the season has truly begun now
In the future, lacrosse nerds and scholars will measure the history of the game in B.M., Before Michigan and A.M. After Michigan eras. So, in Year 3 A.M., I thought it would be interesting to check on the young programs out there. I often find myself pulling for these teams to have successful seasons. I think that if they succeed it should bode well for the further expansion of the men's game in Division 1. While lacrosse is growing like wildfire in Divisions II & III and on the women’s level, there has been a mini-wave of new Division 1 teams. Here’s a look at a few of the new(ish) programs, many of which have Michigan on their schedule.
UDM’s program is still newish - only 6 years old. It had the perfect recipe for adding lacrosse - a small school from outside traditional lacrosse areas that wanted to up its athletic department profile. And best of all - no football. After a winless first season, UDM put up a 3 win season, two 6-win seasons and a 5 win season, advancing to their conference championship game the last three years (it helps to play in an outrageously weak conference). Last year the Titans found themselves matched up in the first round of the NCAAs against Notre Dame and lost 9-7(!) after actually blowing a sizable lead.
Poor Furman. They’re having a rough go of it in their first year. Winless in all games so far and they’ve really only been competitive against Michigan. After a game vs Duke on the 18th, their schedule eases up and they may be able to get their first ever victory. Down the road, however, Furman should be set up for success. They’re helmed by longtime Navy coaching legend Richie Meade, which shows commitment to the sport on the part of the athletic department. They’re also the only D-1 team in South Carolina and one of few in the Deep South so that should count for something.
The Macon, GA school has been taking its lumps so far but is getting better. In 2012, Mercer had a chance to notch the program’s first historical win vs Michigan but our boys came away with their first D-1 win instead. Combine a warm spring climate with being the only game in town in a region where the sport is growing and that should put some butts in the seats and attract recruits. The Bears managed 4 wins last year and they opened 2014 with a 17-6 win over newbie BU. They also lost a close one to Detroit before dispatching Richmond. For some reason, I find myself really pulling for Mercer to do well to keep its program alive. There are no heavyweights on the schedule so maybe they can make some strides this year.
The Spiders almost pulled off the upset of the century in the program’s inaugural game against Virginia. UVA had to sweat out a tight 2nd half against Richmond to avoid their own lacrosse version of The Horror. If there is such a thing as a good loss, this is probably the greatest loss of all time. Richmond could end up being very good in the future. It has what I consider to be the recipe for success - strong academics, lots of east coast appeal, relatively warm spring weather and an athletic department that doesn’t have an insane focus on football. It’s also in lacrosse country. Sadly, after taking UVA the distance, its possible they don’t win a game all year.
Oh boy to have Monmouth’s schedule. If JP could go back in time to play Monmouth’s first season schedule, he would kick Doc Brown right in the balls and hijack the Delorean. The Hawks’ inaugural season schedule features only two teams (Marist and Lehigh) who had winning records in 2013. The rest of the schedule is made up of your typical new teams and perpetual cellar dwellers. But they’re 0-5 thus far on the breezy schedule so we’ll see how it turns out. Monmouth is in lacrosse-heavy NJ which should help with recruiting.
So when my father, who seemingly knows every college in the U.S. heard Bellarmine was adding lacrosse he asked “where the hell is Bellarmine?”. He never heard of it - but has anyone? Well, Bellarmine is a small (football-less) Catholic liberal arts school in Louisville, KY founded in 1950 which added lacrosse in 2005. I was sure Teams 1 & 2 would tally victories against them, but Bellarmine is actually proving pretty legit. They went 7-7 last year with impressive, close losses to Ohio State (7-9), Loyola (6-8), and (Denver 10-11 in Double OT!). Bellarmine is already dangerous and this could be the year they finally pull an upset for that program-defining win. They could be 5-1 by the time they play Ohio State which could be that win ( hopefully Michigan will take them down this Saturday and they’ll be 4-2 instead).
Marquette’s 5-win inaugural season vs a fairly serious schedule will be the gold standard for new programs going forward. The Golden Eagles’ seamless leap to the NCAA ranks is especially surprising because Michigan used to mop the floor with them at the club level. In their first season they even upset Bellarmine and Air Force. So far in 2014, they’ve lost to Lehigh and Ohio State but shocked Hofstra. Its interesting to see where they’ll go this year.
HP surprised Michigan last year in its first season, taking what Michigan thought was going to be a sure victory. The Panthers also stunned Towson in its second game ever. HP had the optimal conditions for adding lacrosse - a small east coast private school looking for increased exposure and applications and to beef up its athletic prowess, in a warm weather climate and no football. Hopefully it’ll catch on down there and they’ll make some waves. They’re 5-2 so far and beat our Michigan boys again this year.
The only Division 1 program in the state of Florida, Jacksonville, a smallish, private institution added lacrosse in 2010. The Dolphins haven’t been bad. They won 6 games in their inaugural campaign, including a W over a Denver squad who would end up in the tournament that year. Jax followed with a 5-win season in 2011, a 6 win season in 2012 (including one over Michigan) and an 8 win season in 2013. They’re 0-4 so far this year though, but the schedule is going to ease up to what they’re used to.
Like Furman, BU is winless in its first year so far. Unfortunately, unlike Furman, the schedule gets tougher down the stretch with games against Harvard, Loyola and Duke in 3 of their last 4. They had their chance earlier in the season against perennial scrubs like Mercer, Vermont and Canisius but came away with a few close losses. BU is a hockey school with no football so the choice to go D-1 was probably easier than it was for most schools.
Well, you know all about them. M had a much slower start than anticipated (I fully expected them to storm into Division 1 and rack up 6 or so wins in their first season). Sadly, my prognostications have been more on the mark for other teams. Nevertheless, they are starting to turn it on now with 3 wins in 2014, tripling their 2013 total. After getting run off the field by Penn State in the opener, Michigan responded with a blowout win over Mercer and a tight victory over Detroit before a sloppy but admirable effort against Hopkins. M almost landed their signature win against Cornell in OT, but alas it wasn’t meant to be. They then followed it up with a clunker vs High Point and a close win over Furman. So, in conclusion this team is still a total mystery. The good news is the conference looks pretty weak and AF, Fairfield, Bellarmine and Ohio could all be winnable games. Go Get ‘Em Blue!
Of course, I wish the new D-1 programs out there were Stanford, Texas, Florida and UCLA but that’s another story. I also have a diary about former big-time DI lacrosse programs which I’ll put up soon, but I figured the lacrosse nerds would enjoy this in the mean time.
Michigan won the game they should have won. They defeated the now-0-8 Furman Paladins, 11-9.
This is the first road in program history!
Michigan is now 3-4 on the season.
They travel for their final ECAC opener against Bellarmine a week from today for their next game.
Another tough day for Michigan Lacrosse.
Last game for the men was a crushing 15-14 OT at home to the #16 team in the country cornell. Leaving fans thinking what might have been.
In the lowest scoring game in program history, Michigan comes up two goals short at High Point, losing 9-7.
Next up for the men is Furman who is 0-5 on the season. This is a must-win game for Michigan.
The Women got beat 15-7 at Jacksonville tonight. They travel to Gainesville on Saturday to play the #5 Florida Gators. Yikes.
This team is something else. Two wins in the last two seasons combined for the program.
Team 3 has already matched that total in one season. They nearly knock off a program that is in the Top-10 among lacrosse programs in all-time victories.
Kyle Jackson tied the Michigan single game record for goals with 4, Peter Kraus had a hat trick.
Robbie Zonino made crazy saves. You know, the freshman goalie that wasn't going to see any playing time due to All-Rookie Gerald Logan in front of him. When Logan was injured, everyone, including myself, groaned. Had Zonino not had the game he did, no way this game is even close to an OT game.
An amazing game. Michigan travels next to high point, a team they nearly beat last season. One has to think that if Michigan did THIS against a ranked team, beat the tar out of a team they were expected to and stole one against detroit, Michigan SHOULD win that game.
The Men's lacrosse win streak ends at 2 with a 14-5 loss at #8 Johns Hopkins today.
Michigan led virtually every stat category in the game besides saves. The Hopkins PBP guys were gushing over Brad Lott winning faceoffs like it was going out of style. Dude is legit.
The Women made history today playing their first game. It was a tough one, a 20-7 loss at Villanova. Tess Korten scored the first goal in Michigan Women's Lacrosse history.
Next up: the Men return home to Ann Arbor to play their final game at Oosterbaan Field House this season against Cornell on Saturday at 1pm.
The Women take on Marquette, another new program, on Friday night at Oosterbaan.
What a win. What a game. What a team.
Michigan defeats Detroit tonight at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac tonight.
- FRESHMAN Ian King ties program single game record of 4 goals. This guy is going to be the career leader in goals, I guarantee it.
- Kyle Jackson had a hat trick and the GWG in OT
- Michigan has scored double-digit goals in consecutive games for the first time ever and are now 2-2 when scoring double-digit goals.
- Michigan has notched their first-ever OT win, now with a 1-1 record in OT.
- Michigan has now set a program record for most wins in a season, regardless of what happens the rest of the way.
- The second-ever neutral site win
- The FIRST-ever win in the Maize uniforms!
- Their first-ever win against detroit, now with a 1-1 record against the Titans and the MAAC
- A winning record at 2-1
- A winning streak! (2)
The most important stat? 14-13. The Wolverines are state champions.