Team One, Game One: a lacrosse recap

Submitted by MaizeAndBlueWahoo on February 14th, 2012 at 3:57 AM

[Ed: Bump. Also see Brooks's lax primer.]

A historic moment for U-M seems to be getting a little bit of a short shrift - mgolicious shouldn't be the most notable place for a mention of the first varsity NCAA lacrosse game in Michigan history - so for those interested in the game but who couldn't make it out to Pontiac or watch the live feed, here is a recap.  This will be kind of a cheap diary entry, since most of it will just be copying and pasting my updates (plus a few others from other folks) from the de facto game thread.  In other words I'm basically just rounding up the thread and its comments in a more digestible form. This way you won't have to do as much scrolling and you can get the feel of the game all in one.

A quick primer: yesterday, the dynastic Michigan lacrosse team took its first step into a larger world with a game against the other instate D-I program, Detroit Mercy, and lost, 13-9.  It was a very even, back-and-forth game until about halfway through the third period.  The game was hosted by UDM but took place at a neutral venue in Pontiac, which appeared to be almost - if not totally - sold out.

Quasi-play-by-play recap follows, as C&P'ed and polished up a little from the game thread:

- First ever goal in UM Lax D1 history-Bryant.  1-0 UM

- 2-0, Michigan. It's been a pretty defensive game. Neither team getting many shots.

- 2-1, Michigan, UDM with a goal.

- UDM's man-up opportunity amounts to nothing because UDM took an early shot and failed to back it up, U-M ran out the rest of it but gave up the goal shortly after.  2-2 now.

- Michigan up 3-2 after one and looking good in spots. Nice feed for the third goal.

- 4-2 score now with U-M converting a fast break chance.

- Always with the scoring exactly as I'm typing. 4-3. This game started off slowly in the offense department but has a chance to be very high-scoring indeed. Just to drive the point home, 4-4 now with a quick UDM goal off the faceoff.

- U-M looking sloppy now. Failed clear follows three lost FOs in a row.

- Goal UDM, 5-4 Detroit. Short-stick middie got beat badly on a run by the UDM middie.

- Michigan ball now, nice save by the Detroit goalie but a poor clear puts Michigan back on the attack.

- 5-5 now with about 3:30 to go in the half.

- 43 seconds left in the half, Detroit calls timeout to set up one last shot. Tied at 5.

- Halftime and we're all tied up at 5.  I would say UDM has the ground ball edge but Michigan is holding its own. (Note: This proved to be a false impression, as Michigan actually had the GB edge in the game, 29-23, with most of that margin coming in the first quarter.)

- UDM up 6-5, early in the 3rd.

- Michigan had a great chance on a fast break but Levell made another beautiful save.

- Goal Michigan, 6-6 now, almost halfway through the third period.

- 7-6 UDM with a Detroit goal from close quarters.

- Sudden scoring spurt - 8-6 Detroit now on a semi-fast-break.

- UDM backs up a Michigan shot and gets the ball, about 5 minutes to go in the 3rd.

- 8-7, Michigan goal, very nice defense behind the net led to getting the ball and a goal with about 3 to go.

- 9-7 Detroit on a hard-fought goal. Michigan wins the ensuing FO and has the ball.

- Detroit with a steal off a terrible pass and a fast-break goal to go up 10-7. 35 seconds left.  A lazy, sloppy play.

- 3rd period over with a 10-7 UDM lead.

- 11-7 now on a bounce shot....UDM starting to open it up. 12:18 to go.

- Looks like a UDM EMO coming up. The boys are starting to get a little too desperate.

- And UDM scores on the EMO. Michigan had done a nice job on defense and got the ball, but couldn't hold on as UDM used the extra man to double up and get the ball back. 12-7 Detroit now.

- Michigan scores, 12-8 now. 8:17 to go, so there's definitely plenty of time.

- Looks like an EMO coming for Michigan now. Silly, silly penalty by UDM, which is known to be a little bit of an overemotional team.

- Again nothing doing on the EMO. Detroit ball and Michigan doesn't seem interested in playing aggressively to get it back.

- As soon as the penalty was over, UDM went on the attack again and Michigan got the ball back pretty quickly.

- Time-out, 2:22 to go. UDM holds the 12-8 lead.

- And UDM with what looks like a clincher at 13-8, eight seconds after the end of the TO.

- Michigan with a respectability goal to make it 13-9. 24 seconds.

- Detroit 13, Michigan 9 is the final.

And now for the editorial section:

- 1st quarter: Playing solid defense against what's supposed to be a solid UDM squad offensively. But you can also see why this team will struggle: faceoffs are about even against a team that's been absolutely worthless at the X, and the man-up chance didn't look good at all, no coordination or sense of urgency to attack.

- Halftime: Though only outscored by one, not a good half for Michigan. Only one goal on a settled situation, the other, IMO coming from taking advantage of mistakes that better teams don't usually make. Detroit exposed a weakness by attacking the SSDMs - didn't always score on it, but created chances. Part of the Michigan offensive slowdown came from improved defense by UDM, though, including one very, very nice save by Titan goalie Levell. Michigan got killed on faceoffs in the 2nd, though, which just can't happen against Detroit, by far one of the worst faceoff teams in the nation.

[Ed: second half and recap afte the jump.]

- 3rd quarter: Not a bad quarter despite all. UDM had to really earn that 9th goal and it was just an oustanding effort by the Titan attacker. But that bad turnover gave UDM a gift.

- Final:

- Not a badly played game, but Detroit's offense is a pretty good one. They play in the worst conference in the country but offensively the Titans could compete a league or two up.

- Got to be better on faceoffs. UDM is really, really bad at them, so losing four in a row in the second and going maybe 50/50 for the game isn't a good sign.

- U-M got a little sloppy and desperate late. Their settled offense looked good in the first half but once the game started getting out of hand, they started to press too much. And of course there was that really bad turnover.

- EM offense was poor. Too much passing around the edge and not enough looking for chances. Hardly any, in fact.

- Overall, the teams were pretty evenly matched, except that UDM just has too good an offense. Michigan didn't look out of place on a D-I field when it counted, but there are D-I teams and then there are D-I teams, and this was only the former. But in the end, I think the game went more or less exactly as we expected it would.


For those interested in this kind of thing, because I am: Michigan wore what looked like new uniforms, but very similar to their club duds.  Maize jerseys, maize shorts, blue winged helmets, blue armpads, and the jerseys had the white "adidas horns" (like the football team's road jerseys.)  Numbers were block font, blue outlined in white.  The block M is gone from just above the numbers on the front, replaced by the word MICHIGAN.  The block M instead appears on a white patch on the collar.  Contrary to what I posted in the thread, names have been added to the back.  (Lousy resolution on the feed.)  My favorite two touches: the addition of an ECAC logo to the left sleeve (to me it represents hitting the big time) and the helmet numbers.  Helmet numbers are common in lacrosse; in Michigan's case they're the exact style of the ones on the football helmet.  They're worn on the right side only; left side is blank.

And a math plug:

For those interested in mathnerd stuff, this past offseason I put together a rudimentary KenPomish system to generate an O-rating and D-rating for lacrosse teams. I'll spare you the gory details of the system, but for this game, Michigan ended up with:

- O-rating: 12.29

- D-rating: 18.54

D-I average was roughly 14 for each last year. That puts Michigan about half a standard deviation below the mean for offense and about two st.devs above it on defense.

Take it FWIW because tiny sample size is tiny and this doesn't account for quality of opponent like KenPom does, but it does seem to jive with what we observed in this game, with the offense being ahead of the defense.

Impressions from other posters (that I agree with - after all it's my diary):

- laxalum:  I had no idea what to expect. I hoped this team could hang with Detroit, but I had a feeling this was going to be a very rude welcome to D1 - especially with the way Detroit was approaching this game as the "Rivalry to end all rivalries." It proves that the club roster they are playing with is at least D1 capable.

- mlax27: The new way [asst. coach Judd] Lattimore has them passing (choking up) really had a lot of guys looking uncomfortable and lead to a number of very poor turnovers. This should correct itself by next year, but will cause some growing pains. recruiting guys who do that naturally will also help.

- Buck35: Michigan usually has a handful (sometimes 0) players that can play at most Div 1 schools and the rest of the team is made up of good HS players but not necessarily great athletes. Detroit on the other hand has been recruiting kids for a few years now so they have better athletes at every position.

- weasel3216: I would call it a good loss. We did not get destroyed and it was a great learning experience for these guys. I am sure by the end of the season this team will look very different, in a positive way.


It's been announced - just today I believe - that the Ohio game will be televised on BTN.  So far that's the only announced TV game; it's a little disappointing that the Penn State game isn't also picked up by BTN, but it's on Saturday so basketball probably got in the way.  At any rate, hopefully the general lack of TV won't make it hard for the team to gain followers, because they deserve a big following.  For about 40 minutes yesterday, Michigan was a real threat to win at the D-I level on their first try.  It doesn't get much easier from here, at least not in 2012, but Rome/day, thousand mile journey, etc.


LSA Aught One

February 13th, 2012 at 5:04 PM ^

One of the many fun rules in the English Language.....


Discrimination between a and an

The choice of "a" or "an" is determined by phonetic rules rather than by spelling convention. "An" is employed in speech to remove the awkward glottal stop (momentary silent pause) that is otherwise required between "a" and a following word. For example, "an X-ray" is less awkward to pronounce than "a X-ray," which has a glottal stop between "a" and "X-ray". The following paragraphs are spelling rules for "an" that can be used if the phonetic rule is not understood.

The form "an" is always prescribed before words beginning with a silent h, such as "honorable", "heir", "hour", and, in American English, "herb".[9] Some British dialects (for example, Cockney) silence all initial h's (h-dropping) and so employ "an" all the time: e.g., "an 'elmet". The article "an" is sometimes seen in such phrases as "an historic", "an heroic" and "an hotel of excellence" in both British and American usage, although usually violating the phonetic rule in such cases.[9] Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage allows "both a and an are used in writing a historic an historic".[10]

LSA Aught One

February 13th, 2012 at 6:06 PM ^

The letter H is tricky because the brits tend to omit it.  Since people tend to feel smarter when they copy the brits mannerisms, they will tend to say 'istoric which makes it tricky.  M-W must have decided that it wasn't worth fighting the british (again) just to prove a point.  So, actually, you are both correct.


February 13th, 2012 at 6:23 PM ^

Not all the Brits omit it.  "In Hereford, Hertford, and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly ever happen."  The Queen's English pronounces its leading H's.  Cockneys don't, hexcept sometimes in front of words which shouldn't hever 'ave 'em.  However, you're correct in implying that "historic" with the H pronounced is the American Way.

Only on a Michigan blog.  This is why I love this place.


February 13th, 2012 at 4:26 PM ^

How has recruiting been for the team?  I'm assuming that right now we are playing with mostly club guys but the trend is going to be towards more athletic/talented as we begin to pull in higher-profile guys now that we are D-I? 


February 13th, 2012 at 4:39 PM ^

I'm not the guy to ask, to be honest.  The short answer is that recruiting is going fairly well.  Michigan is going head-to-head with the schools you'd expect (for now, that's not the elite, but more like the Rutgers's and Lehighs and Yales of the world) and winning enough battles to put together a team that should improve rather quickly.  The better answer is for you to read Great Lax State where it's covered in the best detail.  Here's a thing to get you started:


February 13th, 2012 at 4:35 PM ^

Does anyone know why Weiss did not start or even play? I did not see him in uniform either; was he hurt?


Last I heard Westerhold was challenging for the starting job, but he did not look comfortable in the second half yesterday.


February 13th, 2012 at 4:52 PM ^

I heard that they have had a rash of broken thumbs amongst the goalies, which is not uncommon.  But JP has also suspended and kicked off some very good players because they are focused on culture.  Weiss could have been out for either reason.

Recruiting has been going very well.  They aren't beating Virginia and Hopkins for a lot of recruits yet, but they are landing some really good kids.  I guess from reports and the general trend these days that they are done or almost done with current juniors and focused now on sophomores.

Thanks for doing this Wahoo!

L'Carpetron Do…

February 13th, 2012 at 8:07 PM ^

The alumni updates from JP usually have some good insight  - he's been saying they've been getting interest from solid D-1 calibur players.  He also said that they're getting attention from some of the 'right kinds of players' in the sophomore class - meaning excellent high school athletes who play varsity in more than one sport as underclassmen.  He's also mentioned that maybe they'll land one or two Top 50 kids.  

JP also said that soon after the announcement his inbox was blowing up with recruiting emails from coaches, scouts, players, etc.  At one point he was getting 80-90 a day.  So, there's definite interest out there. He's also trying to establish a pipeline to Canada which is an amazing idea.

Greatlaxstate does an amazing job - people who are interested in recruiting should definitely check it out.

Wahoo - excellent stuff  (sorry I snapped at ya the other day by the way)


February 13th, 2012 at 9:20 PM ^

Was at the game and it definitely was sold out, there were multiple signs up saying that no more tickets were available. We had a couple extra tickets and had no problem getting rid of them, there were plenty of people trying to find tickets still. It makes me wonder if next year when Michigan is the host (U of D was technically the home team) if they will also play the game in Pontiac or move it to a different location.

I did struggle a little bit while trying to root 100% for Michigan - I previoiusly coached a couple of the kids on U of D's team and didn't know what to do when one of them scored. Cheer, boo, keep quiet? The end result was quietly holding back a cheer I think. It was a very conficting moment.


February 14th, 2012 at 8:49 AM ^

Went to the game and thought it was kind of what I expected. Was pleasantly surprised by a couple of underclassmen but other than Yealy, the offense seemed to be overwhelmed by the physicalness and experience of Detroit's D. They also ran into a pretty good goalie too. 

Broschart mentioned Michigan's D needed a lot of work and he was right. Detroit didn't look like they had more talent, but their they caught michigan's D flat-flooted and staring at the ball a few times. 

Also Michigan's face-off unit was really subpar. Crappy enough that they tried to use Yealy as a wing later in the game.

Lots to work on, but I think the most positive thing was that the talent level was there. 


February 14th, 2012 at 10:41 AM ^

I want to thank you and others posting lacrosse content. It is exciting to see others interested in the sport also, enough even that a recap of the game gets bumped to the front page. 

I am envisioning myself oneday sitting in a sold out M&T Bank stadium watching Michigan in a Lacrosse Final Four with thousands of other people in maize shirts.


(For some reason this same post was triggering the spam filter earlier)


February 15th, 2012 at 10:55 AM ^

Furman announced last week.  Boston University announced yesterday they were moveing to Div 1 lacrosse.  "Converstaions" are being heard at a lot of institutions that don't want to be left behind.  Brandon pulled the trigger at the right time.  If they ever move the tournament west, Ann Arbor would have to be considered now.