Monday, May 16, 2011

zaprudering: the refs got it right

So I was thinking a little about the empty-net length-of-field heave that Bucknell took that awarded the ball back to UVA with more than enough time to make up a deficit of two goals.  It's a tad controversial to be sure.  But after Zaprudering the highlight reel that has, I want to ease your minds: UVA was not the beneficiary of a bad referee call.  It was 100% right.

I said earlier that there was one Bucknell player down at that end and he was so far away from the net that if he was the closest guy to the ball, then it had to be a pass.  That was sort of right.  Let me 'splain.

In picture #1 here above, we see the Bucknellian about to take the shot, circled in red.  This was an even unwiser decision than I remember it.  No pressure, plenty of open players to pass to, and lots of time needing to be eaten up.  This situation probably would've resulted in an empty-net goal anyway, plus 15 more seconds off the clock, if he hadn't done that.  The important thing is where he is on the field: very much on the stadium side of it, barely inside the box if he were on the other side of the restraining line. And he's aiming at the net.

It's hard to see - like a distant star through a telescope - but it's there inside the red circle: the ball.  If you can't see it, you'll have to trust me, but it's there.  Click the picture and you can see it better.  The TV angle is like trying to tell if a pitched ball is over the plate from the dugout, but if it didn't go directly over the net it was definitely in the vicinity.

Because of the angle of the shot and the fact we've established that the ball went over the net or nearly so, it likely went of bounds roughly through the red oval, which I put just on the far side of the net.  It's a little hard to tell if you don't click on the image to blow it up, but of the four players near the end line, the two on the outside are wearing Bucknell orange and the two on the inside are UVA's white-clad defenders.

Pay no attention to the white spot between the red circle and the UVA defender below and to the right of it, because that is his stick.  I think, but I don't know for sure, that those are Prevas and McWilliams, and for the sake of simplicity let's assume I'm right.

The conclusions:
  1. This was clearly a shot, not a pass.
  2. The closest guy to where the ball likely went out of bounds is McWilliams, or the player that I think is McWilliams.  Assuming it did in fact go through the red circle, that's utterly indisputable.
  3. The Bucknell players are positioned so that if anyone wants to dispute where the ball went out and suggest they were closer, then the referees couldn't possibly rule that a shot.
There you have it.  If for some reason you tossed and turned last night worrying about winning the game with some undeserved help, you can sleep easier tonight.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your analysis on where the ball went out of bounds is totally wrong. The ball did not go out directly behind the goal. It went out on the stadium/near/bottom side of the field and so the Bucknell attacker is closest to the ball. Look at the tape on ESPN3 and you will see exactly where the ball hits the safety screen behind the goal -- right between the fourth and fifth poles counting down from the top.

Because the Bucknell player was the closest, the ref (wrongly in my view) thought it was a missed pass and gave the ball to UVA. Not a missed shot backed up by UVA.