April 8, 2014
Saturday, April 12 -- at Ohio State (Michigan Stadium), 4:30 p.m.
TV: Big Ten Network | Live Stats
The University of Michigan men's lacrosse team (4-8, 1-2 ECAC) will take on the Ohio State Buckeyes (4-6, 1-0 ECAC) in the annual Showdown at the Shoe Saturday (April 11) in a matchup that will take place prior to the Ohio State Spring Football Game at 11 a.m. The matchup will be shown live via the Big Ten Network, with Tom Werne and Greg Bice calling the action.
Freshman Ian King continues to lead the team in goals with 24, and is now three away from breaking Trevor Yealy's (2012) school-record of 26. He has scored at least one goal in 11 of 12 games this season, while King has scored multiple goals in six of those eight contests.
Kyle Jackson and Thomas Paras are tied for second on the squad in points, as Jackson has scored 17 goals to go along with five helpers, while Paras leads the team in assists with 10 and is third on the team in scores with 12. Junior attacker David McCormack is No. 4 on the squad in goals with 11, while sophomore middie Dan Kinek is No. 2 on the squad in helpers with nine.
Defensively, longstick middie Chase Brown has caused 15 turnovers and has picked up 23 ground balls. Defensive midfielder Jeff Chu has four caused turnovers, and 21 ground balls. Close defenders Chris Walker (22 gbs, seven caused) and Mack Gembis (12 gbs.,12 caused) enter the game as the squad's top two close defenders.
At the faceoff dot, Brad Lott is winning 56 percent (125-of-222) of his chances and has collected 70 ground balls.
The Wolverines have been outscored 151-120 this season, and outshot 473-470. U-M is shooting 26 percent on the year, and are converting on 40 percent of man-up chances.
Scouting The Buckeyes
The Buckeyes will enter the contest with a 4-6 overall mark, and are 1-0 in ECAC action after downing Bellarmine 10-7 on March 21. In their last two games, OSU has defeated Jacksonville and Delaware by a combined score line of 28-11. Additionally, the Buckeyes have played the No. 13 schedule in the country, which includes defeats at the hands of five ranked opponents.
U-M has never played in Columbus as a varsity program, as the Wolverines have hosted OSU at the Battle at the Big House the past two seasons, falling 12-9 in 2012 and 17-8 in 2013.
Jesse King leads the offense with 2.22 assists per game and 4.33 points per game, as both rank No. 10 nationally. He is also No. 5 in the conference in goals per game with 2.11 a contest. He has 19 goals and 20 helpers on the season to lead the squad, while Carter Brown has 15 scores and 10 assists. Turner Evans is No. 2 on the squad in helpers with 14.
Defensively, the squad is ranked No. 14 in the NCAA, allowing 8.70 goals per contest, as is led by Robby Haus and Dominic Imbordino, who each have caused 12 turnovers on the season.
At the faceoff dot, Jake Withers is winning 50 percent of his attempts (73-of-147), and has collected 47 ground balls, while Scott Spencer has started the last three games between the pipes in three contests. He has stopped 50 percent of shots faced and has allowed 8.47 goals per contest to go along with 23 saves.
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.
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 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
U-M's offensive unit checks in this week as the No. 39 offense in the country and ranks as the No. 4 offense in the ECAC. U-M is also excelling on special teams this season, as the man-down unit is No 2 in the conference (68 percent) while man-up is No. 3 in the ECAC.
Led by Lott, U-M is No. 1 in the ECAC in faceoffs (51 percent) and ground balls (30 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. The Wolverines are also No. 2 in the ECAC in caused turnovers and No. 26 nationally, causing 7.67 turnovers per contest
Also in the top two in conference standings is Chase Brown, who is causing 1.25 turnovers per contest, which also ranks 59th nationally.
Balanced Scoring Leads Way
U-M has been extremely balanced in quarter-by-quarter breakdown, with 27 in the first and 31 in the second quarter. In the third and fourth quarter, U-M has marked 30 goals in each period (plus two overtime scores).
Breakthroughs against Cornell, Fairfield
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.
U-M equaled the closest defeat against a ranked team on April 5 against Fairfield, falling 9-8 in the Battle at the Big House.
Strength of Schedule, Strength
Michigan has played the No. 27 schedule (according to LaxPower.com) in the country thus far but has been top heavy, featuring five ranked opponents in No. 9 Penn State, No. 5 Johns Hopkins, No. 16 Cornell, as well as No. 1 Maryland and No. 15 Fairfield.
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 J.D. 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)
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)
Freshmen 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 19 -- vs. Yale (Michigan Stadium), 4 p.m.
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