Can Anyone Beat Maryland?

Can Anyone Beat Maryland?

This post was written by Justin Heckler and Haldy Gifford of GAV Lacrosse Analytics


This document and the folders that are linked to it contain Player Possession Efficiency (PPE) statistics for the prominent players on Maryland’s offense across ten games. Five of the games are from earlier in Maryland’s season. The other five are the most recent match-ups Maryland has played in with the most recent being their NCAA Tournament match-up with the University of Vermont.

By comparing the statistics from these two groups of games at different times during the season, it is possible to determine how Maryland’s offense has changed throughout the season. Using these statistics, it is also possible to evaluate what it would take to beat Maryland as they move forward in the NCAA Tournament. This second point is especially pressing given that Maryland has maintained an undefeated record thus far.

Increased Possession Efficiency 

When comparing the statistics from these two groups of games, it is clear that Maryland has seen substantial improvements in offensive efficiency since the beginning of their season. This improvement is represented in both individual player PPE Score increases and the weighted average PPE Score of the Maryland offense.

The chart below demonstrates this difference in PPE scores between the two groups of games. As can be seen, many of the players, including Wisnauskas, DeMaio, Khan, Brennan, and Murphy have seen meaningful increases in their average PPE.

Maryland Total Cumulative PPE Scores

Additionally, below you can find the PPE Scores for all the players we tracked across the ten games we tracked.

Player PPE Scores Chart

Maryland’s Efficiency 

In addition to comparing the PPE and individual efficiencies of the players from the two sets of games, the data found inside the Google Sheet titled “Maryland Efficiency Tables” provides insights into the team’s overall efficiency. The categories examined here are face offs, goals, successful clears, failed clears, total possessions, and goal conversion percentage (goals divided by possessions) for both Maryland and their opponents.

The data shows per-game efficiencies, along with averages for each set of five games. Through the older group of games, Maryland won 20 face offs on average, compared to 11 won per game by their opponents, totaling a split of 64.43% going to Maryland and 35.57% going to their opponents. Additionally, Maryland scored a mean of 17 goals per game on 46 possessions as opposed to only allowing 9 goals on 37 possessions for their opponents. This data leads to an average conversion percentage of 36.92% for Maryland while holding their opponents to a 25.50% conversion percentage on average. 

The data for the second group of recent games shows improvement in Maryland’s overall offensive efficiency and relative consistency on the defensive side. The only area in which Maryland showed any decline was in face offs, where they won 19 and lost 12 per game, dropping their average win percentage to 60.93%, but they showed improvement in conversion rates. During the second half of the season, they scored 19 goals per game on 44 possessions, leading to a roughly 7% increase in conversion rates, totaling an average of 43.94% per game. They also stayed consistent on defense, only allowing on average 8 goals on 35 possessions per game, culminating in a 24.10% conversion rate for their opponents. This data shows that while their offense was already very productive during the first part of the season, it managed to improve during recent games, all while slightly improving effectiveness on the defensive end.

Maryland’s Offense 

Maryland Lacrosse has a unique offensive style backed by a talented roster. Most teams that are successful in Division I Lacrosse are focused on dodging to score or at the very least dodging to assist. This however is not true of the Maryland offense which preoccupies itself with dodging to change and open passing lanes. Once these new passing lanes are created, Maryland jumps into an unselfish mission to find the open man through a series of passes. This style of play is referred to by many as “unselfish team offense” and prioritizes finding the two-on-one through ball movement rather than dodging to draw a slide. 

The success of Maryland’s unselfish offensive style is supported by a deep roster of extremely talented players. Many of Maryland’s benchwarmers would be star players in other Division I offensive units. For example, number 37, Daniel Maltz, scored 40 goals last season, but among new transfers, he barely plays besides on extra-man opportunities. Additionally, players like Jonathan Donville, Anthony DeMaio, and Keegan Khan could all be top-tier players on other Division I rosters. The PPE Scores of these players prove this theory with their most recent five-game average PPEs being 0.39, 0.53, and 0.51, respectively. Although these PPE scores may not seem incredibly high, on an average basis they are more impressive than meets the eye. Let’s remember that during last year’s Tewaaraton Award study, players like Chris Gray, Pat Kavanaugh, and Michael Sowers scored season average PPEs of 0.57, 0.55, and 0.53, respectively. These PPEs represent the performance of some of the best lacrosse players in the NCAA and when comparing these scores to these secondary players on Maryland’s offense, it is clear that these players perform quite well compared to what one would expect from players who do not lead a team’s offense. 

This same principle applies to lower-tier players on Maryland's offense who score

surprisingly good PPEs for their rank in the offense overall. For instance, players like Eric Malever, Jack Koras, Kyle Long, Jack Brennan, and Owen Murphy scored PPEs of 0.47, 0.30, 0.26, 0.41, and 0.36, respectively in their most recent 5 games. Although these PPEs don’t fall as close to the Tewaaraton Nominees mentioned above, they still indicate that these players are making substantial contributions to the offense compared to what you might expect from players in a similar hierarchical position on other Division I teams. 

There is one player who clearly dominates Maryland’s offense and therefore is the most pressing issue for prospective opponents. Logan Wisnauskas scored a PPE of 0.45 in the oldest of the five games we recorded, but jumped up significantly to a PPE of 0.80 in the most recent five games, leading his ten-game cumulative PPE to be 0.64. It comes as no surprise that his ten-game cumulative PPE is the highest out of all the eleven players we looked at. Although Wisnauskas is clearly the offensive team leader there are also a number of other noteworthy contributors who also pose a real threat. Based on this factor, shutting down Wisnauskas alone may not be enough to stop the Maryland offense from racking up goals. Based on past years and games near the beginning of this season, many fans would agree that Kyle Long is Wisnauskas’ right-hand man and therefore should be the second priority for the opposing defense. This however is not supported by the statistics and either Anthony DeMaio or Keegan Khan should be seen as Wisnauskas’ right-hand man and second priority for a defense. According to the PPE Scores we have recorded for the most recent five games, Wisnauskas is the most threatening offensive player, followed by DeMaio and Khan. 

Case Study: Notre Dame vs Maryland - March 5, 2022 

Up to this point, the closest game in Maryland’s season was their match-up with Notre Dame which resulted in a final score of 11-9 in favor of the Terrapins. During this game, many of the offensive leaders normally expected to dominate ended with low and even negative PPE scores.

Wisnauskas scored a PPE of 0.07, the lowest recorded for him across the 10 games. Additionally, players such as Khan, DeMaio, Donville, and Murphy scored PPEs of -0.43, 0.19, -0.07, and -0.14 respectively. These low and negative PPEs signify that these players were significantly less efficient on a per touch basis than they normally are. 

Keeping the PPEs of these important offensive players low allowed Notre Dame to stay competitive and keep the game score close. The negative PPE Scores mentioned above show that many of the players who are normally making positive contributions to the team's success were actually detracting from the team during this game. The most apparent example of this was Khan who had a significant negative impact on Maryland’s offense. Additionally, the lower than average PPE numbers for Wisnauskas and DeMaio show that Notre Dame did a good job keeping the Maryland offense at bay. An opponent who wishes to win against Maryland in the 2022 NCAA Tournament should take a hard look at this game in order to better understand how Maryland’s offensive efficiency was dampened in this match-up.


Project Folder With All Materials
Maryland Efficiency Tables Spreadsheet
Player Stats - Cumulative Total of All 10 Games
Player Stats - Cumulative Totals of Recent 5 Games
Player Stats - Cumulative Totals of Oldest 5 Games
Maryland Team Weighted Average PPE Scores
Player Stats - Maryland vs Vermont - May 15, 2022
Player Stats - Maryland vs Rutgers - May 7, 2022
Player Stats - Maryland vs Johns Hopkins - May 5, 2022

Regular Season:

Player Stats - Maryland vs Johns Hopkins - April 23, 2022
Player Stats - Maryland vs Ohio State - April 16, 2022
Player Stats - Maryland vs Virginia - March 19, 2022
Player Stats - Maryland vs Albany - March 12, 2022
Player Stats - Maryland vs Notre Dame - March 5, 2022
Player Stats - Maryland vs Princeton - February 26, 2022
Player Stats - Maryland vs Syracuse - February 20, 2022

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