How To Calculate Lacrosse Goalie Save Percentage + A Calculator
By Coach Damon on May 29, 2017
Happy Memorial Day everyone! In just a few hours the national championship game between Ohio St. and Maryland is going down but first I wanted to get you this week’s post.
I’ve previously written about how save percentage isn’t a perfect specimen when it comes to judging a lacrosse goalie’s performance.
The reason it’s not ideal is because the same goalie playing with a young, inexperienced defense will have a lower save percentage compared to playing with a dominant defense in front of him/her. Thus save percentage is more of a team statistic than it is an individual goalie statistic.
However, it is one of the metrics we have to evaluate a goalie’s performance and in this post I’ll discuss how you can calculate your own save percentage.
While us goalies want to count everything as a save to boost our stats, unfortunately some situations do not count as official saves. We’ll discuss those.
We’ll also take a look the current save percentages of the top 10 goalies in the MLL, NCAA, and High School levels so you can see how your own save percentage compares to theirs.
At the bottom there’s a simple lacrosse goalie save percentage calculator for you to calculate your own save percentage.
Lacrosse Goalie Save Percentage
The basic calculation for save percentage is this:
13 saves / 25 shots on goal = 52% save percentage.
Now let’s talk definitions.
The basic definition of a Save is any time a shot is stopped or deflected, with any part of the goalie’s body or stick, and does NOT go into the goal.
Shot off the head, shot off the hip, shot off the shin, shot off the shaft, shot into the pocket of the stick. As long as it doesn’t go into the goal, that’s a save.
Shots that hit the post are NOT considered saves unless the goalie deflected the ball prior to it hitting the pipe.
Shots that miss the goal are NOT considered saves, again unless the goalie deflected the ball prior to it sailing high or wide.
Shots on Goal is this calculation: saves + goals.
That means a shot that sails wide or hits the pipe without being touched by the keeper does not count as an official shot on goal.
A shot that hits the pipe (not deflected by the goalie) does not count as an official shot on goal.
A shot that hits a defender and never makes it to the goalie does not count as a shot on goal.
According to the official NCAA definition of a save, a shot that is headed wide of the goal but stopped by the goalie should not be counted by a save.
But I’ve never seen this. If a goalie makes a save, even if it appears that the shot is headed a little wide they are almost always get credit for that save. As they should be. Let’s not deny saves from the one of the hardest positions in sports to make a save.
Specific Scenarios: Save or No Save
Here are a bunch of specific game scenarios and the official save or no save ruling that should be applied statistically.
A shot that hits the pipe, rebounds off the goalie’s body and would go into the goal if not stopped by the goalie is credited as a save.
A shot that hits the pipe, rebounds off the goalie’s body and would NOT go into the goal before picked up by the goalie is credited as a ground ball.
During a botched clear A1 shoots from midfield and the goalie B1 makes the save at the restraining box. Credit B1 with a save. Goalies get credit for saves even if they’re outside of the crease.
Player A1 takes a shot, goalie B1 stops the ball from going in the goal but does not control the ball, and A2 picks up the loose ball and scores. Charge A1 with a shot, credit B1 with a save, and then credit A2 with a ground ball, a shot, and a goal.
The goalie intercepts a pass or shot that otherwise would not have gone into the goal while standing in the crease; credit the goalie with a ground ball but no save.
The goalie makes a save, but doesn’t control the ball. However, the goalie is uncontested and picks up the ball again; credit the goalie with a save, but no ground ball. If the ball would have been contested in that situation, credit the goalie with both a save and a ground ball.
The goalie is in the crease, and a defenseman is also in the crease; the non-goalie defenseman stops the shot. No save is credited.
Player A1 passes the ball to teammate A2; A2 does not catch the pass, and the ball rolls toward the crease and would roll into the goal, but goalie B1 stops it. Credit B1 with a save and charge A1 with a shot.
Defenseman B2 passes the ball to teammate B3, who does not catch the pass. The ball then rolls toward the crease and would roll into the goal, but goalie B1 picks it up. Credit goalie B1 with a ground ball, but not a save.
Player A1 kicks the ball toward the goal in an attempt to score.The ball then rolls toward the crease and would roll into the goal but goalie B1 stops it. Credit A1 with a ground ball and shot. Credit B1 with a save.
Save Percentage of Current Goalies
Just for reference here are the save percentages of the top goalies at the various levels for both the men’s and women’s game. Source of the data is linked.
Men’s High School
Women’s High School – What’s going on with these top 3 goalies? Must have some absurdly dominant defense.
Men’s NCAA D1
Women’s NCAA D1
MLL – These % are skewed by low samples size since they’re only 1-2 games into the young season. Like the time I lead the MCLA in save percentage after just switching to goalie.
2016 MLL Stats – Here are the previous year’s save percentage leaders in the MLL.
Lacrosse Goalie Save Percentage Calculator
Here’s a simple calculator you can use to calculate your own save percentage:
While not an ideal metric to calculate a goalie’s worth, save percentage does have some value.
The same exact goalie will have a different save % when playing with a young defense that struggles and constantly gives up 5 yard shots vs. playing with an experienced defense that only gives up low angle shots or shots from 13 yards out. Hence the flaw in save percentage.
But it something to compare performance from goalie to goalie so if you want to learn how to calculate your own save percentage check the rules, scenarios and calculator in this post.
Until next time! Coach Damon
Anything I missed when it comes to a goalie’s save percentage? Let me hear it in the comments below. Thanks!