So we had another cycle of U23 mixed. We won gold again, but didn't win the spirit award. Two years ago I put down some numbers regarding the number of touches our women had compared to our opponents in the finals (Canada). I figured I would run some of the same numbers to see how we "did" this time.
Anecdotally I felt like we used our women well this cycle, perhaps as well as we did in 2013. While we had fewer women around the disc (Claudia, Sophie and Tash in 2013 and only Q and Clare in 2015) we did a great job having more effective female cutters downfield. Also the finals were significantly less windy than in 2013, which gave us more confidence in throwing to our women. I can't remember a single instance of a woman missing a pass and not getting thrown to next time we were open. It is something that our team focuses on (putting people in places to succeed and giving them that chance when it is there) and both cycles really delivered on it.
In contrast the Aussies were running a different offensive style that was better suited for mixed exploitation (in that it used the fact that there were different genders on the field better) but used the women less.
Let's see how the numbers look. There were 252 points of contact (catches) for USX and of that 62 were by women. That breaks down to about 25% and is therefore a contact ratio of 3:1. So for every contact by a woman there were three by a man. The Australians had 118 points of contact with only 15 by women. That is a very low 13% or a 8:1 contact ratio. We also noted that of our 17 goals, 13 were on possessions where a woman touched the disc, 4 were caught by women and 6 were thrown by women.
We also noted that it took us 34 possessions to score 17 goals (exactly a 2.00 Possessions Per Goal that I felt indicated the difference between elite and good college teams) while the Bluebottles (which is apparently a jellyfish) scored 4 out of 33 possessions.
Again, I have no idea what any of this means. I think Australia's success (which I guess I should write about at some point) shows that a more balanced contact ratio doesn't necessarily indicate success. But one of our goals was to use our women to win games and these numbers feels like they support that.
Of interesting note, our contact ratio is actually worse than it was in 2013. I feel like much of that is due to the occasional use of a 4-2-1 wall zone defense by the Australians. Canada played almost exclusively man in 2013, and while zone defense did allow Q more touches, that was only on the lines where she was on the field. There were two points where we didn't have a line conducive to female handling on the field against their softer zone. Those points involved a ton of short passes between un-marked men for basically zero yards. Looking at the touches during those points there were 82 touches but only 16 were by women (leading to a ratio of 33:8 or 4.125:1). Removing those points from the previous data leads to a contact ratio of 2.7:1.