STM loss 4 starter by end of season. Not making excuses but take away any 4 starter from any team they would fad away also.
Hardly the case. 4 Starters? STM faded because of poor coaching period!
BL and every other team dealt with injuries and other obstacles but the well coached teams use the depth that every team has to get better as a season goes on.
I saw STM play 3 times in person last year including both CHC games. SM's offense was not balanced last year. In other words, if a team had enough good defenders, they could shut the SM offense down. I don't know their personnel well enough to know whether this was a schematic (only certain folks were allowed or encouraged to go to the cage or shoot) or personnel (secondary players were not good enough and the bench wasn't deep enough) related weakness. On the field coaching can alter bad or unbalanced schemes but can't miraculously make up a lack of talent and/or depth. The latter is a recruiting and development issue and is tougher at smaller schools like STM vs at a CHC.
The strength of the STM team was their poles. Their SSDMs were inconsistent and their goalie was decent. They upset CHC at an in season night game at home and lost to them in the playoffs. What I saw is CHC shut down their O in the second game while the D gave up 6 games in their win vs 8 in their loss. Knowing BL well, they had more depth on their roster (they did a great job of covering for the loss of their #1 cover defender) and did the best job of coaching in the Conference. Part of their competitive advantage was utilizing quality poles at shorty to shut down attackmen who didn't have great one on one games thereby freeing up poles to stop dangerous offensive middies. This League is tough folks. If you don't have offensive depth (6 real threats on the field at all times in settled O), good defenses (especially the second time around and after lots of film study) can shut down a 2-4 person focused offense pretty easily. If any of your 6 defensive personnel is weak, look for OCs to exploit them after studying the film. Coaches often use underclassmen or weaker middies as SSDMs. If an opposing team has six strong offensive players, not having top quality varsity athletes at every defensive position can come back to bite you. Coaching defense means getting 6 top quality athletes on the field, getting them matched up on personnel correctly, teaching them proper team D (defending the 2 man game, working through picks both on and off ball, sliding correcting, communicating, etc.) and scouting the opposition so that any one of the six defenders knows how to cover any particular offensive player.
Personally, I would rather have a stud athlete with ok stickwork at the SSDM position, than a weaker (athletically) underclassman with better stickwork. If you have 6 or 7 very good poles, its better to rotate your 6th and 7th pole through the SSDM position vs trying to shoe horn a less physical/athletic middie into the role.
Lastly, in my opinion, DCs should be mining the football, basketball and soccer rosters for physical kids with great footwork for the SSDM position. Likewise coaching staffs should cull the wrestling roster for future FOGOs.