Scoring this past spring in Men's Division I dipped just slightly, from 20.6 to 20.4 goals/game. That's still the second highest average since 2000. Scoring was unchanged in Division II at 21.0 goals/game and fell only a tenth of a point in Division III (20.2 to 20.1). The overall men's average was 20.3 goals per game vs. 20.4 in 2013.|
For the second year in a row, there were small declines in average goals/game in women's lacrosse in all three divisions. Scoring dropped from 23.0 in 2012 to 21.9 in 2013 to 21.6 in 2014 in Division I, from 25.4 to 23.6 to 23.4 in Division II, and from 24.2 to 23.0 to 22.6 in Division III. The overall average decreased from 24.1 to 22.9 to 22.5.
For this analysis, both scoring (average total goals per game) and high score differentials (15+ and 20+) were examined, but only for games played within each division (there are relatively few interdivisional games any more). The first two figures show the trends over the last 15 years. You can click the graphs to view a larger (900 x 611) version.
What has happened with score differentials over this 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, 9.7% of games had a 15+ margin and 1.5% a 20+ margin; both represent decreases vs. 2013. The corresponding figures for Division III were 13.5% and 4.7%, respectively, which also declined vs. last year.
On the women's side, the percentage of games with high goal margins is substantially greater, and it grew modestly in two of the three divisions this spring despite the decline in scoring. For 15+ goal differential games, the changes were 8.7% to 6.7% in Division I, 19.1% to 19.2% in Division II, and 17.0% to 17.3% in Division III.
Average Goal Differential
Over the last six years in men's Division I, the average differential (not pictured) has remained 4.5-4.7 goals per game. Division II has been more variable (5.9-7.1), averaging 6.6 during that period and coming in at 7.0 in 2014. The average differential in Division III was 7.1-7.3 goals per game in 2009-2012 but rose to 7.7 in 2013 and was 7.6 this spring.
From 2009-2014 for women's lacrosse, there has been considerable stability in average differential in both Division I (6.2-6.8 goals/game) and Division III (8.1-8.5). On the other hand, the average dropped each year in Division II from 2009 (10.1) to 2012 (8.7) and remained basically unchanged in 2013 (8.7) and 2014 (8.8).
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 2014 seasons are shown below. The HFA figures have bounced around to some degree, and it's frankly hard to know what to make of any apparent trends given the nature of scheduling.
Div. 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 MD1 1.09 0.90 1.32 1.49 1.16 1.63 MD2 1.65 0.72 1.32 0.46 1.28 2.03 MD3 1.53 1.54 1.20 1.60 1.79 1.95 WD1 1.51 1.59 1.42 1.25 1.87 1.41 WD2 1.16 1.39 1.51 0.75 1.95 1.73 WD3 1.29 1.96 1.07 1.49 1.59 1.77