Michigan to Begin Conference Play Saturday at Bellarmine

March 13, 2014

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Saturday, March 15 -- at Bellarmine (Louisville, Ky.), 1 p.m.
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The University of Michigan men's lacrosse team (3-4), coming off a 1-1 week that was highlighted by an 11-9 win over Furman on March 8, will enter ECAC play against the Bellarmine Knights (4-1) Saturday (March 15) at 1 p.m. inside Owsley B. Frazier Stadium in Louisville, Ky. The Wolverines are seeking their first-ever ECAC victory.

The Last Meeting
February 16, 2013
Louisville, Ky.
Wolverines Doubled Up by Bellarmine
Kyle Jackson and Thomas Paras each had two goals for U-M as Michigan jumped out to a 3-0 lead over Bellarmine for the second straight season, before the Knights scored six straight on the way to a 12-6 final.

Scouting Bellarmine
The Knights enter the Saturday tilt with a 4-1 record so far this season, with wins over Robert Morris, Jacksonville, Furman, and Detroit, which sport combined records of 5-16. Most recently, Bellarmine opened ECAC play with a 13-9 setback against the Air Force Falcons on Saturday (March 8).

Bellarmine is led offensively by Tucker Ciessau with 14 goals (2.80 goals per game) -- which rank No. 2 in the ECAC -- and Austin Shanks with nine goals (1.80 goals per game), while Chad Mitchell is No. 4 in the ECAC in assists with eight.

Stephen Soriano (48 percent) is the man at the dot to BU, while LSM Bobby Schmitt sports five assists, 14 ground balls and six caused turnovers

Goalie Will Haas leads the conference in the majority of goalie categories, as he owns a 7.85 goals-against average, a save percentage of .562 and has stopped 10 shots per contest.

Overall, the Kings have outscored opponents 52-39 on the season and have 110 shots on goal against 89 for opponents.

Michigan is 0-2 all-time against the Knights, falling to BU at Michigan Stadium, 13-9, in 2012, and, 12-6, on Feb. 16 of last season in Louisville.

Team Ranks
Ian King continues to pace the team in goals with 16, averaging 2.29 a game, which is No. 4 in the ECAC, while Kyle Jackson is No. 2 on the team in scores with 11. Four other players -- Thomas Paras, David McCormack, Doug Bryant and Andrew Portnoy -- are tied for third on the team in goals with three. Paras leads the team in helpers with six, which are 11th in the conference.

King's 16 goals have him tied for the NCAA lead in goals for a freshman; additionally, he has scored multiple goals in six of his first seven collegiate games. Paras has registered an assist in five of seven contests on the year, while his four points against Furman are the most for him since he netted five against St. Joe's on April 20, 2013.

In terms for long sticks, Chase Brown leads the team in caused turnovers with 10 and is second in ground balls with 17. Brad Lott, who leads the team in ground balls (37), is also the team's primary faceoff man, going 64-of-114 at the dot (56 percent).

In goal, Robbie Zonino is No. 5 in the ECAC in goals against at 12.21 and is No. 2 in saves per game at 9.71. He also possesses a save percentage of 46 as a true freshman.

ECAC Award Dominance
Michigan has won four ECAC Weekly Awards in the last two weeks, with Ian King and Chris Walker taking home the awards on March 8.

Walker, a close defender, scooped up 10 ground balls and caused three turnovers across two games for the Wolverines. The highlight came against the Paladins, as he collected five ground balls and caused a trio of turnovers.

King takes home the honor after collecting back-to-back hat tricks against High Point and Furman. He tallied 18 shots, and two of his six goals were of the man-up variety.

Prior to King and Walker's honors, Mack Gembis and Brad Lott were named ECAC Defensive Player and Specialist of the Week, respectively, for their performances in a 15-14 loss to No. 15 Cornell Saturday (March 1).

Lott Returns Home
Lott is the lone Wolverine from the Blue Grass state, as he hails for Louisville and attended Trinity High School, which is located a little more than five miles away from the Bellarmine campus.

National, ECAC Ranks
Overall, U-M is ranked as the No. 19 offense in the country and No. 2 in the ECAC, averaging 11.14 goals per contest. Additionally, U-M in No. 1 in the ECAC in ground balls per game with 31.43 per contest (19th nationally) and is clearing at 90 percent, which is 14th in the nation.

Balanced Scoring Leads Way
U-M is outshooting opponents, 278-277, but is being outscored, 89-78, on the season. U-M has been extremely balanced in quarter-by-quarter breakdown, with 20 in the first and second quarter as well as 19 in the third and 18 in the fourth (plus one overtime score).

Breakthroughs against Cornell
The one goal loss against No. 15 Cornell marked the closest defeat U-M has suffered against a ranked opponent in program history. Previously, the closest defeat suffered was five goals against No. 15 Penn State on Feb. 9, 2013 (11-6 defeat). Michigan also held a lead against a ranked opponent for the first time since leading 2-1 against No. 4 Denver at the 2:12 mark of the first quarter on April 27, 2013.

Strength of Schedule, Strength
Michigan has played the No. 38 schedule in the country thus far but has been top heavy featuring three ranked opponents in No. 9 Penn State, No. 5 Johns Hopkins and No. 16 Cornell. A matchup with No. 1 Maryland looms on March 18, while Fairfield (No. 19), Yale (No. 17) are also on the docket.

Broadcast Team
Mike DeWitt, who has called U-M games the past two seasons on Big Ten Student U and the Michigan Stadium in-house feed on MGoBlue.com, will return for his third season as the voice of Michigan lacrosse as the play-by-play man. Joining him as color commentator will be 2012 U-M graduate Brian Greiner, a member of Team One and U-M's primary faceoff man in the initial season as a varsity program. He was also a member of the teams 2010 MCLA National Championship squad.

In the 2012 season, he won the Team Spirit Award, and went 128-of-302 at the faceoff X (42 percent). He led the team in ground balls, with 48, and scored four goals on the year, including two against Ohio State in the first Battle at the Big House.

NCAA Debuts
Nine players made their debuts for the Wolverines against Penn State in Josh Stauffer and Mike D'Alessio (sophomores) as well as freshmen Mikie Schlosser, Ian King, Peter Khoury, Will Biagi, Stefan Bergman and Christian Wolter and goalie Robbie Zonino. Against Mercer, Andrew Roswell, Charlie McPeters, Cooper Charlton and Brendan Gaughan made their debuts. Most recently, Andrew Hatton make his first appearance -- against Detroit -- at close defense and earned his first start of the season against Johns Hopkins, upping the total of initial appearances to 15 thus far this season.

Two-Year Starters Return
The Wolverines return three players who have been mainstays in the first two seasons of varsity play. Featuring a pair of starting attackmen in juniors Will Meter and David McCormack, as well as fifth-year senior close defender JD Johnson.

Meter, who led the team in assists as a freshman with 15 and had five helpers last season, has started 25 of 27 contests on attack alongside McCormack, who has 19 career goals and four assists in 19 starts. Johnson, who missed a significant part of 2013 due to injury, is healthy after starting 14 games in 2012 and seven a year ago. He led Team One in ground balls with 40 and was tied for third on the team last year with 25.

2014 Slate
In total, U-M's 2014 opponents had a combined record of 117-96 a year ago. For the team's eight road games, the Wolverines will travel 4,092 miles

Diversity for U-M
Of the players that make up the 2014 squad, members of the team hail from 13 states and provinces, highlighted by eight from Michigan and five from New Jersey, Ohio, California, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
California: 5 (Gaughan, Hernandez, Johnson, Schlosser, Simor)
Canada: 1 (Jackson)
Colorado: 1 (Wylie)
Connecticut: 5 (Francia, Hatton, Keady, Khoury, Kraus)
Florida: 1 (Stauffer)
Maryland: 4 (Brown, Glaser, Mosko, Roswell)
Michigan: 8 (Archer, Gembis, Kennedy, Meter, Orr, Sardelli, Walker, Zwolan)
New Hampshire: 1 (Wolter)
New Jersey: 5 (Bryant, McPeters, Portnoy, Riefberg, Weichert)
New York: 2 (D'Alessio, Logan)
Ohio: 5 (Charlton, Joseph, King, McCormack, Paras)
Pennsylvania: 5 (Bergman, Chu, Kinek, Moore, Zonino)
Virginia: 1 (Biagi)

Special Matchups on Tap
For the third straight season, U-M will host the Battle at the Big House following the U-M Football Spring Game. This year's opponent for the traditional matchup will be the Fairfield Stags, and the April 5 game will commence at 3 p.m. The following Saturday (April 12), U-M will take part in the Showdown at the Shoe against Ohio State at 11 a.m. in Columbus.

Number Changes
Four returning players from last season have switched numbers for U-M:
Evan Glaser (No. 25 from No. 40)
Dan Kinek (No. 9 from No. 38)
Will Meter (No. 15 from No. 45)
Dakota Sherman (No. 50 from No. 17)

Freshman Nothing New
For the third straight season, the Wolverines will run a freshman goalie out between the pipes, as Robbie Zonino appears to be the man in the cage this season. In 2012 Emil Weiss was the primary goalie, playing in 10 games with an 11.80 goals-against average. In 2013, Gerald Logan played the majority of minutes.

In the two years U-M has been a varsity program, freshman have played 84 percent of the minutes in goal. The departed Dylan Westerhold is the other netminder who saw action in both seasons, playing 252 minutes in 2012, and just over five minutes in 2013. Cy Abelnour made a cameo appearance in 2012, playing 10 minutes as well.

U-M is the only team in the country that will have started a different freshman goalie in each of the past seasons. The Albany Great Danes are the last team to accomplish that feat, as a freshman was in net for the 2011-12-13 seasons.

Michigan to Join Big Ten Conference for Lacrosse in 2014-15
The Big Ten Conference announced June 3 the formation of a men's lacrosse conference, in which the University of Michigan men's lacrosse team will begin competition during the 2014-15 academic year.

In addition to Michigan and affiliate member Johns Hopkins, the men's conference will also feature Ohio State, Penn State, Rutgers and Maryland.

Big Ten rules allow for a conference championship when six institutions sponsor a program in any given sport.

Paul and the Wolverines will enter their third year as a varsity program in 2013-14, and continue competing in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC), before joining the Big Ten for the 2015 season. Ohio State is the only other current ECAC team that will also transition to the Big Ten.

With the addition of men's and women's lacrosse, the Big Ten will now sponsor 28 varsity sports.

U-M Supports Friends of Jaclyn, vs. Cancer
The Wolverines adopted nine-year-old Miles Root of Tecumseh, Mich., through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation (FOJ), a charitable, non-profit organization that strives to enhance and strengthen the support system built around children with pediatric brain tumors. On Jan. 25, over 30 members of the team shaved their heads in support of Miles, who passed away on March 6, 2014. The Wolverines continue to honor Miles by donning "Super Miles Strong" wristbands, as well as "MR" stickers on the back of their helmets.

"One of our core principles is Family, and Miles was definitely part of our family," said head coach John Paul. "He brightened up our day when he was around, and he brought some perspective to us whenever we were facing whatever small adversities we had to overcome. He was taken far too soon. We'll miss him. We all hope that his three brothers, Skyler, Ian and Seth, will continue to be involved with our program. The Roots will always have a home with us.

Through the program, adopted children become part of the team and build unique friendships. Children also gain an incredible group of caring role models to look up to when they need the extra support. FOJ places children with teams according to geographical proximity, as his primary healthcare facility is the University of Michigan Hospital.

Miles was diagnosed with a brain tumor on April 26, 2010, at the age of five. The tumor was fully resected on April 28, but he suffered from posterior fossa syndrome with cerebellar mutism a few hours after his tumor removal, resulting in him being unable to move the right side of his body and leaving him unable to speak.

FOJ's programs are based on love, support and friendship between the child, the child's family and his or her "adopted" team. FOJ has completed more than 400 adoptions in more than 20 different sports. They currently have more than 1,000 schools on a waiting list, as FOJ grows from a small organization into a larger one.

Tuesday, March 18 -- vs. Maryland (Michigan Stadium), 4 p.m.