The Wolverines faced some of the greatest adversity they've experienced all season, but managed to emerge from their game against Oregon with their 46-game win streak intact. The Ducks didn't go down without a fight, however, pushing the game to overtime before a Trevor Yealy goal gave Michigan a 5-4 victory.
The scene was Dallas for the 2010 Patriot Cup, benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project. The MCLA matchup between #1 Michigan and #7 Oregon was the headlining event of the weeklong, 18-game Patriot Cup. The weather, however, didn't get the memo, and the teams had to play through cold temperatures, snow, and high winds. It's understandable, considering the conditions, how low-scoring the game turned out to be.
The game never turned strongly in favor of either team, as the Ducks got on board first, but senior Jamie Goldberg scored for Michigan to tie the game up at the end of the first quarter. Svet Tintchev added a tally of his own shortly before halftime, and Michigan went into the locker room with a slim 2-1 lead. Michigan got third-quarter goals from junior Trevor Yealy and senior Josh Ein, and Oregon notched one of their own to make the margin 4-3 in favor of the Wolverines heading to the fourth. The quarter nearly passed scoreless, but Oregon managed to force the extra frame with just seconds left. In overtime, however, Michigan forced a turnover and Trevor Yealy buried the game-winner for the 5-4 victory.
Mark Stone got the start in net, and finished with nine saves. Faceoff specialist David Reinhard won 7 of his 12 draws, a somewhat subpar result given his exceptional play thus far in the season. Yealy was the only multi-goal scorer, but Jamie Goldeberg and Anthony Hrusovsky each tallied two points.
Based on reports (and the @UmichLacrosse Twitter feed), both teams played sloppy, which is understandable given the conditions. However, the season will come to a point where the sloppy play (which happened in much better conditions on the Arizona/BYU road trip) has to be attributed to the team not being quite as dominant as they were last year. Who knows if that will eventually cost them a game.
Michigan will have its second consecutive one-game weekend, as this time they'll travel to Milwaukee to take on Minnesota-Duluth on Saturday. The Bulldogs were ranked #6 in last week's Prodigy Poll, and are the owners of a 6-1 record. Their one defeat came at Arizona State, where Michigan managed to pull out an 11-10 victory. Other than that, the strength of schedule is questionable, as they've defeated horrible Saint Cloud State (pounded by Eastern MIchigan!), unranked MSU-Mankato, Central Michigan, and Wisconsin Milwaukee, and fringe top-20 teams in Lindenwood and Cal. They've lost to the only competition they've played that's even close to Michigan's level.
Offensively, Duluth is led by sophomore attack Alex McNamara, who averages 3.6 goals and 1.6 assists per game, and senior middie Daniel Pitzl (a 2009 2nd-Team All-American), who adds 2.6 goals and 1.4 assists of his own. Sophomores Drake Peterson and redshirt sophomore Kevin Gaydos also average more than three points in each contest. Benjamin Shandley and Andrew Madsen are both very good faceoff specialist, winning over 70% on the year, so there should be some entertaining battles with Michigan's David Reinhard. Redshirt sophomore Joey Slattery is the #1 goalie, allowing 3.2 goals per game, and saving just over 70% of shots faced.
The game is being played at a neutral site (Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI), and weather shouldn't play a huge factor, as it's projected to be in the mid-40s and sunny on Saturday. I encourage all MIchigan fans (and especially lacrosse fans) in the Milwaukee, CHicago, and Madison areas to make the trek out to see a championship-caliber Wolverine squad take on a ranked opponent.
Beating The Varsity Drum
It's no secret that the Michigan Lacrosse team very much wants to earn varsity status from the Athletic Department (and I've made it no secret that I support such a move). I asked a former Michigan Lacrosse player a few questions about why the team deserves to be a varsity sport, and how this should happen. Greatest hits:
On why the Michigan Lacrosse team deserves varsity status:
If you want to know what makes them worthy, the short answer is that they have already gotten most of the way there without varsity status, and now want a chance to be the best of the best. What more can you ask for in sports besides a shot at being the best?
What makes this situation unique is the fact that the organizational structure currently in place is a highly capable group, and has been operating as a “virtual varsity” program for many years now. When varsity teams are added to any university, a typical process would be to hire the staff a year or two ahead of the target inaugural season for planning and recruiting purposes. This team is good to go tomorrow given the chance.
...Which provides a perfect segue into how long it would take for the team to be competitive on the D-1 level, should they be promoted:
There are several reasons that the transition to varsity competition will be much smoother for Michigan than some might think. First of all, the current club team has beaten several Division I programs in exhibition play. The current talent on the team consists of more than a handful of players that either turned down the chance to play for Division I teams to come to Michigan, or would be significant contributors in a Division I program. Another reason is the number of students from the east coast that come to Michigan. Even though the sport is growing across the country, the bulk of blue chip recruits still come from Atlantic states like New York and Maryland. The Michigan brand already draws a relatively large percentage of the student body from these areas, which would enable the rapid expansion of the team’s recruiting footprint into traditional hotbeds. Finally, the planned facilities featured in an earlier post would be bar none the best in the country.
He also points out that the infallible Transitive Rule of Sports Victory show MIchigan has beaten opponents in the past several years that have gone on to make the NCAA tournament in subsequent years, or themselves beaten an opponent that ultimately made the tournament. Assuming a boost from moving up to the D-1 level, they could step in and be competitive right away.
The final question I asked regarded why now is the right time for the team to earn varsity status, when it hasn't been for the past several years:
[T]he program has reached critical mass at the club level. While there are still many good teams in the MCLA, Michigan has asserted its dominance over the past several years and now only plays a few competitive games each season. In order to find good competition, the team has to travel to places like California, Utah, and Arizona, which is not easy to pull off on a club budget. The truth is that the current level of operations is only made possible by the level of private support that the team receives, which is not sustainable in the long run nor worthwhile if the team is never elevated to varsity status.
The change in athletic director played a role in spawning the effort by providing a timeline for taking a proposal to the university. When Bill Martin announced his retirement, Coach Paul initiated several conversations about what we would need to do to ensure that lacrosse was on the new athletic director’s agenda from day one. Unfortunately, our departing AD was not a supporter of elevating lacrosse to NCAA Division I during his tenure.
It seems as though positive steps are being taken toward varsity status, something that certainly sounds long overdue. The change in AD seems to be a major benefit, if only because there's at least the chance he's listening. David Brandon can do no wrong, man. So far, he's been a home run pick.
In the name of this post running too long, I'll cut off the varsity talk there this week, but make no mistake, I'll be hitting this topic in nearly every update.
The men aren't Michigan's only club lacrosse team, as the women's club team has the coveted "Varsity Club" distinction as well. While they haven't reached the same level of success as the men (but who has, really? Penn State club hockey?), they are a strong program in their own right. If a varsity push for the men's lacrosse team happens, it's likely that the women's lacrosse squad might be the program promoted at the same time, to satisfy Title IX requirements.
The women earned a 3-game sweep over the weekend, beating Michigan State 12-2, Pitt 13-10, and Miami (Not That Miami Unless You're Talking About Hockey, In Which Case Yes That Miami) 18-10. Thanks to their media contact Stuart Zaas for keeping me updated, and if you're interested in learning more about the women's lacrosse team, check out their website.
This weekend saw Michigan play one close game on Friday with a final score of 8-6, but the other two games this weekend were Michigan overpowering a team without quality depth. Both games on Saturday were decided by over ten runs, 13-2 and 20-0. That's not even fun. Quick recaps after the jump.
There have been a lot of requests for this to become a recurring feature (as it was on Varsity Blue), so I'll post the rankings weekly in the diaries, and frontpage it occasionally. The team rankings are very rough estimates until the services have released more full individual grades.
Action since last rankings:
3-12-10 Indiana gains commitment from Mike Replogle.
3-15-10 Ohio State gains commitment from Antonio Underwood.
3-16-10 Ohio State gains commitments from Brian Bobek, Chase Farris, and DerJuan Gambrell.
3-20-10 Notre Dame gains commitment from Brad Carrico
|Big Ten Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# of Commits||Rivals 250||Scout Average||ESPN 150|
I'll only make charts for the teams that currently have commits. Rivals 250 means that a given prospect is on the Rivals 250 to Watch, and ESPN 150 means that a prospect is on the Watch List for the ESPNU 150. Scout ratings are on the 5-star scale.
|#1 Ohio State - 7 Commits|
A huge week for the Buckeyes sees them get several commitments.
|#2 Minnesota - 3 Commits|
No change for the Gophers.
|#3 Michigan - 3 Commits|
Wolverine fans are itching for another commit, but it doesn't seem like Brennen Beyer and/or Anthony Zettel is close to picking the Wolverines anymore.
|#4 Michigan State - 2 Commits|
Two instaters for the Spartans.
|#5 Notre Dame - 1 Commit|
The Irish pick up longtime lean Brad Carrico at their Junior Day.
|#6 Illinois - 1 Commit|
Zook has got to be recruiting for his life this year.
|#6 Indiana - 1 Commit|
The Hoosiers get the younger brother of Adam and Tyler Replogle.
|#5 Northwestern - 1 Commit|
Northwestern holds steady with one prospect.
Berenson turned around a struggling UofM program and turned them into the most consistent program in NCAA history, finishing in 1st or 2nd place in 18 of the last 20 CCHA regular seasons.
It is hard to argue against his 23 straight winning seasons and his 20 straight NCAA playoff appearances, which is an all time historical NCAA record...and counting. Berenson also won the NHL coach of the year with the Saint Louis Blues in the 1980-81 season, proving that he can get the job done at all levels.
Head to Head comparisons:
Ron Mason > 36 seasons with 3 CCHA teams
Red Berenson > 26 seasons with 1 CCHA team
Ron Mason > 924 wins (25.6 a year)
Red Berenson > 698 wins (26.8 a year)
Ron Mason > 24 NCAA playoff appearances
Red Berenson > 20 NCAA playoff appearances
Ron Mason > 8 Frozen Four Appearances
Red Berenson > 10 Frozen Four Appearances
Ron Mason > 2 NCAA Titles
Red Berenson > 2 NCAA Titles
Ron Mason > Longest NCAA appearance streak: 9 seasons
Red Berenson > Longest NCAA appearance streak: 20 seasons
Ron Mason > Longest streak without a losing seaon: 13 (with LSSU and BGSU, 11 at MSU)
Red Berenson > Longest streak without a losing seaon: 23
Ron Mason > NCAA Hockey Coach of the year 1992
Red Berenson > NCAA Hockey Coach of the year 2008
EDIT: I failed with my table, so I just switched to this awkward format.
|Friday 2:30pm, Mets Spring Training Complex #7, Port St. Lucie, FL|
|Matt Miller (0-2, 4.58 ERA)||vs||J.P. Mack (0-2, 9.58ERA)|
|Notes: This is on field #7, and the first meeting between the programs|
|Saturday 11am, Tradition Field, Port St. Lucie, FL|
|Alan Oaks (1-3, 2.73ERA)||vs||Max Krakowiak (0-2, 4.64ERA)|
|Following Game One, Tradition Field, Port St. Lucie, FL|
|Bobby Brosnahan (0-2, 7.71ERA)||vs||Rich Anastasi (0-1, 3.07ERA)|
|Notes: Second game of a double header.|
|Sunday 11am, Tradition Field, Port St. Lucie, FL|
Notes: Michigan trails 0-1-1 in the all time exhibition history. This game
I'm still swamped with real life – hence the lack of a Coastal review- so shortened version of the Fordham preview after the jump. No Mets as this game means nothing.
I published the following blog entry the night before last year's NCAA championship. I bring it up because the tourney is starting anew, and State is still a punchline in virtue. And I know it will get more reads here than my blog ever did.
Michigan State exists because not everyone who can't get into Michigan wants to live for 5 years in Mt Pleasant or Big Rapids.
My friends who have been cheering for State should remember that they are not Spartans. They are Wolverines. Wolverines do not cheer for Spartans.
Mark Dantonio (State football coach) was actually quite clear on this point. He was quite adamant that no Spartan would root for Michigan to beat OSU last November, even though a Michigan upset would potentially send MSU to the Rose Bowl.
This is also that same coach who decided to ridicule Mike Hart's height after Hart concluded a 4-year, 711 yard career sweep of the Spartans. I know this because I immortalized it on the t-shirt I was wearing tonight while rooting against State.
This is the same school who responded to a season hockey sweep by goonery, and beating the hell out of Steve Kampfer while he lay face down and unconscious on the ice. The State News defended the incident by claiming a Michigan starter shouldn't have been playing in the final minutes of a game with a 2-goal lead.
Many warmy and fuzzy soft news pieces are gushing over the home-court favorite Spartans, and the meaning and identity of this team to the State of Michigan. Bullshit! Is Sparty what we really need to represent the State of Michigan and city of Detroit? Sparty is the goddamn problem!
In a city with a crumbling school system and violent crime, to we really need to idolize an athletic program ripe with early draft defectors (Taylor, Randolph, Brown, Peterson, Cleaves et al.) and trigger-happy holsterless pistoleers (See: Plaxico Burress)?
Should we expect the combination of expansive Detroit urban home abandonment and a student body with a history for arson to result in anything beneficial, win or lose?
While Michigan's auto rival states in the South gloat over Detroit's fall, should we emulate a program that gloats in this year's downturn of the Michigan football program? (http://blog.mlive.com/ganggreen/2008/10/dantonios_moment_of_silence_co.html)
I don't mean to be apocalyptic, and I am not particularly religious. But you reap what you sow, be careful what calf you put on a golden pedestal, etc. etc. Of my friends, Michigan alum aplenty, we should be mindful that Detroit (and the state of Michigan) can still succeed IN SPITE OF the values represented by Michigan State.
So let me remind you of the meaning of rivalry, loyalty, and thoroughness. 1) If I wanted to cheer for Michigan State, I would have applied there.2) I am a Wolverine, and I do not cheer for Spartans. 3) I do not want the Spartans to succeed, in either the name of the State or the Big Ten, because the Spartans lack class and values.
(previously posted by author on guerrillarant.blogspot.com)