Feb. 6, 2013
Saturday, Feb. 9 -- vs. No. 15 Penn State (at Oosterbaan Field House), 1 p.m.
The University of Michigan men's lacrosse team (0-0) opens the 2013 season with a matchup against CAA opponent and No. 15-ranked Penn State (0-0), which holds Creators Trophy implications. Tickets for the game will be available the day of the game at the door. Season tickets are available for purchase online.
Last season in State College, the Nittany Lions downed U-M by a 16-9 margin. Michigan had the score tied at 2-2 midway through the second quarter, but Penn State rallied off 11 of the next 12 goals to put the game out of reach. Doug Bryant, Alex Vasileff and Will Meter each had a pair of scores as well as an assist, while Dylan Westerhold had nine saves in goal in the defeat.
Penn State was picked to finish second in the CAA and had four players -- Jack Forster, Nick Dolk, Kessler Brown and Austin Kauf -- earn first team preseason honors.
Michigan opened up the exhibition portion of the schedule on Saturday, Feb. 2, with a pair of matchups. The first game against Marquette the Wolverines won, 14-6, behind a hat trick from Willie Steenland and pairs of goals from Kyle Jackson and Tom Sardelli. Gerald Logan made 16 saves in goal and collected four ground balls in the win. Michigan edged Marquette in total shots, 39-36, and ground balls, 36-35, while Marquette won 13 of 24 faceoffs. Turnovers were even at 19 apiece.
Game two saw U-M knock off the Denison Big Red by an 11-4 tally in three quarters.
The Wolverines return eight of 11 starters from a year ago, led by Thomas Paras, who was second on the squad with 24 points a year ago (17 g, 7 a), senior midifielder Willie Steenland (10 g, 13 a) and junior middie Doug Bryant, who was fourth on the team with 13 goals in 2012 despite missing a trio of contests. Attackman Will Meter, who led the team in helpers with 15 a season ago, also returns, along with U-M's top two close defenders in senior captains Rob Healy (eight caused turnovers) and J.D. Johnson (40 ground balls, 15 caused turnovers). Offensively, U-M returns nearly 70 percent of its offense in terms of points (113-of-164).
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).
Former Dartmouth assistant coach Ryan Danehy joined the program on Aug. 28 as offensive coordinator, replacing Judd Lattimore, who took a similar position at Penn. Danehy spent the previous six years as an assistant coach at Dartmouth. He was promoted to offensive coordinator and recruiting coordinator in 2012. Prior to last year, Danehy worked as an assistant offensive coordinator, goalie coordinator and assistant defensive coordinator.
Four seniors will captain the squad's second season of varsity action in midfielder Sean Sutton, midfielder Thomas Paras, and close defenders J.D. Johnson and Rob Healy. Sutton, Paras and Johnson hold the position for the second straight season, while the honor is the first for Healy.
Of the players that make up the 2013 squad, members of the team hail from 13 states and provinces, highlighted by 11 from Michigan, five from Ohio, and four apiece from California, Connecticut, Maryland, and New Jersey.
The squad will carry a strong underclassmen feel, as 27, or 63 percent of the team, will comprise of freshman or sophomores. With that mark, Michigan is the eighth-youngest team in the country.
The matchup against the Nittany Lions will be the first game of the year with Creator's Trophy implications. Created in 2012 by the three Big Ten schools that sponsor men's lacrosse. The Creator's Trophy honors the rivalries between the schools that play North America's first sport. The inaugural trophy was awarded to Penn State after its 2-0 record, defeating Michigan, 16-9, and Ohio State, 5-2. If a three-way 1-1 record occurs, the team who last won the title retains the trophy.
Later this season -- March 17 -- U-M will take on Colgate at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, in what will be the second men's lacrosse game in history being played at a Major League Baseball stadium. The first was Navy vs. Johns Hopkins in 1971, a contest that was played at the Houston Astrodome, then the home of the Houston Astros.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
| Willie Steenland |
What is the biggest difference between Team One and Team Two?
I see a huge difference between Team One and Team Two. Team Two has started to develop an identity. We are going into this season with a lot more experience and a lot more confidence. The first year jitters are gone, and we're excited for all of the hard work we put in in the offseason to start paying dividends.
What is the team's mindset like heading into the Penn State game after a successful exhibition weekend?
We're excited to get the season started. It's always special when you get to play the first game of the season at home in front of the Michigan faithful. With that being said, there is a lot we can improve on from the scrimmages this past weekend. We know we need to have a great week of practice to be ready for Penn State.
What does the Creators Trophy rivalry mean to you?
It's the only trophy of its kind in college lacrosse. I'm very proud to be a part of such a historic rivalry between three great institutions. Winning the trophy signifies that we have accomplished one of our goals and beat our two biggest rivals. It's something that motivates me every day.
Who is the funniest player on the team?
We have a lot of funny guys on the team, but I'm going to have to say former Division III football standout and one of our goalies, Dylan Westerhold. He's full of witty comments that bring the locker room to life.
What has the addition of coach Ryan Danehy done for the offense?
Coach Danehy has brought incredible energy to our team. He's a great motivator and knows how to get the most out of every player. He has also expanded the breadth of our cinematic interests with weekly trips to the movies, appropriately dubbed, 'flick-a-Friday.'
Saturday, Feb. 16 -- at Bellarmine (Louisville, Ky.), 1 p.m.