Michigan's first B1G lacrosse game is officially in the books. Unfortunately for Coach John Paul and the boys the inaugural game was against #3 Maryland and, not surprisingly, we lost.
We looked just okay in the first half, trailing only 4-1 at half time. Despite having 12 turnovers in the half we were able to control long possessions but were not able to get off (m)any good shots on goal – we had a total of 7 shots in the half; only 2 on cage with 1 goal and 1 save. In the good guys goal Gerald Logan looked very strong, making several key point blank saves to keep the Wolverines in the conversation – Maryland got off 21 shots in the half, Logan made 8 saves and let in 4 goals.
Maryland dominated at the face-off all game, winning 15 of 21, and Michigan was forced to put a long pole at the x. Even this only helped delay the inevitable, as Maryland pulled away in the third quarter to cruise to the final score of 13-4. Maryland outshot us by 20 (41-21) and had 11 more ground balls (30-19). The only stats Michigan won were saves (12-7) and turnovers (14-16). The better team definitely won the day.
Michigan falls below .500 for the first time this year at 4-5. Three of Michigan's four remaining opponents are ranked ahead of them via Laxpower (Michigan is ranked #42, Rutgers is #44), and two are nationally ranked in the polls that matter, as noted.
April 5 vs. Rutgers (4-7)
April 12 vs. #14 Ohio State (8-3)
April 18 @ #19 Johns Hopkins (4-5)
April 25 vs. Penn State (3-6)
Michigan’s defense proved to be no match for Brown’s attack, as the Wolverines fell 22-12 to the Bears at Oosterbaan Sunday afternoon. Two different Brown attackmen scored 4 goals each, and Bears frosh Dylan Molloy matched them with 8 goals of his own (?!) in addition to 5 assists for a jaw-dropping 13-point afternoon.
Brown jumped out a 5-0 lead before Michigan scored twice in the last two minutes to end the first quarter at 5-2. Michigan scored next 3 minutes into the second to cut the lead to 2, which turned out to be as close as we would get the rest of the game. Another run of 5 unanswered from the Bears put the score at 10-3 before the teams traded goals to end the half 12-5 Brown.
Coach John Paul and his staff got the team's attention in the locker room, as Michigan came out strong to start the second half, scoring 3 straight goals to cut the lead to 4 and breathing some life into the team. Brown stretched the lead to six before the Wolverines surged again to cut the lead back to 4 with just 38 second left in the third. That would prove to be the last hurrah for Michigan’s comeback. Brown’s goal with 8 seconds left in the quarter seemingly broke Michigan’s spirit, if not our momentum, and was just the first goal of yet another run of 5 unanswered goals for the Bears that extended the lead to 20-11 only 4 minutes into the fourth quarter. The game ended with a whimper to the final score of 22-12.
The game was going to be the first of the season in Michigan Stadium before cold and snow forced the game indoors, so there was no video or audio for the game making post mortem analysis difficult from just the Gametracker feed. But when the other team’s attack unit has 16 goals and 6 assists, one doesn’t have to dig into the box score too deeply to pin a reason on the loss. Our close D simply couldn’t hang with them, and given how badly our defense was sliding in our last game (televised loss to Jacksonville) I would imagine that was again the reason behind the ridiculous 22 points from their starting attack.
Another stat that jumps out is save percentage. After missing last season to injury, Gerald Logan has been spotty in his return to the cage, and today making only 12 saves with 22 goals against (35% awful). (Brown’s goalie made 14 saves with 12 goals against, 54% respectable). Given how badly it seemed the defense played in front of Logan (see last paragraph) and the number of Brown attack assists, I can only imagine he was facing a lot of point blank shots, and probably more than a few backdoor layups that he could only watch from the other side of the goal. It’s hard to fault a goalie for giving up those sorts of goals. If Michigan hopes to be competitive the rest of the season they will need Logan to return to his freshman form when he was #2 in the NCAA in total saves (211) and #13 in save percentage (56.3 percent).
Michigan was without its top scorer this season, as Ian King didn’t play in the game (undisclosed injury?), which may have kept the game closer but since King doesn’t play much defense I think a best outcome would have been a 20-16 loss.
After a promising start to the season, the Wolverine’s now stand at 3-3 after dropping two straight. Brown is now 4-0 on the year, tied for first in a strong Ivy League, and looking to move up into the teens in the rankings after today’s impressive stomping.
I stated previously I thought the Brown game would be a bellwether for Michigan’s chances of finishing above .500 for the first time this season. Since I first wrote that Michigan has lost 2 games that I thought we would win one of if not both. Our offense seems to be doing okay, but looking ahead I just don’t see 4 more wins on the schedule (to get to 7 wins and over .500) unless the team can find something on defense to keep the games close. After a month of visions of sugarplums dancing in my head, cold reality is setting in as I try not to think about ending the season with only our current 3 wins.
Up next, our boys head to Philadelphia to face Saint Joseph’s Saturday 3/14. The Hawks are 2-3 this year, but with two one-goal games could easily be 3-2, or 1-4. A strong effort and a win could turn our season around. That’s why they play the game.
The University officially announced John Paul as the first varsity lacrosse head coach. Only right as he worked his ass off building the program up to the D1 level. Im extremely proud and excited for him.. Go Blue
Before we get into discussion of the deeper issues facing Michigan lacrosse, Let's take a look at this weekend's opponents. Colorado has been struggling throughout this year, badly enough to change coaches mid-season. Colorado State, on the other hand, has been excellent. They are ranked #2 and are undefeated on the season in the competitive Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference.
Friday, 7pm MDT,
Franklin Field KITTREDGE FIELD, Boulder CO.
Record: 2-5 (0-2 RMLC)
Rankings: Prodigy #22, LaxPower #15, Computer #14
Common Opponents: W 17-7 Simon Fraser
Previous Meetings: 2009 Regular Season (video highlights), 2009 MCLA Playoffs (liveblog).
I've talked a few times about how Colorado is a team in disarray. They fired their first-year head coach just a couple games into the season and have limped to a 2-5 record against MCLA teams this year. Those two wins, however, came against respectable competition (Simon Fraser and Lindenwood), so it's not like the Buffaloes are incapable of beating top teams.
Offensively, junior attack James Blackburn, a 2009 Honorable Mention All-American, leads the team with 2.71 points per game, and freshman Doug Lilburne isn't far behind at 2.29. Those are the only two CU players over two points per game, however, and the offensive production has really struggled, with the Buffs only breaking into double digits in their two victories on the year. sophomore middies Nick Kupcewicz has impressed, but was suspended for last week's game against Colorado State.
On defense, senior Mike Britt was named an MCLA 1st-Team All-American last year, and his classmate Mike Geocaris earned an Honorable Mention distinction. Sophomore defensive mid Ryan Emerson leads the team in ground balls, closely followed by freshman LSM Hap Knowles. In goal, 4th-year sophomore William Brown and freshman Bradley Macnee have gotten the most playing time. Brown has the higher save percentage, but facies more shots, giving up 8.6 goals per game.
Michigan should be able to emerge victorious in this contest. The Buffaloes are talented, but haven't been playing like it yet this year, and are just enter the second week in the system of new head coach Mike Ryder. The Wolverines' ride should be able to prevent an unsettled CU clear from reaching respectable numbers, and Michigan has proven to be able to turn defense into offense, as well as scoring on established possessions. [Ed: CSU and the possibility of a D-I move after the jump.]
Check out this article: http://www.laxmagazine.com/blogs/coyne/030710_making_sense_delivering_a_...
Good to see another Michigan coach keeping his priorities straight.