April 2, 2014
The University of Michigan men's lacrosse team (4-7, 1-1 ECAC) looks to snap a three-game losing streak versus No. 15 Fairfield (8-2, 1-0 ECAC) Saturday (April 5) inside Michigan Stadium. The game is slated for a 5 p.m. start (30 min later than the original start time) and will follow the Michigan football spring game, which starts at 2 p.m. This is the third year of the annual contest, which was previously played against Ohio State following the Michigan football spring contest.
Freshman Ian King continues to lead the team in goals with 23 and is now four away from breaking Trevor Yealy's (2012) school-record 26. He has scored at least one goal in 10 of 11 games this season, while seven of the goals are of the man-up variety, which leads the team.
Kyle Jackson and Thomas Paras are tied for second on the squad in points, as Jackson boasts 16 goals and four assists to 11 goals and a team-leading nine assists from Paras. Junior attacker David McCormack is tied for third on the team in goals with 11, while sophomore Dan Kinek is second on the team in helpers with eight.
Defensively, longstick middie Chase Brown has caused 14 turnovers and has picked up 21 ground balls. Defensive midfielder Jeff Chu has four caused turnovers and 19 ground balls. Close defenders Chris Walker (20 gbs, five caused) and Mack Gembis (12 gbs., eight caused) enter the game as the squad's top two close defenders.
At the faceoff dot, Brad Lott is winning 58 percent (118-of-202) of his chances and has collected 66 ground balls.
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. In goal, freshman Robbie Zonino is stopping 44 percent of shots faced and is allowing 12.64 goals per contest.
Scouting the Stags
Fairfield enters Saturday's contest coming off a 10-6 win over Bucknell on Tuesday and is riding a six-game winning streak. The Stags are 3-2 in games decided by four goals or less. The two sides have played one common opponent this season in ECAC foe Bellarmine, which the Stags knocked off, 9-3, on March 29.
The squad boasts the most dynamic offense in the ECAC, led by Tristian Sperry (18g., 15a.) and Colin McLinden (11g., 21a.) and has oustcored opponents, 122-82, this season. Additionally, Eric Warden (25) and TJ Neubauer (21) have each surpassed the 20-goal plateau. FU is also converting on 44 percent of man-up opportunities.
The No. 9 defense in the NCAA is led by close defender Greg Perraut, as he has 16 ground balls and 10 caused turnovers, while Max Buchanan has caused six turnovers and has collected 23 ground balls. A glaring weakness for the Stags is the faceoff dot, as Michael Roe (41 percent) and Louis DiGiacomo (44 percent) have gone 101-of-238 at the dot for a team total of 43 percent.
Jack Murphy enters as the top goaltender in the conference, as he has turned away 56 percent of shots faced while allowing 7.98 goals per contest.
Tournament Berth Clinched
By virtue of Bellarmine's 9-3 loss to Fairfield (Saturday 29), the Knights fall to 0-4 in ECAC action with the loss, allowing U-M to secure its first-ever postseason berth. Michigan is 1-1 in conference play this season, as it owns an ever-important win over Bellarmine this season.
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.
Michigan has won five ECAC Weekly Awards in the month of March. 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, respectively, 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 took 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
U-M's offensive unit checks in this week as the No. 37 offense in the country, which ranks as the No. 3 offense in the ECAC, while the squad's man-up unit is No. 2 in the ECAC and 24th nationally (40 percent).
Led by Lott, U-M is No. 1 in the ECAC in faceoffs (52 percent) and ground balls (31 per game) as a team. Individually, Lott is 20th in the NCAA at 59 percent and 14th in the NCAA in ground balls per contest at 7.33.
Also in the top two in conference standings are Brown, as he is No. 2 in caused turnovers (1.27 per contest), and Zonino, who is stopping 9.64 shots per contest.
Balanced Scoring Leads Way
U-M has been extremely balanced in quarter-by-quarter scoring breakdown, with 25 in the first quarter, as well as 29 in the second. In the third and fourth quarter, U-M has marked 28 goals in each period (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. 33 toughest schedule (according to LaxPower.com) 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, as well as No. 1 Maryland.
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.
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.
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 5 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.
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 12 -- vs. Ohio State - Showdown at the Shoe (Ohio Stadium), 11 a.m.