1-8.5). On the other hand, the average goal differential has dropped each year in Division II (from 10.1 to 8.7 in 2012), which parallels the decline in high-differential games noted above.
Home Field Advantage
On a side note, for those interested in home field advantage (HFA), the average goals per game in favor of the home team for the 2009 through 2012 seasons are shown below. While the HFA figures have bounced around to some degree for Divisions I and II, they have declined for three straight years in both Men's and Women's Division III.
Div. 2012 2011 2010 2009 MD1 1.32 1.49 1.16 1.63 MD2 1.32 0.46 1.28 2.03 MD3 1.20 1.60 1.79 1.95 WD1 1.42 1.25 1.87 1.41 WD2 1.51 0.75 1.95 1.73 WD3 1.07 1.49 1.59 1.77