U-M to Open ECAC Tourney Play Thursday vs. No. 15 Fairfield

April 29, 2014

Under the Arch | Coach Paul on WTKA audio

Thursday, May 1 -- vs. No. 15 Fairfield (Columbus, Ohio), 5 p.m.
TV: FOX Sports 2 | Live Stats | Tournament Central

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The University of Michigan men's lacrosse team (5-10) takes on No. 15 Fairfield (11-3) in the opening round of the ECAC Tournament Thursday (May 1) at 5 p.m. from Ohio State's Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. All three games of the tournament will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 2, with game times slated for 5 and 8 p.m. on Thursday. The ECAC Tournament Championship game will be contested at 5 p.m. on Saturday (May 3).

About Michigan
Freshman Ian King, coming off a three-goal game against Robert Morris, continues to lead the team in goals with 30. He has scored at least one goal in 14 of 15 games this season and has scored multiple goals in 11 games this year. With two goals against Yale, he broke the Michigan single-season record for goals (Trevor Yealy, 2012).

In the last five games, Kyle Jackson has 11 goals and two helpers for 13 points, while Thomas Paras has gone for five goals and six assists. King is No. 2 on the squad in goals over that span with nine on 33 shots.

Paras owns 13 assists entering the contest, two off the school record of 15 that is held by current teammate Will Meter, who had 15 in 2012.

Close defender Chris Walker has collected 13 ground balls over the span to go along with five caused turnovers, while LSMs Dakota Sherman (6 gbs., 5 caused) and Chase Brown (11 gbs., two caused) have excelled of late.

Freshman goalie Robbie Zonino has stopped 45 percent of shots faced while making 48 saves during the span, while Brad Lott has gone 53-of-113 (47 percent) with 24 ground balls during that timeframe.

Team Records
U-M has virtually re-written the team record book in offensive terms, setting new team highs in every offensive category. Most notably, Michigan has 225 points this year compared to 164 in 2012 and 134 in 2013. Additionally, new highs have been set in goals (152) assists (73), shots (600) and ground balls (451). U-M has also collected 30.07 ground balls per game, caused 7.73 turnovers per contest and is winning 50 percent of faceoff changes, all of which are new team records at this point in the season.

Scouting the Stags

The Last Meeting
No. 15 Fairfield9
April 5, 2014
Michigan Stadium
Michigan's Second-Half Rally Falls Short against No. 15 Fairfield
David Joseph scored three goals and Michigan held No. 15 Fairfield scoreless in the third quarter, but the Wolverines could not overcome an early deficit, falling 9-8 in the Battle at the Big House.

The No. 15 Stags enter the contest with an 11-3 overall record and 3-1 conference mark. Fairfield is 9-1 in its last 10 contests, with the only loss coming against Air Force by a 16-8 count on April 12.

The offense has outscored opponents, 161-121, this season while leading the country in shot percentage at 35 percent, and boasts four players that have surpassed the 30-point plateau in Colin McLinden (16 goals, 28 assists, 44 points), Tristan Sperry (22, 17, 39), TJ Neubauer (31, 5, 36) and Eric Warden (29, 2, 31).

Michigan figures to hold an advantage at the faceoff dot, as Stag faceoff specialist Michael Roe is winning 47 percent (97-of-207) with 46 ground balls, while the No. 2 option, Louis DiGiacomo, is winning 44 percent (51-of-117). As the team, the tandem is winning 46 percent of its chances.

Fairfield also boasts the top goalie in the conference in Jack Murphy, who owns a goals-against average of 8.54 and a save percentage of 53 and is stopping 9.57 saves per game.

U-M and Fairfield previously squared off this season on April 5 in the team's annual Battle at the Big House matchup, falling, 9-8, after a ferocious second-half comeback after holding the Stags scoreless for 27:48 in the second stanza. The game marked the second time on the season that U-M held an opponent scoreless for a quarter. David Joseph led the way with three scores, while Mikie Schlosser added a pair. Robbie Zonino made eight saves in net.

Hat Trick Trio
Against Robert Morris, Kyle Jackson, Thomas Paras and Ian King each netted hat-tricks, led by Jackson's school record of five scores. The feat marked the first time in school history the Wolverines have had three in a game and the first time that a U-M player scored three goals in on quarter, as Jackson had three in the opening quarter of action. Michigan has now had 14 tricks on the season, led by four from both Jackson and King.

ECAC Awards
Kyle Jackson won the final ECAC Player of the Week in conference history for his five goal effort for his performance against Bellarmine (April 26), marking the first U-M player since early March to collect a conference honor.

In March, five U-M players garnered conference accolades. 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 earned 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 on March 1.

National, ECAC Ranks
Offensively, U-M's offense comes in at No. 31 in the country, averaging 10.13 goals per contest, which is No. 3 in the ECAC. U-M ranks tops in the ECAC in faceoff winning percentage (50 percent) as well as in ground balls with 30 per game. The Wolverines are No. 2 in the conference in caused turnovers and 22nd nationally with 7.73 per game, as well as man-down defense (70 percent).

Lott is ranked No. 31 in the NCAA and No. 1 in the conference in faceoff winning percentage (54 percent) as well as No. 18 in the country and No. 1 in the ECAC in ground balls per game (6.38). Goaltender Robbie Zonino is No. 2 in the conference with 9.73 saves per game.

Balanced Scoring Leads Way
U-M has been balanced in quarter-by-quarter breakdown for the majority of the season, with 35 in the first and 44 in the second quarter (after seven scores in the second against Robert Morris). In the third, U-M has marked 34 scores, as well as 37 goals in the fourth periods of action (plus two overtime scores).

Gaughan Catches Fire in Fourth Against Yale, Multiple Goal Quarters
Sophomore/freshman Brendan Gaughan earned the first extended action of his career in the fourth quarter against the Bulldogs, scoring a pair of goals in a little more than three minutes. That marks the eighth time (now up to 10 as Jackson and Schlosser each scored a pair against Robert Morris in a quarter) that a U-M player as scored a pair of goals in a quarter, as King leads the way in the category after accomplishing the feat on four occasions this season, including twice against Detroit (Feb. 14) when he scored the goals.

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. 24 schedule (according to LaxPower.com) in the country, featuring six ranked opponents in No. 9 Penn State, No. 5 Johns Hopkins, No. 16 Cornell, as well as No. 1 Maryland and No. 15 Fairfield and No. 13 Yale.

Chu Collects Community Service Award
Senior co-captain Jeff Chu was awarded with the 2013-14 Rachael Townsend Award, given in memory of Wolverine field hockey team member, Rachael [Geishardt] Townsend (1992-95) for demonstrating a passion for serving the community, especially in the area of mentoring and coaching area youth, both during and after her time at Michigan. After Rachael passed away at the age of 29, the Rachael Townsend Community Service Award was created as a way to honor her life and the positive impact that she had throughout the community.

This year's award winners were nominated by their teammates and peers and then selected by a diverse group of athletic staff and fellow student-athletes. Each recipient has made significant and selfless contributions to the community through their time, talent and dedication throughout the year. The award winners were invited to a private dinner at the home of Dave and Jan Brandon and will receive a Ginsberg Center Service Cord in honor of their community involvement to be worn at graduation.

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. Andrew Hatton, who has been a fixture in the starting lineup since made his first appearance -- against Detroit. In the final regular season game of the season, Andrew Simor and Charlie McPeters made their first appearances, upping the total to 17 debuts on the season.

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)

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.