if you seek an image of the most Wisconsin OL ever, enter here
When last we left our beloved Wolverines, they had wrapped up a 3rd undefeated regular season in the past 4 years, and were getting ready to gear up for the CCLA Conference tournament. On the line at the tournament was the Conference Championship, and The #1 overall seed in the MCLA National Tournament.
So, this wasn't much of a contest. Michigan is a lot better than Central Michigan in pretty much every way, and it showed on the scoreboard. The Wolverines emerged 23-1 victors over the Chips - who are in up-and-coming program.
If you want more details on the game, check them out here.
This was a much better contest. In fact, I'd go so far as to say Michigan's 11-10 thriller over the Spartans was one of the most exciting Michigan Lacrosse games I've seen in the past three years or so.
The Wolverines built up an 8-4 lead in the second quarter, but Michigan State managed to capitalize on a couple broken rides (essentially a full-court press), and knot the game at 10 late in the third quarter. However, with just seconds to go in the frame, Trevor Yealy put in the 11th goal, and the teams were scoreless throughout the fourth (despite up-and-down play and several exciting moments).
The game featured the standard chippiness of a rivalry, plus a semi-brawl on the sidelines that lasted 30-some seconds.
For more on the State game, click here.
Going forward, Michigan has earned the #1 overall seed in the MCLA National Tournament. They'll take on #16 Seed Lindenwood in Denver on Tuesday the 17th at 4PM Mountain Time. The Lions earned a tournament berth by virtue of winning the GRLC Playoff.
Should seedings hold throughout, Michigan would face Oregon in the second round. The Wolverines beat Oregon in overtime in a neutral-site game earlier this season. The semifinal opponent would be Chapman, again a past Michigan victim this season. In the finals, Michigan would face Colorado State who, you guessed it, they've already beaten this season. The full bracket is here:
Michigan is the overwhelming favorite in what should be their last MCLA Tournament...
(They call that a segue, kids). Though there hasn't been much movement since the initial Inside Lacrosse report a couple weeks back, all the evidence seems to point in the direction of Michigan plying its trade as an NCAA Varsity team in the spring of 2012.
A couple interesting statements happened following the CCLA Tournament that lead me to believe everything is still on track. First, when presenting Michigan Coach John Paul with the conference championship trophy, the announcer said something along the lines of: "probably for the last time ever, Michigan wins the CCLA Trophy." JP played it cool when accepting the trophy, but certainly wasn't in a hurry to deny anything. Following the game, the official @UMichLacrosse twitter account dropped the following:
"Michigan finishes FINAL MCLA regular season with a 103-2 all-time record in CCLA competition."
While it may seem (or ultimately be) inconsequential, it is the first public statement from any official, on-record source that something is definitely going to happen for next season. For the record, Michigan Athletic Director David Brandon was in attendance at Saturday's victory over Central Michigan.
I'm covering the hell out of this story over at GreatLaxState.com, so if you're into every minute detail, check out my posts over there.
Michigan, OSU, Tennessee, LSU, and ... Central Michigan (!):
Also in the state of Michigan, two under-the-radar recruits from Sterling Heights playing in the big game:
Always wondered what happened to him. Article reminded me that RR tried to use wingless Michigan football helmets as motivational tools during the offseason.
CCLA Conference Tournament
Michigan will participate in its conference tournament this weekend, trying to take home their fourth consecutive championship. The field is as follows:
Michigan and Buffalo are the top two seeds, by virtue of winning the North and South Divisions, respectively. Michigan State and
Eastern Central Michigan also make the field from the North Division, and Miami (That Hockey Miami) joins Pitt from the South Division. Eastern Michigan earned the third North Division slot, but was disqualified because they be cheatin', yo. Central Michigan takes the spot instead.
In the first round, Michigan State and Miami are the favorites to advance. In the semi-finals, the Spartans should probably take down Buffalo, but that was the case last year as well, and it didn't turn out that way. Michigan should win the whole thing, regardless of which teams they face.
The CCLA auto-bid is up for grabs, but there are also MCLA At-Large implications. Michigan State has the chance to add two wins, and wash the taste of a three-game losing streak out of their mouths. That would help their bid to the national field. No other team (outside of Michigan, who is in regardless of outcome) will crack the MCLA field without winning the conference.
After Friday's first-round games, I'll keep updated review/previews going in the Diary section. For now, I'll briefly preview Miami, Michigan's likely semifinal opponent (see a brief preview of Central and a Recap of their game against Michigan for more on the Chippewas.
The RedHawks have gone 8-3 on the year, 3-1 in the CCLA South. Their losses have come to Missouri (7-9), Indiana (5-8), and Buffalo (5-7). They played a non-divisional game against Eastern Michigan earlier this spring, beating their Round 1 opponent by a comfortable 15-9 Margin.
Their All-Conference performers include Joe McLaughlin (2nd Team Midfield), Alex Manners (2nd Team Faceoff Specialist), Tyler Wallace (3rd Team Midfield), Brooke Slowinski (3rd Team Defense), Josh Ebel (Honorable Mention Short Stick Defensive Midfield), and Daniel Culp (Honorable Mention Goalie). McLaughlin, only a freshman, has done the majority of the team's scoring, with 22 goals and 10 assists.
Michigan's first game, against Miami or Eastern, will take place Saturday at 4PM at Saline High School's main (East) field. Full preview of Michigan's opponent after it is determined.
All-Conference Teams, MCLA Bracketology, and more after the jump!
The CCLA released their all-conference lists on Monday, and they're full of Wolverines:
- Attack Trevor Yealy
- Attack Kevin Zorovich
- Midfield Anthony Hrusovsky
- Defense Harry Freid
- Faceoff Specialist David Reinhard
- Long-Stick Midfield Matt Asperheim
- Short Stick Defensive Midfield Jordan Kirshner
- Attack Thomas Paras
- Midfield David Rogers
- Midfield Svet Tintchev
- Defense Austin Swaney
- Goalie Mark Stone
- Defense Justin Burgin
- Attack Josh Ein
- Attack Clark McIntyre
- Midfield Jamison Goldberg
- Short Stick Defensive Midfield Michael Bartomioli
Michigan composes seven of the thirteen first-team honorees (Michigan State has four, and Buffalo has two. Those are the only teams represented), and 17 of the 59 total players honored. Making this more impressive is the fact that a number of Michigan players were injured for significant portions of the year (David Rogers, Clark McIntyre, and Michael Bartomioli all missed multiple games), and several more were suspended for one game.
The players who made the first team are likely to gain consideration for All-American honors. Among them, Trevor Yealy is a lock for the First Team, and is in the running for Player of the Year honors.
A couple conference tournaments took place last weekend, which helped settle the MCLA Tournament field a bit. We now know the Automatic Qualifiers from the SELC (Florida, previously a bubble team) and LSA (Texas State, the only team from their conference who will make it).
Last 2 In: Florida State, Michigan State
First 2 Out: UC-Santa Barbara, Loyola Marymount
Out From Last Time: Texas, UC Santa Barbara, Virginia Tech.
I'm waffling on whether Florida State or Virginia Tech (or both, or neither) should be in the field. They were similarly-ranked heading into the SELC Tournament, and Florida State lost in the first round, whereas the Hokies made it to the final. I still like Florida State's overall schedule a bit more.
Other than that, nothing was too tough. Michigan State probably needs to paste Pitt and Buffalo to feel really safe in the tournament. There's still quite a bit of variability with all the auto-bids (except two) still up in the air. If I can get around to it before the official bracket comes out, I'll hopefully have another Bracketology post early next week.
Inside Lacrosse gives their take on a bubble watch.
Michigan handily took care of Central Michigan on a fairly wet day in Ann Arbor by a score of 13-7 in front of 880 fans braving the weather. Matt Gerbe took the win in his first career start, moving to 1-0 on the season. He went only 3.2 innings giving up 4 hits, 3 runs (all unearned), and 2 walks whiles not recording a strikeout. Behind him, Travis Smith, Ben Ballantine, Kolby Wood, Matt Miller, and Matt Broder combined to finish the game and give up on 4 runs (3 earned). Decent day against a decent hitting team.
The offense was clicking in full, recording 18 hits, including a multi-hit game by Biondi (3), Toth (2), Berset (2), Crank (2), Dufek (2), Urban (2), and Dennis (2). Every starter had a hit in this game, and the only batter with a plate appearance without one was John Lorenz, who went 0-for-1 after entering the game as a defensive replacement. No real stars here, as everyone hit well and was timely about it.
It is worth noting that Ryan LaMarre made his first start since breaking his thumb, playing left field instead of center as he started in the season opener. LaMarre went 1-for-3 on the day with a hit by pitch and a strikeout. He also unlaced a screamer up the middle, seen in the video highlights almost hitting Berset as he lead off second. That's encouraging to see him hit the ball hard and up the middle.
The other major lineup change was moving senior Mike Kittle to third base for the start. I'm not sure this is a permanent move, but Kittle has had a hot bat of late and it appears Rich Maloney wants to try and keep that bat in the lineup. That could be a tough break for sophomore John Lorenz who has really picked up his game play of late. He had raised is average to nearly .280, which isn't bad for a 8-hole hitter in the Big Ten, but he hasn't been that consistent at the plate.
What will keep Lorenz in the mix at third is, surprisingly, his defense. Kittle had a diving play that he reacted too slow on early in the game. Lorenz faced an identical play late in the game, and he was able to move in front of the ball and make the easy throw to first. I'm not sure who to expect to start at the hot corner on Friday, but I think we see Lorenz. I somewhat think this was just a trial to see how Kittle would perform defensively. It's not that he failed that test, I'm just not sure that switch is warranted yet. Should be interesting to see come Friday.
Michigan takes on Purdue this weekend. I'll have some Q&A with a Purdue baseball blogger tomorrow and a couple series thoughts out Friday. Friday's first pitch is currently slated for 7:05pm at Ray Fisher Stadium and televised on the BTN (the television channel, not the internet stream).