Games 3 & 4: Wolverines to Compete at Face-Off Classic in Denver
MGOBLUE David McCormack
MGOBLUE
David McCormack
MGOBLUE

Feb. 24, 2012

Coach Paul on Hofstra Radio Station | Coach Paul on WTKA Insider
Game Notes

THIS WEEK
Saturday, Feb. 25
-- at No. 12 Denver - Denver Face-Off Classic (Denver, Colo.), 1:30 p.m. MST
Live Stats
Sunday, Feb. 26
-- vs. Air Force - Denver Face-Off Classic (Denver, Colo.), 11 a.m. MST
Live Stats

The University of Michigan men's lacrosse team (0-2) will compete at the Denver Face-Off Classic this weekend at Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium in Denver, Colo. The Wolverines will play the host Pioneers on Saturday (Feb. 25) at 1:30 p.m. MST before facing Air Force on Sunday (Feb. 26) at 11 a.m. MST. Both are U-M's first conference games.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENT

Denver Pioneers
Denver (0-1) is the two-time defending ECAC champion and is the preseason favorite to capture its third straight league crown. The Pioneers (No. 11 Nike/Inside Lacrosse, No. 12 USILA) suffered a 10-9 upset loss in their season-opener against Ohio State on Feb. 19.

Head coach Bill Tierney is in his third season at Denver after spending 22 illustrious years at Princeton. His Pioneers swept the ECAC's four major preseason awards. Attackman Mark Matthews is the preseason Offensive Player of the Year after posting 45 goals and 24 assists last year. Goalkeeper Jamie Faus earned preseason Defensive Player of the Year distinction. Wes Berg, a midfielder, is the preseason Rookie of the Year and Chase Carraro is the preseason Specialist of the Year.

Air Force Falcons
The Air Force Academy (0-1) was picked to finish fifth out of seven teams by the ECAC's coaches on Feb. 7. The Falcons lost their season opener last week (Sunday, Feb. 19) to Rutgers, 11-10. Tommy McKee and Mike Crampton had three goals apiece and took 19 of the team's 38 shots.

Senior defenseman Dayton Gilbreath leads Air Force as team captain and is a three-time All-ECAC honoree. Head coach Eric Seremet is in his fourth season.

LAST WEEK

Feb. 18: Penn State 16, Michigan 9
Michigan was beaten by No. 17 Penn State, 16-9, at Penn State Lacrosse Field. Tied 2-2 midway through the second quarter, PSU scored 11 of the next 12 goals to sew up the win.

The contest was the first leg of the three-segment competition for the Creator's Trophy, which includes U-M, PSU and Ohio State -- the three Big Ten schools that compete in men's lacrosse.

Three Wolverines posted a pair of goals: sophomore midfielder Doug Bryant, freshman attackman Will Meter and senior midfielder Alex Vasileff. Penn State's Jack Forster had five goals and three assists. Gavin Ahern posted a hat trick.

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Michigan Head Coach John Paul
On the Penn State game ... "Obviously, we were pretty happy with how we were able to execute our game plan in the first half. We played the pace we wanted to play. Some of what we were doing was a bit of smoke and mirrors, but we went into halftime feeling like if we cleaned up a couple mistakes and stuck to what we really wanted to do that we had a pretty good opportunity."

On Penn State's offense in the second half ... "I think we started to get into a pace that we didn't want to play. We had a lot of trouble clearing the ball -- we had trouble all day. That was on us as coaches. We had some execution errors that we can clean up. There were also some things that we weren't prepared for at this point that we can fix when we watch the film. A lot of it for us is pace. If we allow them to jack the pace up and make this an up-and-down game then we're going to be in trouble in a lot of the games we play. That's what happened in the third quarter."

BRYANT SHOOTS, SHOOTS, SCORES, SCORES
Sophomore midfielder Doug Bryant has a pair of goals in each of U-M's games this season for a team-high four markers. He scored the first two goals in program history against Detroit on Feb. 12. He tallied twice more at Penn State, including one man-up goal. Bryant also leads the team in shots (12), of which half have been on goal.

LEADING BY EXAMPLE
Three of U-M's five captains have three goals to stand tied for second on the team in scoring: fifth-year senior attackman Trevor Yealy, senior midfielder Alex Vasileff and junior attackman Thomas Paras. Vasileff had two goals last week against the Nittany Lions. Paras and Vasileff also have a pair of goals to give them matching 3-2-5 scoring lines. They are tied with Bryant, who has a 4-1-5 line.

FRESHMAN FORCE
U-M has started a pair of freshman attackmen in its first two games: Will Meter and David McCormack. They each have scored two goals and two assists through the first two games. Meter notched both of his goal plus an assist against Penn State. Meter leads the team with six ground balls.

WELCOME TO THE BIG SHOW
Men's lacrosse became the 28th varsity sport at the University of Michigan on May 25, 2011. Women's lacrosse was also announced as a varsity sport that day by athletic director Dave Brandon and will begin play in 2013-14 as the 29th sport. The last time U-M added a varsity sport was during the 2000-01 school year, when men's soccer and women's water polo commenced play.

There are 61 NCAA Division I lacrosse programs spread over eight conferences. The Wolverines are affiliate members of the ECAC in 2012 and achieve full-fledged status in 2013.

MEET THE COACHES
John Pau
l was installed as U-M's first head coach on June 3, 2011, just one week after the program earned varsity status. Paul was the club team's head coach for 14 seasons, earning a mark of 241-44 and three straight club national titles from 2008-10.

"John Paul has been an integral part of our lacrosse program over the years," said Brandon. "He has built the club program to a championship level and will help us make the transition to varsity status. We look forward to his leadership and guidance of our program."

Assistant coach Judd Lattimore directs the U-M offense. A two-year starter at North Carolina, he has spent the last 10 years coaching at the NCAA level, most recently at Bucknell (2009-11).

Assistant coach Ken Broschart leads the Wolverine defense. He spent the last four years as an assistant for U-M's club team. Broschart was a three-year All-American defender at New York Institute of Technology.

Goalie coach Keith Euker spent the last two seasons as the head coach of the Missouri club team. He played collegiately at Loyola.

FAMILIAR FACES
Twenty-one players return from U-M's club team from the 2011 season. Among that group are five veterans who were named captains by Coach Paul in the fall: fifth-year senior attackman Trevor Yealy, junior midfielder Sean Sutton, senior midfielder Alex Vasileff, junior defender J.D. Johnson and junior attackman Thomas Paras.

In 19 games last season, Yealy led Michigan in goals (63) and shots (137). Paras (38 goals) and Vasileff (18 goals) were steady contributors on the offensive end.

FUTURE IMPACT
On Nov. 17, 2011, U-M announced the signing of 18 recruits who will bolster the 2012-13 roster. Two players ranked among the ESPN HS Top 100, while three more were rated as top-25 players within ESPN HS positional ratings. Additionally, Inside Lacrosse rated one player as the No. 2 Canadian prospect for the Class of 2012.

Chase Brown - LSM
(Annapolis, Md./Severn School)
Cooper Charlton - D
(Hudson, Ohio/The Hill Academy [Ont.])
Graham Conlan - D
(Mohnton, Pa./Hill School)
Brendan Gaughan - A
(Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon)
Evan Glaser - A
(Owings Mills, Md./McDonogh School)
Matt Graham - M
(Amityville, N.Y./Chaminade)
Michael Hernandez - M
(Piedmont, Calif./Piedmont)
Kyle Jackson - M
(Sarnia, Ontario/The Hill Academy)
Charles Keady - LSM
(Darien, Conn./Fairfield College Prep)
Riley Kennedy - A
(Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Brother Rice)
Daniel Kinek - M
(Macungie, Pa./Avon Old Farms [Conn.])
Peter Kraus - A
(New Canaan, Conn./New Canaan)
Gerald Logan - G
(Wading River, N.Y./The Hotchkiss School [Conn.])
Brad Lott - FO
(Louisville, Ky./Trinity)
Paxton Moore - LSM
(Haverford, Pa./The Haverford School)
William Perkins - A
(Dallas, Texas/Saint Mark's School of Texas)
Brendan Riefberg - D
(Flanders, N.J./Roxbury)
Chris Walker - D
(Farmington Hills, Mich./Brother Rice)

SEASON PREVIEW QUICK QUOTES

Michigan Head Coach John Paul
On the team's goals ... "We've set our team mission, and it's very clear -- our mission here is to build an elite Division I culture. The coaching staff is all on board with that 100 percent, the players understand that's our mission and have accepted that as our mission. Are we there yet? No. The key words there are 'build' and 'elite,' and 'build' implies that we're not there yet and we need to build it and that's what we're doing every day. And 'elite' implies that we don't just want to be a run-of-the-mill program, we want to have an elite culture."

On faceoff specialists ..."Right now the starting face-off guys are Brian Greiner and Alex Marcus, Andrew Hayden , and it's always good to have a long stick who can face-off as well for defensive purposes usually. Some long sticks are actually pretty good offensive face-off guys but usually you throw that in if you're not having a good face-off day. And Austin Swaney will have that role for us if we need him."

Michigan Assistant Coach Ken Broschart
On the defense ... "We will be led by J.D. Johnson and Rob Healy. Those two will probably be our book ends on D. Then we have a couple of guys who are younger, like Dakota Sherman and a couple others. We're going to move Austin Swaney to long-stick midfield, so he's going to be our starting long stick. He'll be very strong. I would say our one D-midfielder is Sean Sutton. He's a benchmark guy. Those four guys are going to be the nucleus of our D."

Michigan Assistant Coach Judd Lattimore
On the offense ... "Trevor Yealy is a captain for us. He does a fantastic job as a captain. He's a fifth-year senior so he's a great leader. He's also a great player. He's a very skilled inside player, he makes incredible plays inside. If you give him the ball in there, there's a good chance it'll end up in the net. He can have guys all over him and still score. I think in the midfield right now, Doug Bryant is our strongest middie -- he's playing extremely well. He's got a very hard shot on the run, quick release.

"Alex Vasileff is a strong midfielder for us, very strong physically. He's got a strong shot, both right-handed and left-handed. Jeff Chu is another guy who is a very skilled player; arguably our smartest player. Willie Steenlend is a tremendous midfielder for us right now. He's got very good skills, very high IQ, and puts a lot of pressure on the defense."

Michigan Volunteer Assistant Coach Keith Euker
On the goalies ... "It looks like it's a race between both Dylan Westerhold and Emil Weiss. (Editor's note: Weiss is out through February with a hand injury.) We're going to try both of them and see not only who does a better job in cage but also who our defense responds better to because that's a big thing that you need to be aware of. Who is the defense going to rally behind more and who are they going to follow more and look for that leadership from and who will they be more comfortable with that leadership. So it's going to take us some time to figure that out."

UP NEXT
Friday, March 2
-- at Jacksonville (Jacksonville, Fla.), 3:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 4
-- vs. Mercer (Jacksonville, Fla.), Noon