Jan. 31, 2013
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's lacrosse team begins its 2013 season on Saturday (Feb. 2), hosting the Marquette Golden Eagles as well as the Denison Big Red in a pair of preseason exhibition games inside Michigan's Oosterbaan Field House.
The matchup against Marquette, which is in its first season as a Division I program, will commence at 1 p.m., followed by Division III member Denison taking on the Golden Eagles at 2:30 p.m. U-M will then take on the Big Red at 4 p.m. in the final contest of the day.
The 2013 U-M squad will welcome 23 newcomers to the fold this season, highlighted by freshman midfielder Kyle Jackson, as well as projected starting goalie Gerald Logan. In addition, the Wolverines welcome four transfers in sophomore Mike Francia (Villanova), close defender Max Zwolan (Detroit), midfielder Tom Sardelli (Sacred Heart) and sophomore faceoff specialist Kevin Wylie (Colorado College).
Admission for the trio of exhibition games is free.
Michigan Head Coach John Paul Preseason Q&A
What's the biggest challenge for you, as a team, heading into this season?
The biggest challenge for us is that we are still going to be very process and culture oriented, and our focus is still on building. We want to get to the results we want as quickly as possible, and certainly we want to win and compete for championships. We'll get there, but we also have to understand that this is a process that we're going through right now, and we have to keep the entire team focused on the mission, and the mission is building the program.
Who are you counting on for leadership this year?
No question, if you don't have senior leadership, you don't have a great team and a great program. We put our seniors in a position to lead, and we really turn a lot of the team over to them. By that same token, we look to our younger guys on the team to be great followers and learn from those guys, so that when they're in a position to lead, they're ready to do it.
What is the strength of your team?
One of the strengths is Gerald Logan in the goal. We're not at the point where we're deep, but we do have talent. Looking at us right now, I see a team that has a good goalie and pretty good offensive midfielders that are going to create some problems for other teams.
On the landscape of the conference...
The ECAC is a very tough conference, and last year we didn't get to play the whole conference. Having the opportunity to play Final Four level teams like Loyola and Denver, and then having some of the top-20 programs, like Fairfield and Ohio State, in your conference, means that you can't run away from the test. We are going to be tested all of the time in this conference, and that's what we wanted when we joined.
What are some of the top home games this year?
Our opener against Penn State is intriguing because it's the only one in Oosterbaan, and you feel like you are almost in the game just watching during games played there. We are playing Loyola, the defending national champs, at home, and then obviously the Battle at the Big House because of the rivalry that we have with Ohio State. We've created a rivalry with Detroit as well, and playing the first lacrosse night game in the Big House will be a unique setting.
Talk about the ties that the team has playing in different neutral-field stadiums...
It doesn't matter what sport you play at Michigan, you're going to play on a big stage. We have those opportunities, even this quickly in our program's history, and we're thrilled to be able to bring our game to areas of the country where we have a lot of support. We're also thrilled to be able to give the experience of playing on a big stage to our athletes.
What type of style do you think the team will have this year?
We'll look different this year, and the rules are dictating some of that. At some point you have to start coaching your team for what you're going to be. We're going through transition right now, from what we had to be last year, to what we know we're going to be in five or six years.