Significant Digits, Vol. 1, Issue 1
The Great Lakes Region by the Numbers
By D3soccer.com contributor
Some numbers are important—but fleeting—like your high school crush’s phone number hastily scrawled on the back of your hand. Others are lasting, but less memorable—like your driver’s license number or (if you happen to be an idiot like me) your anniversary. In Significant Digits we will try to separate the numerical wheat from the chaff, helping find figures that tell the story of the Great Lakes Region. Don’t worry, we did all the math for you.
Transylvania looks to be the class of the field in the HCAC. At 5-0 with 14 goals scored against just one allowed, the Pioneers are rolling as they enter their final week of non-conference play. Their 20.2 shots per game leads the Great Lakes Region, and is 22nd nationally. However, while it’s a month too early to be comparing Pool C resumes, with a strength of schedule currently sitting at 225th in the Massey Ratings, Transy has little margin for error if they hope to be playing in mid-November without the HCAC automatic qualifier.
This week, the Pioneers host a Thomas More team who is off to a Jekyll and Hyde start, but even if they manage a result over the Saints, Transy will need some help if they hope to hold any wins over regionally ranked opponents. Expect the Pioneers to be conference foe Hanover's biggest fans until the two meet up in 3 weeks.
1.96% vs. 0%
Kenyon dominated the possession play in both of their week 3 matches, but endured a nightmarish showing in the attacking third, managing just 2 draws in contests where they were a plus 34 in combined shot attempts (1 goal on 51 shots, for 1.96%). With full respect to some stellar goalkeeping by both Marietta and Thomas More, a conversion rate that low qualifies as a serious concern for the Lords.
Unfortunately, Kenyon’s next matchup doesn’t appear on paper to be the friendliest place for an offense managing just 1.6 goals per game to find its footing. Heidelberg (4-0) is one of just 3 teams remaining in Division III that have yet to allow a goal on the young season. Kenyon certainly marks a big step up in competition for the OAC side, but the mid-week clash could show us what happens when an ineffective force meets an immovable object. Something has to give?
If, on the other hand, you like goals… John Carroll and Ohio Wesleyan served up an instant classic in University Heights on Saturday night, and lit the lamp an average of once every 12 minutes (JCU 5-4 2OT). Early in the second half John Carroll seemed to be validating the national attention that has been turned their way. The Blue Streaks had stormed out to a 3-1 margin, and had only conceded an odd own goal following a long throw.
But OWU was far from done. The Bishops poured in 3 unanswered in a 21-minute span to take a 4-3 lead. While the JCU coaching staff can’t be happy with such a listless stretch of defending against a quality opponent, they must be thrilled with the resilience shown as the clock was ticking down on their unblemished record. JCU found an equalizer in the 87th, and headed home the winner late in the second overtime.
East by North East that is (from Crestview Hills, KY to Beaver Falls, PA). Thomas More rattled off 6 straight Presidents' Athletic Conference championships from 2009 to 2014, and, while they lost in their conference semifinal in 2015, the Saints were 16-3-1 and ranked as high as #2 nationally. But last year saw the balance of power shifting: the Geneva College Golden Tornadoes snatched the PAC crown, and with it, enjoyed their first ever birth in the NCAA tournament.
In the early going this season, Geneva looked in no hurry to come down off that mountain. But a week 3 overtime stumble against Fredonia State, followed by a draw with Franciscan Monday night - are the kind of results they can ill afford if they want to stay on top of the suddenly wide open PAC. Geneva sits at 4-1-1.
And counting. Carnegie Mellon hasn’t given up a goal in 5 straight contests since their loss to Kenyon in the season opener. The Tartans have just one week left to impress before the UAA meat grinder begins, and should boast an SoS among the highest in the region (and the country) when all is said and done.
CMU hosts John Carroll Sunday (9/24 2:00pm) in a matchup that has Great Lakes Region game of the week stamped all over it.
Useless Stat of the Week
Great Lakes Region teams are a combined 57-48-12 against all non-region competition, through games on 9/17/17.
Comments or feedback for the author? E-mail us.