Wolverines to Return to ECAC Play, Travel to Air Force Saturday

March 26, 2014

Notes Packet | Coach Paul on WTKA audio

Saturday, March 29 -- at Air Force (Colorado Springs, Colo.), 1 p.m. MDT
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The University of Michigan men's lacrosse team (4-6, 1-0 ECAC) returns to ECAC action, traveling to the United States Air Force Academy (5-3, 1-0 ECAC) to take on the Falcons Saturday (March 29). The game is set to begin at 1 p.m. MDT inside Falcon Stadium in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The Wolverines look to improve to 2-0 in ECAC play and solidify a spot in the ECAC tournament in early April.

About Michigan
Freshman Ian King continues to pace the squad in goals (21) and shots (62), as he has scored at least one goal in nine of Michigan's 10 contests this season and has found the back of the net 13 times in the past six contests. He also possesses seven man-up scores.

Graduate student Thomas Paras leads the team in assists (eight) and has 17 points on the season, while Kyle Jackson is No. 2 on the team in goals with 13 and has also dished out three assists. Michigan has also rotated six players on attack this season, as five of the six players have scored more than five goals.

The Wolverines have been outscored, 127-100, this season and outshot, 226-219. U-M is shooting 26 percent on the year and is converting on 39 percent of man-up chances.

Brad Lott leads the team in faceoffs, winning 59 percent of his chances (101-of-172), and has collected 59 ground balls to lead the squad.

Defensively, Chase Brown has caused 14 turnovers and collected 18 ground balls, while Chris Walker leads the long poles with 21 pickups. Goalie Robbie Zonino has stopped 98 shots on the year and is saving 45 percent of his shots faced. Overall, he owns a goals-against average of 12.40.

The Last Meeting
Air Force10
March 30, 2013
Michigan Stadium
Wolverines Cannot Battle Back against Air Force
Two-goal games from Will Meter, Mike Hernandez and Kyle Jackson and a season-high five second-half goals were not enough as U-M was handed a 10-6 defeat by Air Force.

Scouting Air Force
The Falcons enter the contest with a 5-3 overall record after most recently defeating Binghamton on March 23 by a 10-8 count on the road. Additionally, the Falcons are 1-0 in ECAC action, having defeated Bellarmine, 13-9, on March 8 in Colorado Springs. The squad is riding a three-game win streak and has outscored the likes of the Knights, Jacksonville and Binghamton, 38-29, over that span.

Michigan trails 2-0 in the all-time series, as the Falcons most recently defeated the Wolverines, 10-6, on March 30 last season in the Big House.

Offensively, the squad is paced by Mike Crampton (18g., 9a.) and Michigan native Tommy McKee (17g., 6 a.), while Keith Dreyer leads the squad in assists with 13. Two-way faceoff man Erik Smith is winning 67 percent of his faceoffs (34-of-51) and has also scored 14 goals to go along with three helpers.

Defensively, Kyle O'Brien leads the team in caused turnovers with 11 and has also picked up 30 ground balls, which is second on the team. Doug Gouchoe has played the majority of minutes in goal and has stopped 47 shots while allowing 56 goals (46 percent) for a 9.19 goals-against average.

Air Force has outscored opponents, 88-71, and is outshooting opponents, 328-234, on the year. The squad is winning 52 percent of its faceoffs on the year and is clearing at 85 percent.

Tournament Hopes
With five teams remaining the ECAC Lacrosse conference in its final season of existence, four of them will make the ECAC Tournament May 2-4 in Columbus, Ohio, with the winner earning a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

A win for the Wolverines would prove vital for a berth, as both U-M and Air Force enter the contest with a 1-0 record, while Bellarmine, a team U-M owns a tiebreaker over via head-to-head outcome, is 0-3 in conference action. The Knights take on No. 16 Fairfield on Saturday, and a loss by the Knights would clinch a spot for U-M in the tournament.

ECAC Awards
Michigan has won five ECAC Weekly Awards over the last month. Most recently, Brad Lott took home the Specialist of the Week honor, while Ian King and Chris Walker took home rookie and defender of the week 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.

National, ECAC Ranks
Michigan offense is ranked No. 30 in the country (10 goals per contest) and features the No. 28 man-up offense as the team is converting at 39 percent. U-M, led by Lott, leads the ECAC in ground balls and is No. 27 nationally in ground balls with 30 and is No. 33 (No. 2 in ECAC) in faceoff wins at 52 percent.

Lott is No. 1 in the conference in faceoff percentage at 59 percent (20th in the NCAA), and leads the conference in ground ball pickups with 7.38 per game and 13th nationally.

Freshman Robbie Zonino is second in the conference in saves per contest with 9.8 per game and is No. 5 in the conference in save percentage (45 percent).

Balanced Scoring Leads Way
U-M has been extremely balanced in quarter-by-quarter goal breakdown, with 23 in the first and fourth quarter, as well as 26 in the second and third quarters of action (plus two overtime scores).

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. 32 schedule in the country thus far but has been top heavy, featuring three ranked opponents in No. 9 Penn State, No. 5 Johns Hopkins, No. 16 Cornell, as well as No. 1 Maryland.

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 14 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 4:30 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
Five 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)
Thomas Paras (No. 11 from No. 39)

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.

Saturday, April 5 -- vs. Fairfield (Michigan Stadium), 4:30 p.m.