Feb. 13, 2013
Saturday, Feb. 16 -- at Bellarmine (Louisville, Ky.), 1 p.m.
The University of Michigan men's lacrosse team (0-1) will take on the Bellarmine Knights in the first conference matchup in program history and will look to avenge a narrow home loss to the Knights from last season, as U-M was defeated 13-9 in the first-ever lacrosse game at Michigan Stadium on March 17 in the Big House.
The Wolverines scored the first three goals in the contest, before Bellarmine fought back to take a 7-4 lead at the half, a deficit U-M was unable to overcome. Trevor Yealy, Thomas Paras and Will Meter had a pair of scores apiece; close defender J.D. Johnson caused five turnovers.
Bellarmine is coming off a 9-8 win over Robert Morris in the season opener on Feb. 9 and was led offensively by Mike Ward, who had four points (2g., 2a.) and 11 shots, while Cameron Gardner added a pair of scores. Trailing 7-5 at the half, the Knight defense clamped down, holding Robert Morris to only one score in the second half of action. Will Haas and Dillon Ward split time in goal, combining to make 13 saves between the pipes.
The matchup against Bellarmine marks the beginning of a seven-game road swing for the Wolverines; five of the games will be true road contests (Bellarmine, Johns Hopkins, High Point, Hobart and Fairfield), while two of the games will be neutral-site contests, with U-M taking on Army on March 2 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, Fla., and against Colgate on March 17 at Citi Field in Queens. Overall, the road trip will cover 4,438 miles, before U-M returns home to host the Loyola Greyhounds on March 23 at Michigan Stadium.
Freshman goalkeeper Gerald Logan tied a U-M record with 19 stops against the Nittany Lions, keeping U-M in the game in an 11-6 loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions on Feb. 9. The Nittany Lions outshot the Wolverines, 57-30. Sophomore Will Meter had an assist on a David McCormack goal with 1:02 left in the second quarter, giving him an assist in seven straight games dating back to the Mount St. Mary's on March 24 of last season.
Four newcomers found themselves in the starting lineup for U-M in sophomore Mike Francia, junior Tom Sardelli and freshmen Gerald Logan and Kyle Jackson. Overall, nine players made their debuts in addition to the foursome in Paxton Moore, Charlie Keady, Dan Kinek, Sam Martorella and Chase Brown.
Senior close defender J.D. Johnson had a game-high seven ground balls against the Nittany Lions. Johnson was second on the team in ground balls a year ago with 40.
The Wolverines return eight of 11 starters from a year ago, led by Paras, who was second on the squad with 24 points a year ago (17g., 7a.), senior midifielder Willie Steenland (10g., 13a.) 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 junior defender Max Zwolan (Detroit), junior 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
| David McCormack|
Terrace Park, Ohio.
Q: What can the team take away from the loss against Penn State?
A: Playing against a top-15 team like Penn State always proves to be a challenge, but there are a few definite takeaways that we will take into Bellarmine. Our defense played extremely well against a very prolific offense and came very close to reaching their goals in terms of efficiency and clearing. Offensively, we just need to shoot better. Our shooting percentage was very low and in order for us to be successful against Bellarmine, we are going to need to improve.
Q: What are you looking forward to the most this season?
A: In general, this year I'm looking forward to competing with some of the best teams in the country. Obviously, we can't overlook anybody but seeing the likes of Johns Hopkins, Denver, and Loyola really brings a great challenge and great excitement. Specifically, I am really looking forward to the Metropolitan Lacrosse Classic. We have been given an incredible opportunity by Michigan alumni and Mr. Wilpon to play in the Mets' Stadium (Citi Field), and that is something I am ecstatic about.
Q: What is the most noticeable difference between this year's team and last season's?
A: There is still a lot to be uncovered about Team 2, but the most noticeable difference at this point has been the mindset. Team 1 didn't really know what to expect coming into the season, so a lot of times we were content with just being competitive. At Michigan, you can't just be content with competitiveness. Team 2 wants to win.
Q: Who is the funniest player on the team?
A: Our team is filled with characters, but Zach Dauch has got to be the funniest player on the team. Zach is a walking soundboard of movie quotes and never fails to break them out at the right -- and sometimes wrong -- times. He also has a musical side and likes to replace certain words of popular songs with the first name of one of our captains, J.D. Johnson (John), which is hysterical.
Q: What has the addition of Coach Danehy done for the offense this year?
A: Coach Danehy has brought an incredible amount of energy to our offense this year. His offense is very conducive to the talent that we have on this team, and it is going to be very fun to watch our offense progress throughout the season. Coach Danehy also introduced music to our pre-practice stretching routine, which is a subtlety but provides a great energy boost before practices.
Q: What are you most looking forward to in taking on Bellarmine on Saturday?
A: Bellarmine is a great team, and we are all looking forward to the challenge that their squad presents us. Last year, they gave us a pretty good beating in the Big House, so we are excited about the opportunity to return the favor down is Louisville.
Saturday, Feb. 23 -- at Johns Hopkins (Baltimore, Md.), 1 p.m.