Lacrosse Finishes Undefeated Regular Season

Submitted by Tim on April 25th, 2011 at 9:23 AM

With rumors of a varsity announcement running rampant, it's easy to forget that there's still an actual season going on. When last we saw the Michigan Lacrosse team on these pages, they had successfully completed a California road trip, and were preparing to kick off a long homestand. Since that time, they have won 9 consecutive games and wrapped up their third undefeated regular season in the past four years.

Let's take a look at those results weekend-by-weekend...

Michigan 16, BYU 6
Michigan 20, Pitt 1

BYU came to Ann Arbor as a top-5 team, but Michigan ran them off the field despite a mediocre performance. Chad Carroll and Joey Hrusovsky each had a 4-point game, while Trevor Yealy scored 3 goals himself. The following night, Michigan took on an overmatched Pittsburgh squad, and walked away with the easy 20-1 victory.

Michigan 14, Boston College 7
Michigan 21, UC-Santa Barbara 0

Boston College was the first team all year to come into Oosterbaan Fieldhouse and not back down, even when Michigan built up a lead. Brian Greiner solidified his starting position on faceoffs as Edward Ernst struggled on draws, and Michigan played a very sloppy game, which allowed the Eagles to stay in it. I sat near the UCSB team at the BC game, and they were chirping quite a bit about how they were going to get an easy win the following night... so imagine their surprise when they were blasted into a fine red mist in a 21-0 beatdown. Maybe Michigan was sending a message, or maybe their second and third lines are just that much better than the Gauchos. Either way, Trevor Yealy scored 6 goals to become Michigan's all-time leading scorer, and this game was over seemingly as soon as it started.

Michigan 11, Colorado State 3
Michigan 12, Arizona State 10

The following weekend, #1 welcomed the #2 and #3 teams in the land into Oosterbaan Fieldhouse, but managed to emerge unscathed. Colorado State was the first victim, as Michigan showed why they're so tough to beat at home. They rode the Rams into tons of turnovers, and got the easy win. It wasn't such easy going the following night, as the Wolverines built up a 9-3 lead on Arizona State, but the Sun Devils refused to give up, and managed to get the final margin to 2 goals. Attackman Eric Nelson and goalkeeper Dylan Westfall played excellently, but not well enough to earn the win.

Michigan 26, Missouri 9

The Wolverine offense was a well-oiled machine the following weekend, as they scored .609 points per possession (.400 is a very good performance) and easily dispatched of a Missouri team that never stood a chance. The Tiger offense was surprisingly effective itself, but they were no match for Chad Carroll, who put in 8 goals and an assist all by himself.

Michigan 14, Michigan State 10

Like the BC and Arizona State games, Michigan managed to build up a couple leads, but the opponent didn't wilt under the pressure, and made some runs of their own. It was a rainy night in Birmingham, and both squads made their share of sloppy plays. The Spartans couldn't put the ball on net, and that was ultimately their downfall against their most hated rival.

Michigan 16, Toledo 1

The Wolverines finally played a true road game after several weeks at home and one at a neutral site, but it was business as usual in dispatching first-year MCLA program Toledo. Plenty of backups got a chance to play in this game (which was played in the Glass Bowl), and the outcome was never in doubt.

Up Next

Michigan has a weekend off from competition, and they'll return to action on May 7th at the conference Tournament in Saline. They'll face a Directional Michigan (most likely Central) in the first round, before taking on the winner of Michigan State and Pittsburgh (most likely the Spartans) in the final on Sunday.

Assuming they win the conference tournament - and even if they don't - they're all-but-guaranteed to be the #1 overall seed in the National Tournament, which starts May 17th in Denver. They'll seek their unprecedented 4th consecutive championship, and then we can start worrying about whether or not they'll play varsity lacrosse next season.

For all the day-to-day details on the team, you can check out my lacrosse blog at GreatLaxState.com.

Comments

saveferris

April 25th, 2011 at 12:28 PM ^

With the impending announcement of U of M moving MLAX up to D-1 varsity status, I have 2 questions:

  1. Will Michigan enter as an independent or will it join OSU in the ECAC?  Another conference?
  2. What is a realistic expectation for performance right off the bat?  I realize we probably have a way to go before we're competing with the likes of Duke, Virginia, Hopkins, and 'Cuse, but what about within conference?  Are we going to see a Penn State hockey-esque lump-taking within conference until we can up our recruiting or can we compete with the Villanovas and Quinnipiacs of the world?

WolvinLA2

April 25th, 2011 at 12:42 PM ^

The ECAC would be a good fit, both geographically and since a handful of the decent conference are multi-sport conferences (ACC, Big East, Ivy, etc) and the other options (Metro Atlantic and Northeast) are below us, as crazy as that sounds for a team not yet in D1.  I'd be afraid that if we joined one of those conference, it would either limit us from reaching our ceiling, or if we reached it, we'd slaughter our league like we're doing now.  Neither of those are good things.  ECAC or independent until we join a league. 

Tim

April 25th, 2011 at 1:36 PM ^

WolvinLA sort of answered your first question at least, btu I'll give it a shot:

1) They would join the ECAC. Typically, teams have participated as an independent for a year or two before joining a league, but everything I've heard seems to indicate they'll try to get the ECAC to let them in right away. The strength of the club program and John Paul's relationships in the lacrosse world would certainly help that out.

I've also wondered whether the Westernmost programs in D-1 (Air force, Denver, Ohio State, Hypothetical Michigan, Bellarmine, Detroit) would form a neo-Great West Lacrosse Conference, the original edition of which folded when Notre Dame jioned the Big East. That would probably be a few years into the future though.

2) I won't lie to you, they are going to suck in year 1. I think they'll play a pretty tough schedule (especially if they are in the ECAC), and take their fair share of lumps. That said, they'll also schedule weak teams like Mercer, Wagner, and/or High Point to at least get a few wins. I think a realistic expectation for wins in the first year or two is all of those "guarantee games," plus one over the next-weakest team on the schedule (in the ECAC, this would probably be Bellarmine), and maybe a surprise. A 5-10 opening season would be the expectation.

Of course, assuming the program is as Big Deal as people in the lacrosse world seem to think it is, they could also get some transfers and/or top recruits to come in this year and change the whole story.

laxalum

April 25th, 2011 at 2:29 PM ^

Tim is right.  They are probably not going to tear up the D1 world in year one or year two.  Lacrosse recruiting at the elite level is two years ahead. The top programs have already filled their fall 2012 classes.  The best high school sophomores are now considering where they will go and a handful have already committed.  Expect Michigan to land their first elite recruits in fall 2013.

I do think they will get a lot of attention from transfers and whatever high level recruits are left for 2012.  The question is, can they even get transfers in for next season?  If not, they will really struggle.  If the answer yes, they could be at least decent if everyone gels quickly.

My guess is they will really struggle next year, but the trend will be upwards with a huge leap in 2014 or 2015 (years three and four).  New facilities will help a lot too.

WolvinLA2

April 25th, 2011 at 4:00 PM ^

Just like transfers, there will be 2012 kids who switch their commitments to UM once it's announced that we're D1 and we'll have some money to throw around. The easiest should be the D1-bound in-state kids, and kids committed to D1 schools but aren't getting scholarships.

Also, Alex Van Slyke from FHE is coming in the class of 2011, and he's a D1 calibur player.

mgolax

April 26th, 2011 at 8:47 AM ^

From laxpower.com's recruiting database:

Recruits2011 Database
ID Div Name Hometown State HighSchool HS_St Position Status College
1589 U Strittmatter, Vince Potomac MD Georgetown Prep MD Defense R Michigan
2129 U Portnoy, Andrew Mountain Lakes NJ Mountain Lakes NJ Attack W Michigan
2114 U Van Slyke, Alex Forest Hills MI Forest Hills Eastern MI Attack R Michigan
1894 U Weiss, Emil Cary NC Apex NC Goalie R Michigan
1595 U Edelstein, Daniel Los Angeles CA Harvard Westlake CA Midfield R Michigan
1594 U Marcus, Alex Greenwich CT Greenwich CT Midfield/​FO R Michigan
1593 U Eisenreich, Jack Chatham NJ Chatham NJ Midfield R Michigan
1592 U Bennett, Ben Long Lake MN Blake School MN Defense/​LSM R Michigan
1590 U Mosko, Andrew Bethesda MD Georgetown Prep MD Midfield R Michigan

 

A lot of those school's stand out as tradition-heavy lacrosse schools (GP, Greenwich, Chatham, Blake) and I've heard the goalie is an OMG shirtless stud

Tim

April 26th, 2011 at 11:12 AM ^

The goalie is supposed to be awesome. He apparently turned down interest from Duke to attend Michigan, though I couldn't find any confirmation of that on the internets. 

WolvinLA2

April 25th, 2011 at 12:50 PM ^

A question I have - how many scholarships do you get for a D1 lacrosse team?  I know it's not like football and basketball where you field a full team of scholarship players, but I was curious how close it was.

I found it - it's 12.6, which is somewhere between a third and a quarter of the roster.  These can be split up I assume, correct?

Tim

April 25th, 2011 at 1:37 PM ^

12.6, and it's exceedingly rare that anybody gets a full ride. I would guess that scholarship is split up between about 25-30 players, but that's partially my speculation, too. It's tough to find information online about how teams typically split up the scholarships.

WolvinLA2

April 25th, 2011 at 3:01 PM ^

The great thing about half scholarships being the norm is that we could all but avoid offering scholarships to in-state players since instate tuition at UM would be comparable to getting a half scholarship most anywhere else. OSU and PSU would have a similar advantage in their states, but the private schools (many of the major programs) don't have this advantage.

L'Carpetron Do…

April 25th, 2011 at 8:03 PM ^

Awesome season boys...keep it up and lets get number 4!

They'll definitely take some lumps in their first year, but they'll also  dish out a few.  I'm kind of excited to see that this may be happening next year.  It will serve as a lab experiment to see how  Michigan,purely a club team with no scholarships, would fare in Division 1.  

I've always felt that Michigan teams would run in the middle of the pack (probably somewhere in the back) but by no means at the bottom.  I'm judging this on the fact  that  in an official game, Michigan  crushed a  team in the lower rungs of Division 1 (but this was years ago).  Also, some of Michigan's  MCLA rivals have also done pretty well against Division I and Division II teams.

The real difference though is athletes.  And thats what they'll find out next year.  Michigan always has decent athletes but they have great lacrosse players.  In the past Michigan has only typically had maybe 2 or 3  guys on the squad at a time who were athletic enough to play for a top 25 Division 1 team.   Division 1 teams, particularly the ones at the top, have benchfuls of big, strong, fast athletes.

It would be interesting to see what transfers would come or which kids would jump ship from schools they've committed to.  That might not be likely but you never know...GO BLUE!  WIN ANOTHER ONE!

WolvinLA2

April 25th, 2011 at 8:27 PM ^

For those of you who don't read Tim's blog on Michigan Lax, he has a post with all of the michigan residents playing D1 lax - found here http://www.greatlaxstate.com/2011/michigan-natives-playing-d-1-ball.  The guys on that list who are at major programs like Hopkins, ND, Maryland, maybe Yale and Princeton - they would be unlikely transfers, but guys at the smaller D1 programs or guys who went to the big name schools and would rather be a star on the up and coming UM squad than buried on the depth chart at a bigger program, would all be good candidates. 

It's not a stretch to say that many of the guys on that list would have played UM Lacrosse if it were D1 when they started college, so some of them might want to come home and play for UM.  Considering Michigan is a better school, closer to home, and likely a comparable lax team than a lot of the schools on that list, it's certainly not a stretch to assume a decent number of transfers, at least initially.  After that we can start recruiting those kinds of guys, and after that - domination.

L'Carpetron Do…

April 25th, 2011 at 9:32 PM ^

Considering Michigan is a better school, closer to home, and likely a comparable lax team than a lot of the schools on that list, it's certainly not a stretch to assume a decent number of transfers, at least initially.  After that we can start recruiting those kinds of guys, and after that - domination.

I like the way you think my man! 

Going over that list, those are some impressive teams.  The state of Michigan as a recruiting base is no joke.  Should D-1 be implemented Michigan would have a decided edge over most of the schools on that list.

laxalum

April 26th, 2011 at 8:47 AM ^

The NCAA transfer rules don't have anything to do with coaches' agreements.  The rule that requires a transfer to sit for a year only applies to football, basketball and maybe hockey and baseball?  It doesn't apply to other sports.

Tim's list shows that there a lot of D1 lacrosse players in Michigan.  It also shows that there aren't that many who are at an elite D1 level.  Michigan will probably want to get the top one or two players from the state if they can every year, but if they are filling their roster with more in-state players than that they are not going to be competing for championships.  Even now, as a top club team, the majority of the roster is from out of state.  As a D1 team expect the out of state percentage to go up.

Tim

April 26th, 2011 at 11:08 AM ^

That's inaccurate. Transfers between 4-year schools are required to sit out a year, regardless of sport, unless they apply for an exemption. 

That said, in non-revenue sports (i.e. everything except football, basketball, baseball, and hockey), the exemption is almost always granted if the school that the player is leaving is willing to sign off on it.

mgolax

April 26th, 2011 at 11:40 AM ^

My understanding is that the NCAA transfer rules apply to all student-athletes, as Tim stated, i.e. you have to sit out one year as a full-time student at your new school after transferring.

Tim is also correct that exceptions are allowable for non-revenue sport athletes to compete immediately in their first transfer year provided the school you are leaving gives a release or fails to object within 7 days of being notified you are transferring.  I was being a bit loose with my terminology, but this to me generally means if the coach does not object, you can play immediately.  I know the coach alone is not granting the release, but I'm sure the releasing school consults him or her in every case.

In the case of men's lacrosse, it's generally understood that a transferring player will be granted the release for an exception and be able to play immediately at his new school - hence me dropping the term "gentlemen's agreement."

http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/TGONLINE2010.pdf was referenced extensively for this post.