Lacrosse: Great Lakes Lacrosse Classic Champs

Submitted by Tim on April 27th, 2010 at 11:14 AM

As noted in Friday's preview, Michigan and Michigan State have closed the MCLA regular season at a neutral site in each of the last four years, as part of the Great Lakes LAcrosse Classic. This year's game, at East Grand Rapids High School, was more of a nailbiter than expected, but the close game provided fans the opportunity to see some high-level lacrosse.

Recap

The game got off to a quick start for the Spartans, as they built up a 2-0 lead five minutes into the game. Michigan would eventually respond on two transition goals, the first coming on a successful ride, as Zach Mueller stole the ball and fed Trevor Yealy, followed by a Jordan Kirshner strike. After MSU took the 3-2 lead, Svet Tintchev (pictured below, from mgobluelacrosse.com) scored on a feed from Anthony Hrusovsky to tie it up going into the second.

laxmsu.jpg

The teams would continue to trade goals in the second quarter, but once Michigan State took a 5-4 lead, Michigan went on a 5-0 run, taking the 9-5 lead into halftime. Michigan's goals in the frame would come from Yealy (three times), Josh Ein (twice), and David Rogers.

The game would tighten up in the second half, as both teams upped the physical play leading to several big hits. Jordan Kirshner scored the first tally after the break:

Michigan opened the scoring in the second half with a nifty play as Kirshner teased his defender into thinking he was going to sub at midfield, before darting back into the box alone, taking a feed from Ein on the right GLE and firing high for the 10-5 lead moments into the third.

Michigan State put in the only other goals of the quarter, for a 10-7 score going into the final frame.

Michigan managed to kill off a 2-man-down situation early in the fourth, but another penalty shortly thereafter gave Michigan State the opportunity to get within two goals - and they capitalized. Michigan gained a little separation on a David Rogers tally with just over four minutes left in the game, and the Wolverines managed to keep possession for almost the entire remainder of the game for the 11-8 win.

Official Site Recap (source of quote and photo above)

Notes and Analysis

Michigan State's goalie stood on his head through much of the first quarter, and again in the fourth. During those times, Michigan's shots weren't always making him work hard for the save, however. Once shot quality improved (and frequency increased), the Wolverines put several shots past him.

David Reinhard was his typical solid self, winning 68% of his faceoffs, though even he had a slump when Michigan was struggling early in the game. Goalie Mark Stone had a solid outing, keeping Michigan State from scoring one several good opportunities. However, a couple balls that could have been saved got past him.

Senior Kevin Zorovich went out late in the first half with a knee or lower leg injury. He returned from the locker room after the rest of his teammates following halftime, and though he was still wearing his full gear (sans helmet), never returned to the game.

This is a much better MIchigan State than we;ve seen for the past few years. It will be a shame if this loss (combined with some unfavorable results elsewhere) keeps them out of the MCLA Tournament.

If you live in the Grand Rapids area and want to catch the game on TV, it will air on local access WKTV on Saturday at 5PM. The station will also have DVDs of the event available for purchase at a later date.

Up Next

The CCLA Conference Tournament goes down at Saline High School this weekend. Michigan has a first-round bye, and will take on its first opponent Saturday at 4PM. The Wolverines and Spartans are favored to rematch in the Conference Championship Game.

Next up on the blog will be a round of MCLA Bracketology and a CCLA Tournament Preview.

Comments

MGoShoe

April 27th, 2010 at 11:34 AM ^

...for M LAX. Any victory against MSU is a big victory and this one certainly qualifies. The likely grudge match in the CCLA Tourney championship game will be even more so.

weasel3216

April 27th, 2010 at 11:48 AM ^

First, congrats to the Michigan Lax team on winning yet another game against a ranked opponent.

Second, looking at laxpower.com, i realized that Michigan Lax finished the regular season with nine games (8-1) against the top 25 in the MCLA. I thought that this was a pretty impressive stat, until i saw that Michigan had also won eight games against top 25 talent in each of the past two seasons. But i guess this is still pretty impressive. Got to give credit to Coach John Paul for continuing to make it a challenge every season.

Third, i was looking through an "Inside Lacrosse" magazine the other day (school i coach at subscribes) and i saw a Michigan Lax summer camp ad. Again, i am really impressed at the national recognition that Michigan Lax is getting, especially when Michigan is still technically a "club" team.

MGoShoe

April 27th, 2010 at 3:30 PM ^

...with you on that, Tim. The Club/Club Varsity distinction is internal to U-M and gives these two teams a closer relationship with the AD than the other M club teams, all of which are administered by the Dept of Recreational Sports.

Club varsity squads are not necessarily closer to being elevated to full varsity status, and will remain for the time being primarily self-funded and administered through the Department of Recreational Sports. However, the designation will give these teams a closer relationship to the U-M athletic department.

Is it your assessment that this "closer relationship" has had no bearing on the team's success since this policy was announced on 9/8/2000? I find that hard to believe, but I'm not close to the program.

Tim

April 27th, 2010 at 3:46 PM ^

It's certainly helped with the budget (which, in turn, has maybe helped the program spend the money in other ways to get where it is today). They get the benefit of the Adidas contract, which means no $ spent on uniforms, and I believe that, unlike a non-Club Varsity team, they don't have to pay to rent Oosterbaan Fieldhouse for their practices and games.

There are plenty of mgomembers who are alums or current team members that could probably fill in the details more accurately than I can.

phjhu89

April 27th, 2010 at 7:08 PM ^

The point that weasel was making was that a club team being a camp destination of note is a big deal. Varsity club or regular club, that is a good point to make. Plenty of camps out there being run by big-time D1 lax schools, and by big-name MLL players. For Michigan to get a real piece of that market is impressive.

laxalum

April 28th, 2010 at 9:01 AM ^

As a player, I was never really clear on a lot of the administrative stuff that was going on, so I don't really know how the varsity club thing helped.  I can tell you that the team is still nearly 100% self-funded, and the budget, according to JP, is nearly $1 million a year.  I don't think varsity club meant that the university kicked any more financial support.  Plus, as has been mentioned, the team in building its own version of Schembechler Hall for several million dollars - all from private funds.

As players we took most of the behind the scenes stuff for granted, and it's just in hindsight that I started to realize how good we had it.  What's scary is the current team is light years ahead, in terms of support, facilities, coaching, equipment, travel, of what we had when I played.  I don't think there are more than a handful of D1 teams that have the resources the Michigan team has.  The fact that they (JP) have done all of this themselves is mindboggling.

I do know the team has been running camps and clinics, both in the summer and winter, for years.  I have worked them.  They are really well attended, and they get kids from all of the over the country.  The Michigan name is a big draw, club or not.  Their camps are listed on the camp page at mgoblue.com, so I assume that's one of the ways the varsity club thing has helped.  I have no idea what they pay to use facilities for camp.

UMman316

April 28th, 2010 at 3:42 PM ^

The team budget is actually just under $0.5 MM, of which $10k comes from the athletic department. The bulk of the funding comes from a combination of player dues and private support. The biggest impact that varsity club status had on the team was: 1) The equipment from the athletic department supplier (formerly Nike, now adidas) 2) The team was held to the same standards as an NCAA team. This includes things like eligibility and code of conduct (no more kegs on team buses) It's a pretty widespread myth that the team receives a lot of support from the university. The adidas gear for the team is actually not even included in the university contract, but adidas has made Michigan a feature team in their lacrosse marketing due to the strong brand image and team success, and therefore gives the team whatever they need. The truth is that John Paul has built the program without much support from the school.

laxalum

April 28th, 2010 at 4:20 PM ^

Thanks UMman.  You seem to have more inside info than me.  Post more often.

You're right about the budget.  I recall JP saying that the actual operating budget is around $500,000 a year, but if you add in what they get through their sponsors it is closer to the $1 million mark.

UMman316

April 27th, 2010 at 1:13 PM ^

MSU stepping up and fielding a much improved team is great for the sport in the state of MI. They've had issues with coach continuity in the past, so hopefully they'll be able to hold onto Hicks long enough to build a stronger foundation.

The fact that there are two improving high profile in-state options for high school lacrosse players in Michigan will only improve the homegrown talent. Michigan is still a long way from consistently developing the type of players that come from the east coast, and even some of the western states. Better college programs will result in more youth and high school participation, more and better coaches, and more pressure on these schools to elevate their respective teams to DI varsity, where they should be headed.

I know the Michigan team enjoys dominating the CCLA year in and year out, but they also know it's in everybody's best interest to have more good teams in the region.

Sac Fly

April 27th, 2010 at 2:49 PM ^

lax is growing, not just in michigan tho. im an asistant coach for a club team outside of chicago and i had purdue scouts come check out some of my players last sunday. the sport is exploding and i think it's pretty exciting

Tim

April 27th, 2010 at 2:55 PM ^

Metro Chicago, Metro Detroit (and Grand Rapids is emerging as well), Metro Cleveland and Metro Columbus seem to be some booming areas for lacrosse in the Midwest.