Michigan Men's Lacrosse advanced to the quarterfinals of the MCLA National Championship Tournament with a 19-3 victory over Texas State yesterday afternoon. They had to wait until today to find out who their second-round opponent would be, as last night's Michigan State/BYU game was delayed due to inclement weather.
Michigan, as expected, dominated Texas State for a 19-3 victory. Every healthy player got some game action, with ten of them scoring (the official site recap says eleven, but I don't think that's right). Here's the goal breakdown:
- Josh Ein: 3
- Svet Tintchev: 3
- Thomas Paras: 3
- Trevor Yealy: 2
- Jamison Goldberg: 2
- Clark McIntyre: 2
- Michael Bartomioli: 1
- Harrison Freid: 1
- Brent Kirshner: 1
- Willie Steenland: 1
Michigan dominated every category, with double the numbers of shots and groundballs of Texas State, a 76.9% success rate on faceoffs, and a nearly-perfect 23 of 24 on clears, while holding the Bobcats to an abysmal 13 of 32.
In goal, Andrew Fowler got the start, leaving me still confused as to which goalie is actually Michigan's #1, despite Mark Stone starting most of the year. Coach John Paul had the following to say:
“We go through his week with two great goalies and we just want to have the right goalie in at the right time to give us the best opportunity to win that game. We’re focused on the quarters and there are some things that BYU and Michigan State do that might result in Fowler doing a little bit better of a job for us, but after that it’s wide open again. Regardless, we’ve been in this situation for two years now and we have total confidence in both goalies.”
Fowler replaced Stone at halftime in the most recent contest against Michigan State, and fared much better (57% saves on 7 chances to Stone's 38% on 13 chances). Fowler was the team's #1 goalie through most of last year, a foot injury aside, but hasn't played nearly as much this season. From the sounds of it, he'll get the start regardless of tomorrow's opponent.
Their game was rained out last night, but Michigan State and BYU resumed play today, and BYU came away with a 13-8 victory. The teams traded opening goals, but then BYU went on a run to build a substantial lead in the first half. Michigan State clawed back, but was unable to get within legitimate striking distance.
Of note coming out of that game is the fact that one of BYU's team leaders, senior midfielder (1st-Team All-Conference) Elliott Grow, sustained a shoulder injury in the first half and did not return to the game. Though it's likely his absence was just precautionary, it would be a major boon to the Wolverines if BYU's leading goal-scorer AND assist man missed the game tomorrow.
In addition to Grow, the Cougars are led in scoring by a trio of sophomores in attacks Kent Mann and Corey Gunderson, and (1st-Team All-Conference) midfielder Andrew Harding. All have a good balance between scoring and assisting, which has benefitted their classmate Jared Houghton, a midfielder with 25 goals and only 5 assists. In goal, senior Will Hilton has been the man, saving exactly 50% of shots faced, and allowing opponents just under eight goals per game. Junior middie Daniel Cole leads the team in ground balls with 103, followed by (1st-Team All-Conference) LSM Britton Cone with 99. Cole is also the team's faceoff specialist, earning second-team all-conference honors.
Last time these two teams played, Michigan was without several key players, who were serving a one-game suspension. Still, the Wolverines prevailed on the road, with a 13-9 victory in Provo. BYU built an early 3-0 lead, but Michigan stormed back with six consecutive goals going into halftime. The Cougars managed to tie it up early in the third, but Michigan ended the game on a 7-3 run to secure the victory. Kent Mann, Jared Houghton, and Corey Gunderson all scored a pair of goals for BYU, and Elliot Grow added one, to go along with five assists. The Wolverines were led by Trevor Yealy and Thomas Paras with four goals apiece. Paras also added three assists. Mark Stone went the distance n the cage.
Michigan will have a couple big advantages in this game based on the delay of the Michigan State/BYU contest. First, the Wolverines have an extra day of rest to recuperate after yesterday's wun over Texas State. With a crowded schedule over the weekend, that rest day will help them stay fresh for this important contest, a luxury the opponent doesn't have. Secondly, the Wolverines had a chance to see the opponent in person one last time, against top competition, for an extra scouting opportunity.
I have a hard time picking against Michigan in this game, given the extra day of rest and the fact that BYU's best player might not be 100%. It should be a hard-fought battle, but I see a 14-8 Wolverines victory.
In my tournament preview, I selected winners for every game of the tournament. Some of the games that I thought of as "gimmies" for the top seeds weren't the expected blowouts, as Arizona State only beat Cal Poly 10-5 and Colorado State put in a couple late goals to edge Boston College 10-7, but those still all turned out the way I thought they would.
As I predicted, Simon Fraser did indeed upset #7 seed Florida State, and Duluth did get a comfortable victory over the Florida Gators on Tuesday. Michigan State's comeback bid against BYU fell short, leaving me perfect until the last result of the day. Oregon and Colorado battled to the end, requiring overtime to settle the 11-v-6 game. Colorado scored the sudden-death goal, keeping my predictions perfect.
No reason to change now, and I'll keep my second-round predictions steady. That's Michigan over BYU, Chapman over Duluth, Arizona State over Colorado, and Colorado State over Simon Fraser.