I GIVE UP ON HATING WISCONSIN
UPDATE: Due to popular demand, there WILL be a CoverItLive chat for tonight's game. Find it here.
With a 16-11 victory over rival BYU, the Michigan Wolverines have advanced to the semifinals of the MCLA National Tournament, where they'll face the #4 seed Chapman Panthers.
The game against BYU started with the Cougars controlling the run of play early, though they were unable to earn a substantial lead. Midway through the first and into the second, Michigan's faceoff specialist David Reinhard took over the game, winning several consecutive faceoffs (some of them procedure violations against BYU) and giving Michigan the vast majority of possessions. That led to a 9-5 halftime lead for the Wolverines.
[ed: Thrilling conclusion + Chapman preview after the jump.]
No MCLA program in the country had as a difficult start to their 2010 season as the Michigan Wolverines. With true road games against the #22, #5, and #6 teams in the country, there were never going to be any claims of Michigan padding the schedule with soft opponents. Despite playing without a number of starters in one of the contests (more on that later), the Wolverines emerged unscathed, and are ready to take on yet another top opponent this weekend.
In each game (against Arizona, Arizona State, and BYU), Michigan got off to a slow start, but managed to come back for the win. This isn't exactly a sign that they will be as dominant in the 2010 season as they were in 2009, but if they can work out the early-season jitters, an undefeated run isn't out of the question, especially with the toughest stretch of the schedule out of the way. Part of those mental mistakes - namely numerous offsides violations - can be attributed to the offseason loss of Goalie Coach Brad Gigliotti, who had been running the substitution box for the Wolverines the past several seasons.
The Wolverines welcome Simon Fraser University into the friendly confines of Oosterbaan Fieldhouse on Friday at 7:00 PM for the home opener. The Clan was ranked #3 in the nation last week, but dropped non-competitive games to Colorado State and Colorado (17-7) - both upcoming Wolverine opponents. Against the Rams, Fraser led 5-4 at the half, before allowing five consecutive goals in the third quarter on their way to a 12-6 loss. Since 3rd-quarter runs have been a strength for Michigan through three games, that bodes well.
On Saturday, the Wolverines "travel" to Ypsilanti to take on Eastern Michigan in a cross-county CCLA Conference Matchup. The Eagles went 3-4 against MCLA Division 1 opposition last year (6-5 overall), including a 33-8 pounding at the hands of their conference brethren very slightly to the west. This season, they have started with a 1-3 record, defeating only CCLA D-2 squad Calvin College.
Michigan held just a 5-3 advantage at halftime, but exploded in the second half for a 15-5 victory in Tucson. Junior Goalie Andrew Fowler got the start in net, and went the distance for the Wolverines. Reigning CCLA scoring champ Trevor Yealy put in 6 goals, and faceoff specialist David Reinhard won 62.5% of his 24 draws. Every healthy field player saw action for the Wolverines in the blowout.
The Wolverines took a 1-goal advantage after a period in Tempe, and matched the Sun Devils goal-for-goal for the remaining three quarters to come away with the 11-10 victory over ASU. The goalies each played a half, with Andrew Fowler getting the start, and Mark Stone making a last-second save in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. Trevor Yealy had a relatively quiet game for the maize-and-blue, scoring only two goals (tied with David Rogers and Freshman Thomas Paras for most on the team). Reinhard was again exceptional, winning 84% (!!!) of his 25 faceoff attempts.
Against rival BYU, the Wolverines were shorthanded, with six players suspended for violating team rules. Captain Svet Tintchev, along with fellow seniors Kevin Zorovich, Clark Mcintyre, and Josh Ein joined juniors Steve Levitt and Matt Asperheim on the bench. All except Levitt are starters, and their absence was a huge blow to the Michigan effort, also forcing midfielder Jamie Goldeberg to play out of position at attack. Now that the scene is set, take a look at the freakin' awesome setting for BYU's field:
Trevor Yealy was back to form, leading MIchigan with four goals, tied again with Paras for most on the team. As just a freshman, it's clear Paras has a great future ahead of him for this team. Mark Stone went the distance in net for Michigan, and Reinhard again dominated faceoffs, winning 70.1% of his 24 opportunities. Michigan again had some mental mistakes, committing 33 turnovers along with 2 offsides penalties. However, it's the final score that counts, and Michigan's 13-9 victory kept them undefeated on the season.