March 6, 2013
Wednesday, March 6 -- at High Point (High Point, N.C.), 7 p.m.
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Saturday, March 9 -- at Hobart (Geneva, N.Y.), 1 p.m.
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The University of Michigan men's lacrosse team (0-4, 0-1 ECAC) will continue its spring break trip by venturing to High Point, N.C., and Geneva, N.Y., for a pair of games. Michigan will take on the High Point Panthers (1-5) Wednesday (March 6) at 7 p.m. from High Point's Vert Stadium before playing Hobart (2-2, 0-0 ECAC) in a conference game Saturday (March 9) at 1 p.m. from Boswell Field.
ABOUT THE OPPONENTS
High Point: The Panthers, in their inaugural season of lacrosse, are coming off a 9-8 defeat to the Jacksonville Dolphins on March 2. The team's lone win this season came on Feb. 8 when the Panthers knocked off Towson, 9-7.
Offensively, freshman attacker Dan Lomas leads the team with 13 goals and two helpers for 15 points, while Matt Thistle is tied for the team lead in points with Lomas with seven scores and eight assists. Overall, the Panthers have been outscored by a 62-41 margin this season. Faceoff man Jamie Piluso is the team's option at the X, as he is 55 percent (48-of-88) and has collected a team-high 28 ground balls.
Austin Geisler has been the man in goal for the Panthers, as the Virginia transfer has started all six contests, stopping 59 percent of shots faced with 86 saves. He has allowed 61 goals in more than 355 minutes of action.
Hobart: Hobart will enter the contest coming off a 9-8 win over No. 15 Colgate on March 5. Senior middie Taylor Vanderbeek won the contest with 1:48 to go in the first overtime. The squad carries a 2-2 record, highlighted by a 18-15 victory over Siena on Feb 16. Hobart has been outscored this season by a 48-40 margin and outmatched by a 141-118 margin in ground balls.
Attackman Alex Love leads the team in goals with 11 and owns a team-high five helpers for 16 points. He is also a member of the Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List. He leads the team in shots with 47, which is more than double the amount of his next closest teammate, Alex Love, who has 19 shots, as well as eight goals and three assists. Gryphin Kelly and Charles Sipe have combined to win 45 percent of their faceoffs.
Goalie Peter Zonino has played every minute in cage for the Statesmen, recording 49 saves for an 11.84 goals against average. He has stopped 51 percent of shots faced.
Freshman goalkeeper Gerald Logan established a new program record with 25 stops against Army on March 2 in Miami, earning ECAC Rookie of the Week honors. The accolade makes him the second Michigan goalie to take home the award, as Emil Weiss earned the award last year. Logan tied the previous record with 19 stops against Penn State (Feb. 9), keeping U-M in the game in an 11-6 loss to the Nittany Lions. His 73 stops rank No. 3 in the NCAA in total saves, and he is No. 1 in the NCAA in saves per contest at 18.22.
Freshman Kyle Jackson leads the team with six goals and an assist for seven points on the season. He scored a pair of tallies in each of the first three U-M games this season before behind held scoreless against Army. The freshman from Sarnia, Ontario, also paces the team with 18 shots and two man-up goals.
The matchup against High Point marks the fifth game in 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. U-M took on Army on March 2 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami and will face Colgate on March 17 at Citi Field in Flushing, N.Y. Overall, the road trip will cover 4,438 miles before U-M returns home to host the national champion Loyola Greyhounds on March 23 at Michigan Stadium.
The loss at Johns Hopkins featured U-M going up against the No. 4 Blue Jays, the highest-ranked opponent U-M has ever faced. After being outscored 11-3 in the first half, U-M rallied in the second stanza and was outscored by a 6-5 margin. Michigan is now 0-6 against ranked opponents all-time.
Against the Blue Jays, a trio of U-M newcomers -- Mike Hernandez, Dan Kinek and David Joseph -- scored their first career goals. All but one of U-M's eight goals was scored by newcomers; David McCormack was the lone returner to put a goal on the scoreboard for the Maize and Blue.
Freshman Brad Lott was instrumental in U-M winning the faceoff battle for the first time this season, besting the Army faceoff unit by going 9-of-17 at the X. Lott, the No. 1 faceoff specialist in last year's recruiting class according to ESPNHS, made his collegiate debut in his hometown of Louisville, Ky., going 8-of-18 on faceoffs against Bellarmine, including a 7-of-11 mark in the first half.
Senior close defender J.D. Johnson had a game-high seven ground balls against Penn State on Feb. 9 and had a game-high six grounders against Army on March 2. Johnson now leads the team in ground balls with 17. Sophomore attackman Will Meter is second on the team with 13 pickups, with at least one in every contest.
Sophomore Andrew Portnoy and freshman Peter Kraus scored their first career goals against Bellarmine, as Portnoy scored the fastest goal to begin a game in Michigan history, finding the back of the net 39 seconds into the contest. Kraus scored the first tally of his Maize and Blue career with 1:50 left in the first half. Both were unassisted.
Five newcomers have found themselves in the starting lineup for U-M: sophomore Mike Francia, junior Tom Sardelli and freshmen Gerald Logan, Kyle Jackson and Mike Hernandez. Other Wolverines who have made their debuts this season include Paxton Moore, Charlie Keady, Dan Kinek, Sam Martorella, Chase Brown, Brad Lott and Peter Kraus.
Next week (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
Q: How has the spring break trip been overall?
A: In addition to the contest against Army, we have had many meetings and practices. I am happy that most of our spring break has been spent in Miami because of the warm weather. It has been nice to get away from the freezing temperatures in Ann Arbor! Unfortunately, some of the guys, including myself, were not prepared for the sun's rays. Most of us look like lobsters. So far, the best part of the trip has been having the whole team together and having the opportunity to play in Sun Life Stadium. Not many people can say that they played in Dolphins Stadium in a lacrosse game. Memories have been made, and I cannot wait for next year's trip.
Q: What is it like having to clear the ball from end-to-end on occasion?
A: Clearing the ball from end-to-end is quite a thrill. The rush of adrenaline is overwhelming, when all you see are two attackmen converging on you and somehow you get past them. The team relies on you when clearing the ball, and once you do clear the ball, it is a good feeling. It is like breaking a full-court press in basketball. Once you get past half court, the press has been beaten. It is the same for lacrosse. My strongest asset is open field dodging and I take pride in that. My stamina also helps my clearing abilities and is a crucial part when playing defense and clearing the ball.
Q: Defensive midfield is one of the most athletic positions in lacrosse. Do you have to prep for games or train differently for the position?
A: It has been a smooth transition from offensive mid to defensive mid. Preparing for games is much different than when I played offensive midfielder. My approach on ball has to be exceptional so I can keep up with the opponents when they dodge. Also, my stamina and endurance have to be above average because most offense's possessions are two to three minutes long. If I am not in shape, I will be tired on the field and my opponent will take advantage. I have to know our opponents' formations, their offensive personnel, how we will defend our opponent's offense, and our slide packages.
Q: What does it mean playing games close to home?
A: Playing relatively close to home means the world to me. It gives my family and friends the opportunity to see me play. For our game at Hopkins, my brother and 10 of his friends were able to attend the game and witness my first collegiate goal. It is a long haul for them to make it to Michigan, but with the games in New York, Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland, it is an easy travel for my family and friends.
Q: What has the overall experience been like at Michigan as a freshman?
A: My experience as a freshman at Michigan has been positive. The memories I have made are the memories that I will remember the rest of my life. The school spirit is unbelievable, and everywhere you look people are wearing maize and blue. I was lucky enough to have season tickets to the football games and they are something every student should experience once in their four years at Michigan. Lacrosse has kept me busy and has allowed me to create friendships that will last a lifetime. For me, my Michigan experience has exceeded all my expectations.
Q: What are you looking forward to most the rest of this season?
A: I am looking forward to playing my first game in the Big House. It is an honor to play in such a historic stadium. Also, I am looking forward to our first win of the season as well as coming together as a team each game. This team has much to prove, and we are looking forward to putting Michigan lacrosse on the map by the end of this season.
Thursday, March 14 -- at Fairfield (Fairfield, Conn.), 7 p.m.
Sunday, March 17 -- vs. Colgate - Metropolitan Lacrosse Classic (Flushing, N.Y.), 3 p.m.
Contact: Scott Kemps (734) 763-4423