Lacrosse hung around for a while against the 5th ranked Fighting Irish, but couldn't withstand a big run by ND to put it away. Early in the 2nd half Michigan was down 7-5 but couldn't keep it close. Michigan never scored after that and were shut out in the 4th. Our boys only managed 14 shots on goal which won't get it done against a team like ND. They also turned it over 18 times, including 6 botched clears which isn't good. Final score was 16-5.
Michigan was not supposed to win this game, so it isn't a terrible loss. But I would've liked to have seen them keep it closer - for most of the game it wasn't more than a 3 goal lead. They need to learn how to finish out games and learn how to hang with strong teams.
The good news is that Ian King became the program's all-time points leader by tallying 2 assists. In other good news- the schedule gets a little easier too - they go on spring break next weekend and take on Mercer and Furman who are struggling. It would be nice to come back from that trip with a 6-1 record. The bad news is that Penn and UMBC, who they play when they come back, look like much tougher outs now.
Here's hoping today was just a minor bump on the road to a good season. Go Blue!
Updated: Lacrosse went down to the Bluegrass State and came away with a lopsided 13-5 win against the Bellarmine Knights. They jumped out to a 4-0 lead and never looked back. Bellarmine lacked offensive weapons and struggled on ground balls and unsettled situations against the more athletic Michigan. It was a complete team effort - the D allowed Bellarmine few good looks and Heidt made great saves on the few they did get.Curran, Noseworthy and Schlosser paced the offense and Michigan got great contributions from their long stick middies.
Michigan is now 4-0, surpassing last year's win total and one shy of the program's season best. I think its safe to say they're better than last year but its hard to say how good. This is the really easy part of their schedule and they've faced a number of weak teams so far. These are teams Michigan would've struggled with last year so the fact that they're blowing them out is a good sign.
Michigan gets a serious test next week when they travel to South Bend to take on ND. The Irish are ranked #4 in the country right now and have plenty of talent. I think they might not be as good as their ranking but they're still formidable. They had a little trouble with a bad Georgetown team today before pulling away. Could be interesting next week.
Update: Powered by an 11-0 run from 3:04 left in the 2nd to 5:51 left in the game, our boys ran Detroit out of the building. It was tied 5-5 at the half. The run was powered by offensive weapons Ian King and Brent Noseworthy who tallied four goals apiece in the scoring onslaught. While the final score didn't look so bad, this was a rout. A few late goals (which is a bit of a cause for concern) made it look better than it was for Detroit.
Michigan has now matched its season win total from last year and are 3-0. They've played weak teams so far but its a promising sign that they've won in blowouts. It's still too early to gauge what kind of team they are but it's been positive so far.
This team should have a ton of confidence now. This weekend they go to Bellarmine - a team that could give them more of a challenge. Bellarmine is 0-1 but had some tough losses to good teams last year. Michigan needs to take care of business again because next week they run into the buzzsaw that is Notre Dame. Good win tonight - Go Blue!
Lacrosse takes on the Lafayette Leopards today at 4 PM in the last game in Oosterbaan Fieldhouse, marking the end of an era. Oosterbaan was the home of Michigan lacrosse for decades and next year the program will move to its new facilities and the O'baan weightroom will be expanded, reducing the playing field to 75 yards. Men's lacrosse, both club and varsity, have won countless games there and it was a difficult and unwelcoming place for visiting teams.
This is also Michigan's last home game for a month as they play on a neutral site next week vs. Detroit, visit ND and Bellarmine and then head down south for their spring break trip. This is a big opportunity for them - its a winnable game and Michigan could use the confidence boost of taking a 2-0 record with them on the road. I hope the boys play with some extra passion today and get one last victory for us old dudes. Go Blue!
Update: Michigan won easy, 17-6 and it didn't look like it was ever close. Lafayette was pretty terrible last year and probably won't be good this year but its good Michigan blew them out. Hopefully this means Michigan is significantly improved...
Michigan lacrosse starts the season tomorrow night in Cleveland and our boys come into 2017 with a lot to prove. The Wolverines badly need to reverse the trajectory of program that is headed in the wrong direction. After going 5-11 in 2014 and 5-8 in 2015, the boys took a step back last year and finished 3-10, leaving many people to question whether they belong.
Michigan’s schedule features five teams ranked in the Maverik pre-season poll (ND, Hopkins, Maryland, Penn State and Rutgers) but the out-of-conference schedule is a veritable tray of cupcakes. The OOC slate features six teams (Lafayette, Detroit, Bellarmine, Mercer, Furman and UMBC) who won six games or fewer in 2016 and one new program (Cleveland State). ESPN analyst Quint Kessenich noted this in a season preview and predicted that Michigan could “sport a gaudy record”. If Michigan is for real they should enter conference play 7-2. Judging from last year, however, that’s a tall order.
For a detailed look at the roster check out this preview (it also features a glimpse of the new Nike unis which look pretty sweet).
Here’s a quick breakdown of every game on the schedule. I borrowed the “Desperate Need to Win Level” and “Win/loss will cause me to…” bits from Brian’s previews. Those numbers are based on an unscientific combination of the quality of the opponent and my assessment of whether Michigan should win or not. I’ll try to post each preview on the game day threads as well.
Game 1: @ Cleveland State: Saturday, February 4, 7 PM.
The Super Bowl still hasn’t been played and pitchers and catchers don’t report for another two weeks and yet Michigan is playing its first game this Saturday. At night. In Cleveland. In February. I’m excited it’s here already but damn they have to do something about the scheduling. Cleveland State is a new program and this is the Vikings’ inaugural contest so Michigan should take care of business. I don’t know anything about these Cleveland State characters but you gotta think that Michigan should be able to handle them and come away with a nice warm-up W. I like the idea they’re on the schedule though- I would love to see Michigan start a tradition in which they always play a new program in their first year.
Desperate Need to Win Level: 10
Win will cause me to: Breathe a sigh of relief that they beat someone they're supposed to.
Loss will cause me to...actually call for JP to be fired.
Game 2: vs. Lafayette, Saturday, February 11, Oosterbaan Fieldhouse, 4 PM.
Lafayette was straight up bad last year, going 3-11 with their only wins coming against lowly Wagner, and new programs Monmouth and NJIT. The Leopards were not particularly competitive in any of their losses either. It’s Michigan's home opener and Lafayette's season opener so our boys will have a game under their belt which should give them an edge. Oosterbaan Effect could also play a factor. Advantage: Michigan.
Desperate Need to Win Level: 8
Win will cause me to: Say “OK, good.”
Lose will cause to: Say “Damn it.”
Game 3: vs. Detroit, Wednesday February 15, @ Pontiac, Michigan, 7 PM
Last year’s game against Detroit was canceled due to heinous weather conditions and it was scheduled to be played inside. For a while there, Detroit looked like a program on the up-and-up. In 2013, the Titans somehow blundered their way to an NCAA tournament berth but then proceeded to put the fear of God into #1 Notre Dame who barely escaped with a victory. The next few years weren’t as fortuitous for Detroit, however and they couldn’t replicate that success. They won only two games in 2016. These teams played a tight one in 2014 but Michigan waxed them in 2015. Detroit will force a lot of turnovers.
Desperate Need to Win Level: 9
Win will cause me to: tell the good news to my girlfriend who doesn’t care.
Lose will cause me to: complain to my girlfriend who doesn’t care.
Game 4: @ Bellarmine, Saturday February 18, 6 PM
Bellarmine (which is in Kentucky- I had to look it up) went 6-9 last year but suffered close losses to tournament teams Marquette and Air Force and a good Richmond team. Michigan didn’t play them last year but our boys beat the Knights in 2014 and 2015. I would say that Bellarmine is probably more talented than Michigan and should have the edge at home. But, I really have no idea what to expect - this one will be a coin toss.
Desperate Need to Win Level: 6.5(?)
Win will cause me to: say “OK, heads”
Loss will cause me to: say “Ok, tails”
Game 5: @ Notre Dame, Sunday February 26, 2 PM
It would be nice to beat the tar out of ND because that’s the favorite pastime of any Michigan Wolverine. But - nah they’re not gonna win this one.
Desperate Need to Win Level: 6 (higher than it should be because its ND and Michigan needs a W over a premiere program, would love that to be against the Irish)
Win will cause me to: eat my hat
Loss will cause me to: shrug.
Game 6: @ Mercer, Thursday March 2, 7 PM
Mercer is another young program but they’ve fared OK in recent years going 7-7 in 2014 and 5-8 the last two seasons. This game is the first stop on Michigan’s spring break trip and looks like another toss-up. Mercer seems to be in the boat Michigan was in last year. Will they break out like Marquette or Richmond? Or will they continue to struggle? If I recall correctly, Mercer was Michigan’s first program win at the Division 1 level back in the day. They are not a formidable opponent and these are the kinds of games you want Michigan to win in a drama-free fashion.
Desperate Need to Win Level: 7
Win will cause me to: wonder what type of team Michigan is
Loss will cause me to: wonder what type of team Michigan is
Game 7: @ Furman, Saturday March 4, 1 PM
As in most years, the spring break trip represents the focal point of the season. These games can make or break the season. Furman, 2-11 in 2016, represents another winnable game for Michigan. Coming away 2-0 in the spring break games would be huge. The Paladins are coached by legendary former Navy head coach Richie Meade, so they got that going for them.
Desperate Need to Win Level: 9
Win will cause me to: start to believe
Loss will cause me to: continue to doubt
Game 8: vs. Penn, Saturday March 11, 1 PM, Big House
I was at this game last year at Franklin Field and came away incredibly frustrated after Michigan fell 12-10. Michigan outplayed the Quakers but found themselves playing catch-up most of the game due to lots of mistakes and missed opportunities among them surrendering multiple goals while MAN-UP. Penn had some young talent last year but underperformed. Kessenich sees big things for them in 2017 and has them ranked 10th(!) in his preseason poll. The Fightin’ Trumps will have the edge in this game.
Desperate Need to Win Level: 6 (likely a loss but it would be nice to steal a win from a good team they could’ve beaten last year)
Win will cause me to: try to keep my excitement and expectations in check
Loss will cause me to: gripe about how they should’ve won
Game 9: vs UMBC Saturday March 25, 1 PM, Big House
After the Penn game, Michigan’s schedule has a weird two week gap before they play UMBC. It should give them plenty of time to rest, recover and ready themselves for a beatable opponent. The Terriers have made the NCAA tournament a number of times over the years and they’ve even knocked on the door of the Final 4 but the program has fallen on hard times of late. They went 4-10 in 2016 and are breaking in a new coach.
Desperate Need to Win Level: 9 (given the lead-up time to prepare for such a low-caliber opponent, Michigan better come correct in this game)
Win will cause me to: be glad they won
Loss will cause me to: renew those calls for a new coach
Game 10: @ Maryland, Saturday April 1, 2 PM ***on ESPNU***
Maryland should’ve won the national championship last year but blew it in very Maryland fashion. Even though the Terps were one of the best teams in the country in 2016, Michigan took them to the brink in a snowy dogfight in Michigan Stadium. They’ll be nasty again this year. John Tillman is one of the best coaches in the country and it’s unlikely Michigan will get by the Terps’ perennially stout D and goalkeeping. Maryland boasts preseason All-Americans at pretty much every position including a one-man killing machine named Matt Rambo who scored 43 goals last year.
Desperate Need to Win Level: 3
Win will cause me to: drink beers in celebration
Loss will cause me to: go about my business as usual
Game 11: vs Rutgers, Saturday April 8, 1 PM, Big House
Rutgers got straight up screwed by the tournament committee last year. After a 5-10 campaign in 2015 (including a loss to M), Rutgers executed a complete turnaround in 2016 and racked up 11 wins including two against Hopkins (who did make the tournament). The Scarlet Knights won’t sneak up on anybody this year though - they’re ranked #19 to start the season and return some great offensive players. Michigan will likely be outmatched in this one.
Desperate Need to Win Level: 5
Win will cause me to: think Michigan can win the Big Ten?
Loss will cause me to: be bummed
Game 12: vs. Ohio State, Saturday April 15, 10:30 AM, ***Big House before Spring Football Game - go early!!! Also airing on Big Ten Network!!!***
F*** Ohio State. That’s it.
Desperate Need to Win Level: 11 (it’s Ohio State)
Win will cause me to: celebrate and boo random Buckeyes on the street
Loss will cause me to: push my anger down deeper.
Game 13: @ Johns Hopkins, Saturday April 22, 1 PM ***on ESPNU***
Hopkins, sort of the snobby lacrosse step-father of the Big Ten, won the league in 2015 but got bounced by Rutgers in the first round of the conference tourney last year. They finished 8-6 and got immediately run off the field by Brown in the NCAAs. While the Jays’ dominant spot in the lacrosse world may be slipping they are still a powerhouse (ranked #9, plenty of pre-season AAs). Michigan won’t beat them. Also - Hopkins is Hopkins so they have a roster full of insufferable dudes with terrible first names like Brock and Brinton and Chanler. They also have Gerald Logan who made his way to Baltimore via a grad transfer.
Desperate Need to Win Level: 3
Win will cause me to: talk shit to the Hopkins guy in my office
Loss will cause me to: long for the day that Michigan will be able to beat teams like Hopkins
Game 14: vs. Penn State, Sunday April 30, 1PM, Big House
So if the season goes well and by that I mean Michigan gets through the OOC 7-2 or 6-3 (which is possible) and poaches games from Ohio State and/or Rutgers (also possible), this could be a crucial game. But that’s a lot to ask from a squad that went 3-10 last year. The Nittany Lions disappointed last seaon but start 2017 ranked #14 in the country and are helmed by one of the best young minds in the game in Jeff Tambroni. Michigan has wrapped up the season against Penn State the last two years but has yet to beat them. Here’s to hoping the last game of 2017 will be a meaningful one.
Desperate Need to Win Level: Possibly 0. Possibly 1 million.
Win will cause me to: toast to finishing 2017 on a high note
Loss will cause me to: be bummed that the season is over and pine for 2018.
So in conclusion: I don’t know what to think. They couldn’t be much worse than last year but who knows if and how much they’ve improved. The worst case, 0-14, is a slim possibility but I doubt they’ll be that bad. Best case scenario- 9-5 with two conference wins. The reality will be somewhere between those two extremes but who knows what will happen. Six or seven wins would be a big step in the right direction for this program. Go Blue!
It's the 2nd annual MARSUPIAL MONDAY everyone! A semi-safe place where you can get all the OT out of your system before gameweek! It's like The Purge, but entertaining! Feel free to post your best marsupial GIFs, Memes, Pics, Poems, Jokes, Cheapshots, etc. Complain about my schtick or post a pic of you and your pet stick! Whatever you want!
It's Wednesday you say?
I tend to experience long bouts of complete unconsciousness resulting in not knowing what day it is.
Are you okay?
Oh yea, it's normal probably.
Okay, but I worry about you.