Second-Quarter Swoon Dooms Wolverines Against Air Force
Willie Steenland

Feb. 26, 2012

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Site: Denver, Colo. (Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium)
Event: Denver Faceoff Classic
Score: Air Force 15, Michigan 6
Records: U-M (0-4), AFA (1-2)
Next U-M Event: Friday, March 2 -- at Jacksonville (Jacksonville, Fla.), 3:30 p.m.

DENVER, Colo. -- The University of Michigan men's lacrosse team lost to Air Force, 15-6, on Sunday (Feb. 26) at Denver's Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium. Michigan led 3-0 in the first quarter prior to yielding nine straight Falcon goals over the first and second stanzas.

Air Force won 14 of 25 faceoffs, including seven of 10 in the decisive second period, when it scored seven goals in less than six minutes. Additionally, Air Force nearly doubled-up U-M in ground balls, 25-13.

Junior midfielder Willie Steenland (Minneapolis, Minn./The Blake School) and senior midfielder Alex Vasileff (Birmingham, Mich./Seaholm) had two goals each for the Maize and Blue. Air Force's Pat Harrison led all scorers with four goals, and Keith Dreyer had three tallies. The Falcon goalies combined for 11 saves.

Michigan looked sharp early, scoring three goals in three minutes midway through the first quarter to take the lead. Steenland scored the first two goals at 9:37 and 7:15, with Vasileff assisting on the second tally as Steenland sprinted in as a sub. Sophomore midfielder Doug Bryant (Princeton, N.J./Princeton) capped the flurry at 6:36 with a low crank shot from dead center, 12 yards out.

The next 15 minutes of play belonged to the Falcons. They scored a man-up goal at 4:23 of the first period and an even-strength tally at 3:11. From 11:56 to 5:58 of the second quarter Air Force scored seven times.

Michigan slowed down the Falcons with two goals in the final 2:02 of the first half to face a 9-5 deficit at the break.

Air Force scored the only two goals of the third quarter at 14:44 and 8:06 and expanded its lead to 13-5 with two more goals to start the fourth quarter. Vasileff tallied the only second-half goal for U-M at 11:39 of the final period, but AFA tacked on two more goals to cap the scoring.

Michigan heads to Jacksonville, Fla., this week for two games, taking on Jacksonville on Friday (March 2) at 3:30 p.m. before a netural-site meeting with Mercer on Sunday (March 4) at noon.


Michigan Head Coach John Paul
On today's game ... "We're grinding. We're working hard. After the game today we talked to the guys about how this is a long journey. We just have to keep taking positive steps, and that's going to be our focus tomorrow, the rest of the week on this trip, and the rest of the year. We talked about the special opportunity everybody has this year. Part of that opportunity is a responsibility to take this journey and get better throughout it. Obviously we had a pretty down locker room, but I think the guys believe in what we're doing and we're going to keep grinding."

On Michigan's offense in the first quarter and the dropoff after that ... "There were a lot of things we were doing well in the first quarter. Ultimately it's about limiting total number of possessions in a game. First quarter we did that. The rest of the game we didn't; their run we didn't. They were scoring a lot of those goals in 30-second spans. We just started making some poor decisions. We executed some things better today. We cleared the ball really well today. They threw about four different rides at us. We made some adjustments and we cleared very well. We faced-off better today. There were things that we did better. But again, for us every little lapse, whenever we get off track, we pay for it. That's the team we have right now. We have to start fixing some of those lapses."

On if the 9-0 run by Air Force deflated the team ... "Honestly, we never got deflated. That's one thing I'm really proud of. The guys stayed up, stayed on each other, and they kept working. They worked for 60 minutes. We rode better in the fourth quarter than we did in the whole game. There are some signs there that we did things better as the game went on. There were also things we didn't execute well. But I felt like we kept believing and kept fighting even when the game was out of reach. The vibe on the sideline was positive: let's keep getting after this."

Contact: Matt Trevor (734) 763-4423

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