Michigan 5, Notre Dame 16

U-M came into this game undefeated and feeling pretty good. For the better part of three quarters, they played extremely close lacrosse with a team that was then the No. 4 team in the country (and remains No. 1 according to Analytics Lacrosse). Then the wheels fell off.

Tempo-Free

From the official box score, a look at the tempo-free stats:

Notre Dame 2017
Michigan Notre Dame
Faceoff Wins 11 Faceoff Wins 14
Clearing 17-23 Clearing 14-16
Possessions 36 Possessions 36
Goals 5 Goals 16
Offensive Efficiency .139 Offensive Efficiency .444

Michigan had a slight disadvantage on faceoffs, and could have made up for it with the number of clearing attempts they had (as is the natural state of things), but really dropped the ball getting end-to-end. Then they couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net, and late, couldn’t prevent the Irish from doing it, either.

Notes

The final score really obscures how close this game could have been. Michigan’s top players were relatively close (though still a step behind) the Irish’s top guys. What was exposed here was a complete lack of depth for the Wolverines. Michigan cut the score to 7-5 early in the third quarter, but didn’t have the horses to run with the sheer volume of talent through the whole ND roster. Through three quarters – which even includes the beginning of that Irish run – Michigan was up 10-8 in faceoff wins and 29-24 in possessions. In efficiency, they trailed by a far less embarrassing margin (with a .172 to Notre Dame’s .417) than the final tally. The wheels had slowly been coming off over the course of the game, emphasized in that third quarter, and then sealed in the fourth (12 Irish possessions to seven – two on failed clears – for Michigan, and a 6-0 scoring margin).

Sticking to that theme, Michigan played a clean game in the first quarter, then gave up three EMO chances in the middle two quarters, and one more in the fourth. Despite Notre Dame’s offensive talent, only two of those seven chances were converted… but over the course of the game, that’s a lot of man-down time, and the legs are going to give out. When you’re playing a team that’s already better than you, it removes an upset chance, and makes a close game – and don’t misinterpret me here, this is not one U-M was ever a threat to steal, just finish better – look ugly.

Ian King (two assists) and Brent Noseworthy were the entirely-unsurprising offensive stars in this one, as they will be for just about every contest in which they’re both healthy and on the field. King did take six shots (three on goal) without scoring, which is a little bit of a disappointment. Even if the three off-cage maintained U-M possession, three saves is typically three offensive opportunities ended. Of course, he became U-M’s all-time leading point-scorer in the contest with 14, so a nice day in the lifetime achievement award category, at least.

Given clearing numbers that are worse than basically any Michigan game since the program became competent – around years three and four – it should come as no surprise that turnovers were a bugaboo, and not just for the offensive personnel. D-middies Will Reynolds and Chase Young combined for three, poles Eric Smith and Nick DeCaprio a pair, and goalie Tommy Heidt had two. Of course, that still leaves 11 of the 18 total for the offensive players (three for King, four for Decker Curran, one each for Noseworthy, Mikie Schlosser, PJ Bogle, and Team). This was a sloppy team game, with the second quarter ironically the worst, given it was the only one U-M matched ND score-for-score.

Tommy Heidt actually had a great game despite giving up 16 goals: he faced a ton of rubber. Giving up 16 while have a save percentage over .500 (he made 17 saves for a .515) is insane. It means the D didn’t help him much. That’ll happen against really good teams, especially when the offense isn’t carrying its weight in protecting you.

Notre Dame really spread the love offensively – more indication of their outstanding depth – with nine multi-point scorers, and nobody getting more than four total points (Ryder Garnsey on a pair each of goals and assists). Hate to be overly critical of a Next Level player (and for two years running, the GLS player of the year), especially since it’s not Sergio Perkovic’s fault that he has all sorts of national hype and one of the worst ESPNU-granted nicknames of all time, but he was pretty bad in this one: 12 shots, only seven on goal, and only one of them finding the back of the net. The criticisms of him are sometimes unfair (and again, based on things outside of his control), but for a guy with one of the best long-range sniper reputations in the country… not great, Bob.

Elsewhere

Michigan recap. Boxscore. You can re-watch the whole dang thing on ESPN3 if you want to be sad. Notre Dame recap.

Up Next

Michigan got right back on the good side of things with a mid-week game against Mercer, part of the Spring Break trip down South that turned out very well for them.

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Detroit preview: Manhattan

Conference play begins! Detroit gets things rolling at 11 (in a game that was moved to accommodate finishing before bad weather).

Manhattan

Manhattan Jaspers Lacrosse

Jasper: Far more scary if you’re a dalmatian. Disney jokes.

March 18, 2017, 11 a.m. EDT
Titan Field
Live stats. Video.
Detroit preview. Manhattan preview.
@UDMLax. @GoJaspers.

The Jaspers

Manhattan has traditionally been one of the country’s worst teams, and with a 2-5 record this year (the wins are both 14-13 affairs, over Wagner and Hartford), it’s probably no exception to the rule. The Jaspers have one of the country’s worst offenses, bar-none the worst defense, and play really fast. That’s typically a recipe for getting blown out, like, a lot.

Offense

More thanks to a fast pace than any ability to score efficiently, there are some pretty prolific players already in 2017. Sophomore attackman Parker Giarratana has more than a quarter of the team’s total goal output with 18, and has contributed six assists, as well.

In fact, other than freshman midfielder CJ Scharf (three goals, 10 assists), just about everybody on the team is slanted heavily toward scoring than setting up teammates. Senior midfielder Matt Garvey has nine goals and three assists, freshman attack Trevor Pelletier has eight goals and three assists, freshman midfielder Reid Martin has eight goals and one assist, and freshman attack Brandon Grinnell has seven goals and five assists (the most balanced Jasper).

This is a very young offense, as you can see by the fact that only one leading scorer is a senior, one is a sophomore, and the rest are freshmen.

Defense

Sophomores Nicholas Clayton and Dylan DeMuro start on close defense, along with junior Frank Merrill. Sophomore William Ratchford is the primary SSDM, at least in terms of production in the form of ground balls.

This unit causes almost no turnovers, which would be fine except for the fact that they give up a ton of goals. A raw defensive efficiency of .419 is horrible, and worse so when you consider that they’ve done it against a very weak slate of opponents.

Goalie Michael Zingaro is the recipient of a ton of work, and he’s saving shots at just a .493 clip (when anything below .500 is quite bad indeed). He’s allowing nearly 15 goals per game – not as bad as it sounds, given the pace they play, but still not great, Bob.

Special teams

Manhattan actually has a pretty decent faceoff game, led by junior Joseph Bressingham, who’s at .556 this Spring. He gets a ton of ground balls himself, which is one of my unofficial metrics for a good faceoff specialist, rather than one who’s just helped by wing play.

Manhattan has a decent ride, with opponents clearing just .867, but their own clear is downright terrible, at .831 on the season. They turn it over a ton before they even get to the offensive end, which explains quite a bit of the struggles on either end of the field.

Overall

This team is very bad. Detroit is far from elite, but they aren’t down to this level, by any stretch. They’re fully capable of playing down (and often up, to be fair) to their competition, which is the biggest question mark here.

Predictions

Gotta get this published before the game starts, so quick take: Detroit 14, Manhattan 7.

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The Next Level: March 14, 2017

Our weekly look at Michigan natives who are playing college lacrosse at division-1 institutions this Spring. We’re at full capacity now, with every team’s season having started:

Bellarmine 7, Mount St. Mary’s 18

  • Senior attackman/midfielder Graham Macko (Brother Rice) – Took two Shots (both on goal).
  • Freshman attackman Morgan Macko (Brother Rice) – Picked up one ground ball.

Binghamton 10, Siena 5

  • Junior midfielder Liam Reaume (Brother Rice) – Took three Shots (two on goal) and picked up one ground ball.

Binghamton 13, Delaware 9

  • Junior midfielder Liam Reaume (Brother Rice) – Took two Shots (one on goal)

Cleveland State 4, Ohio State 12

  • Freshman defenseman Levi Peterson (Holt) – Did not see game action.
  • Freshman defenseman Garrett White (Ann Arbor Pioneer) – Did not see game action.

Colgate 13, Hobart 6

  • Freshman attackman Cooper Belanger (Detroit Country Day) – Did not see game action.

Colgate 7, Boston University 18

  • Freshman attackman Cooper Belanger (Detroit Country Day) – Played, but did not accrue any statistics.

Detroit 8, Air Force 13

  • Senior attackman Kyle Beauregard (Notre Dame Prep) – Started and scored two Goals on five Shots (three on goal). Also committed one turnover.
  • Junior midfielder Sean Birney (Detroit Catholic Central) – Started and scored a Goal on four Shots (two on goal).
  • Freshman defenseman Nick Boynton (Troy Athens) – Did not see game action.
  • Junior midfielder Adam Findlay (Detroit Catholic Central) – Did not see game action.
  • Junior attackman Alec Gilhooly (Detroit Catholic Central) – Started, scored a Goal on two Shots (both on goal), and added one Assist. Also committed one turnover.
  • Senior faceoff specialist Benjamin Gjokaj (Walled Lake Northern) – Won 8/19 faceoffs, picking up one ground ball.
  • Sophomore midfielder Emmett Green (Birmingham Seaholm) – Picked up one ground ball.
  • Freshman attackman/midfielder Blake Grewal-Turner (Okemos) – Played, but did not accrue any statistics.
  • Freshman defenseman Jack Harrop (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s) – Did not see game action.
  • Junior midfielder Charlie Hayes (Utica Eisenhower) – Caused one turnover and picked up two ground balls.
  • Senior midfielder JD Hess (Birmingham Seaholm) – Did not see game action.
  • Sophomore defenseman Sam Horton (Okemos) – Started, but did not accrue any statistics.
  • Freshman midfielder Alex Jarzembowski (Detroit Catholic Central) – Won 3/4 faceoffs, picking up one ground ball.
  • Junior midfielder Brent Lubin (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s) – Played, but did not accrue any statistics.
  • Junior midfielder Connor Maks (UD-Jesuit) – Picked up one ground ball.
  • Senior midfielder Greg Marzec (Brother Rice) – Went 0/2 on faceoffs and picked up one ground ball.
  • Junior defenseman Bryan Matney (Ann Arbor Pioneer) – Caused one turnover and took one Shot.
  • Freshman midfielder Jackson McElhenney (Birmingham Seaholm) – Did not see game action.
  • Sophomore midfielder Bo Pickens (Brother Rice) – Did not see game action.
  • Sophomore defenseman Austin Ross (Warren Mott) – Did not see game action.
  • Freshman midfielder Charlie Schiefer (Birmingham Seaholm) – Did not see game action.
  • Freshman goalie Logan Shamblin (Troy) – Did not see game action.
  • Freshman defenseman Travis Sparling (Novi) – Did not see game action.
  • Junior attackman/midfielder Adam Susalla (Birmingham Seaholm) – Played, but only made the scoresheet by committing one turnover.

Drexel 7, Bryant 5

  • Freshman faceoff specialist Ian Foster (East Lansing/IMG Academy) – Did not see game action.

Drexel 12, St. Joseph’s 8

  • Freshman faceoff specialist Ian Foster (East Lansing/IMG Academy) – Won 0/1 faceoffs.

Duke 15, Loyola 7

  • Junior midfielder Matthew Giampetroni (Cranbrook) – Did not see game action.

Duke 13, Jacksonville 6

  • Junior midfielder Matthew Giampetroni (Cranbrook) – Played, but did not accrue any statistics.

Fairfield 10, Yale 11 (2 OT)

  • Freshman defenseman Brian Cosgrove (Brother Rice) – Did not see game action.

High Point 8, Providence 17

  • Freshman defenseman Luke Cappetto (Brother Rice) – Picked up two ground balls. Also committed one turnover and one penalty for 1:00.

Manhattan 9, Delaware 12

  • Sophomore midfielder Robert Carroll (Grosse Pointe South) – Did not see game action.

Manhattan 6, UMass Lowell 13

  • Sophomore midfielder Robert Carroll (Grosse Pointe South) – Won 0/5 faceoffs and caused one turnover.

Marquette 14, Robert Morris 7

  • Sophomore midfielder Bob Pelton (Forest Hills Northern) – Did not see game action.
  • Sophomore midfielder John Wagner (Cranbrook) – Started, scored two Goals on four Shots (two on goal), and added an Assist.

Michigan 13, Penn 12

  • Freshman midfielder Ryan Prior (Birmingham/Culver Academy) – Did not see game action.
  • Senior faceoff specialist Brian Archer (Brighton) – Did not see game action.

Mount St. Mary’s 18, Bellarmine 7

  • Freshman midfielder Keaton Mitchell (Clarkston) – Scored a Goal on his only Shot.

Notre Dame 10, Denver 11

  • Sophomore defenseman Michael Langdon (Cranbrook) – Did not see game action.
  • Senior midfielder Sergio Perkovic (Brother Rice) – Started, scored a Goal on two Shots (one on goal), and picked up two ground balls. Also committed two turnovers.

Penn 11, Navy 9
Penn 12, Michigan 13

  • Freshman midfielder Alex Minanov (Grosse Pointe Liggett) – Did not see game action.

Providence 17, High Poiont 8

  • Junior midfielder Josh Keller (East Grand Rapids/Kent School) – Started, took five Shots (four on goal), caused one turnover, and picked up one ground ball. Also committed one turnover.

Richmond 13, VMI 8

  • Senior attackman J.P. Forester (Brother Rice) – Scored a Goal on three Shots (two on goal), added an assist, and picked up two ground balls. Also committed one turnover.

Richmond 6, North Carolina 5

  • Senior attackman J.P. Forester (Brother Rice) – Recorded an Assists and took two Shots (neither on goal).

Robert Morris 7, Georgetown 12
Robert Morris 7, Marquette 14

  • Freshman long-stick midfielder James Scane (Brother Rice) – Did not see game action.

Stony Brook 4, Rutgers 17

  • Sophomore midfielder Nathan Richards (Lapeer West) – Did not see game action.

Syracuse 9, St. John’s 8

  • Freshman midfielder Nick Martin (Detroit Country Day) – Did not see game action.

UMass Lowell 13, Manhattan 6

  • Sophomore goalie Grant Lardieri (Forest Hills Northern) – Started and played 59:00, earning the victory. Allowed six goals and made nine saves (.600), and collected three ground balls.

Yale 11, UMass 9

  • Junior midfielder Jason Alessi (Brother Rice) – Took one Shot (not on goal) and caused one turnover. Also committed one turnover.
  • Senior midfielder John Lazarsfeld (Ann Arbor Greenhills) – Caused one turnover.

Yale 11, Fairfield 10

  • Junior midfielder Jason Alessi (Brother Rice) – Scored a Goal on his only Shot, added an Assist, and picked up one ground ball. Also committed one turnover.
  • Senior midfielder John Lazarsfeld (Ann Arbor Greenhills) – Took one Shot (not on goal), caused one turnover and picked up one ground ball.

If I’ve messed anything up, let me know in the comments, where you can also feel free to share statlines from other divisions.

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Detroit 6, Robert Morris 15

Robert Morris has not traditionally been a strong team, so getting blown out by the Colonials is not a good look (they aren’t particularly good this year either, for what it’s worth). A loss is pretty easily explainable, but to this degree was a major disappointment.

Tempo-Free

From the official box score, a look at the tempo-free stats:

Robert Morris 2017
Detroit Robert Morris
Faceoff Wins 14 Faceoff Wins 11
Clearing 16-20 Clearing 21-23
Possessions 36 Possessions 38
Goals 6 Goals 15
Offensive Efficiency .167 Offensive Efficiency .395

The Titans were about even in possession (despite being sloppy on the clear), but were dominated in both ends of the field otherwise. The offensive output was quite bad, the defensive effort was worse, and the reasons for each are related…

Notes

The primary reason for struggles on both ends of the field? Turnovers! That old UDM bugaboo reared its ugly head once more. Robert Morris forced the Titans into 12 turnovers and Detroit players committed 11 more on their own accord for 23 giveaways on 36 offensive possessions (63.9%). That’s no bueno. Sean Birney committed five turnovers, Alec Gilhooly four, Matthew Vangalen three, and both Seth Mendell and Adam Susalla had a pair. Those around the UDM program won’t say it – mostly in defense of the guys currently on the field – but they could really used Mark Anstead back.

How did that impact the defense? Six of Robert Morris’s 15 goals were scored within a minute of a Titan turnover (and four of those within ten seconds of the turnover, thanks to sudden-change situations that were effectively fast-breaks). When the offense is so sloppy with the ball, the defense is not only on its heels – and on the field, getting tired – the whole time, but there are situations in which it’s simply impossible for them to get a stop based on anything other than outstanding goalie play or sheer luck.

Speaking of goalie play, Jason Weber saved only .400 of shots on goal, one of the worst marks you’ll see him accomplish. There are obviously contributing factors (the aforementioned fast-break situations, RMU assists on 10 of 15 goals), but when he’s not stealing a game for UDM – as he wasn’t on this day – the team in front of him has to play much better to get wins.

It wan’t all bad for the offensive personnel. Vangalen had four assists to partially make up for those three turnovers, Donavon Dempsey had two goals and an assist (without turning the ball over at all), Patrick Walsh potted two goals, and Kyle Beauregard had a goal and an assist. The pieces are there for a good offense, but the limiting factor is so consistent across personnel, and so crippling, that UDM can’t overcome it regularly enough to be successful.

Alex Jarzembowski was the faceoff star in this one, winning 14 of 21 draws after Ben Gjokaj (0/3) got a quick hook. Nobody is consistent enough game-to-game to be confident in this faceoff unit, but there are enough good pieces there that things should always be at least OK except when facing the best faceoff teams on the schedule.

This was a game that was never really in doubt, for what it’s worth. The Titans found the back of the net first on an EMO strike, but Robert Morris spent the remainder of the first half (and much of the third quarter) responding, taking a 9-1 lead by the time UDM scored again. 13 of UDM’s 23 turnovers came in the first half, and the 14th was in the third quarterback before the Titans broke the dry spell.

Elsewhere

Detroit recap. Robert Morris recap. BoxscoreHighlights.

Up Next

Detroit went 1-1 in their annual trip to Milwaukee, with a mostly-expected win and a very-expected loss.

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Detroit preview: Air Force

Air Force is in the “”others receiving votes” category in the media poll, which… well, it’s probably out of the realm of likelihood for a Titans upset, especially on the road. However, there are some interesting mismatches to exploit.

Air Force

Air Force Falcons Lacrosse

Is the bird part of the lightning or being struck by it?

March 11, 2017, Noon MST
Colorado Springs, Colo.
Live stats. Video.
Detroit preview. Air Force preview.
@UDMLax. @AFLacrosse.

The Falcons

Air Force has a pretty interesting resume so far this year (“interesting” is a word which here means “mostly quite bad”). The Falcons started the year with a one-goal upset of Duke, but their only other wins are a close-ish defeat of Canisius and a blowout over new program Cleveland State.

Meanwhile, USAFA has lost to No. 5 Denver (hardly something to be ashamed of), and a pair of surprisingly-good teams in Marist and Boston University… whose resumes are primarily based upon their wins over Air Force. There’s jut not enough evidence at this point in the season to know how good the Falcons are.

Offense

Two Falcons stand above the rest as the keys to this offense: miniature (5-7, 175) junior attackman Chris Walsch has 12 goals and seven assists, while attack/mid Nick Hruby has 14 goals and four assists. Hruby has been playing mostly midfielder (at least that’s where he’s earning starts), but is versatile enough to line up in either spot. Junior attack Andrew Tien has seven goals and three assists to round out double-digit scorers so far this year.

In case you weren’t sure about this junior class, Grant Gould starts at midfield, and has scored eight goals without yet recording an assist. Marcus Ward, a senior (the first non-junior!) has seven goals without an assist from the midfield, as well. These midfielders – outside of Hruby, at least – are finishers first, foremost, and only.

The offense overall is not particularly notable, No. 31 in adjusted efficiency. There’s a bit of noise in those numbers – playing a huge standard deviation of opposition in one of the country’s worst (Cleveland State) and a couple good ones (Marist and Boston U) will make it tough to determine how they are against the middle of the pack – but they’re pretty good, not elite so far.

If UDM can slow down a couple of the key performers, the rest of the offense may have a tough time picking up the slack.

Defense

Senior Nick Accardi is the team’s leading GB-acquirer outside of faceoff specialists, with 19 on the year. Sophomore Brandon Jones and junior Sean LaVine get the majority of time alongside him. They form a decent unit, No. 17 nationally overall. It’s not particularly reliant on caused turnovers, either, with Air Force below-average nationally in that regard.

Sophomore LSM Christian Pung has six ground balls on the year – and no shots yet. Stephen Parker and Daniel Pagano also get a pretty fair amount of time. There’s rotation at this spot that is pretty interesting (with some filtering through the close D, as well). None of them have launched a shot yet.

Freshman Paxton Boyer has played just about every meaningful minute this year, but his numbers are bordering on terrible. He’s saving just .457 so far on the season, and has al six decisions of the 3-3 record. If you can put the ball on-cage (unfortunately a very well known shortcoming of the Titans), you can score on him.

Special teams

Air Force is just over .500 on faceoffs, with sophomore Trent Harper (.588) and junior Josh Radjenovich (.433) getting about equal time despite a pretty wide gap in their performances. Harper is very solid at collecting his own ground balls – which I take to be a sign of better faceoff play without any evidence to support it – and should get the majority of the time as long as he doesn’t struggle.

Air force is a pretty heavy riding team, with opponents making it into the offensive zone at just a .786 clip. Against a traditionally poor clearing team like Detroit – though to be fair, they’re performing much better this year – that could spell trouble (and more so on a day that should be in the low 50s temperature-wise).

Air Force and opponents have had plenty of EMO opportunities, and both are around .400 converting. Detroit is a pretty good man-up team, so if they get chances, they will be able to get some goals.

Overall

Air Force is a pretty good team, but one whose resume is basically built upon one win, with five games’ evidence os mediocrity in between. The problem is that Detroit hasn’t proven to be particularly good yet this year, and a team on the fringe of the rankings is a tall task.

Pulling the upset would really position the Titans well to make a run going into conference play. Given the results of the rest of the non-conference schedule, this one is more about getting ready for MAAC play than needing a win for RPI or other purposes.

Predictions

Air Force is a decent team, though one that has some serious flaws. However, UDM is probably at a lower level than that.

  • This Air Force offense has enough weapons that they should be able to get some easy looks on the Titans. With a scheme that sees half their goals assisted (a pretty good number), they should be able to beat Jason Weber based on open looks, rather than needing to bomb away. That’s a fit that should see them do well, despite the quality of UDM’s netminder.
  • Air Force has a chance to do pretty well on faceoffs, with the mercurial play of Ben Gjokaj (and to a lesser extent Alex Jastrzembski) an X-factor. The Titans have the pieces to be a good faceoff team, but relying on them to do it consistently is a fool’s errand.
  • I’m not sold on the quality of this Air Force defense. Especially given their weakness in goal, Detroit should have chances to put the ball in the back of the net. That, of course, requires pointing the ball toward the net, which has been a consistent problem for UDM.
  • The EMO battle should be pretty even, with the Titans getting a chance to equalize the game a bit by getting man-up goals.

Detroit seems to be playing quite a bit better in the past couple games than they did to start the year, but Air Force is a task that is on another level. In a true road game (halfway across the country), that’s a tough ask. Air Force takes the win, 15-9.

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Michigan preview: Penn

U-M flopped in its first opportunity to dispatch a bigtime opponent this year (16-5 at Notre Dame). While Penn isn’t on the same level, the Quakers are a ranked team nonetheless – and they visit the Big House today.

Penn

University of Pennsylvania Quakers lacrosse

Boring logo. Boo.

March 11, 2017, 1 p.m. EST
Michigan Stadium
Live stats. Video.
Michigan preview. Penn preview.
@UMichLacrosse. @UofMLaxManagers.
@pennmenslax.

The Quakers

Penn is 3-1 this year, with the lone loss by a single goal on the road against Penn State (a team ranked No. 3, despite consensus – including among those who do the rankings – that they are overrated). That strong start, along with the pre-season expectations, sees the Quakers come in a consensus No. 10 in the national rankings.

Wins over UVa and Navy (the former still ranked, latter receiving votes prior to the mid-week Penn victory) are pretty solid, and a blowout over fellow Philly squad St. Joseph’s gives the Ivy squad a much better early-season resume than Michigan, whose victims to date have just a handful of wins between them.

Offense

Sophomore attack Simon Mathias is Penn’s leading scorer so far, putting together a seven-goal, six-assist line so far for a very balanced output. He’s a bigger attackman, standing 6-2, 190 – not a mini dodger-feeder. The more classically sized attackman is fellow sophomore Tyler Dunn, a 5-11, 190-pounder whose statline reads more like a midfielder, with ten goals and just one assist. He’s your crease finisher. The third starter is another sophomore, Alex Roesner, who, like Dunn, is primarily a finisher with eight goals and nary an assist.

The Quakers have shuffled through starting lineups (and are listed with a very confusing five attackmen and one midfielder for the St. Joe’s game), with freshman Keyveat Postell also earning a couple starts in there. The No. 4 attackman certainly doesn’t add any experience to what is a pretty young front line. Postell has started at midfield in the games he was not in the starting attack, but his relatively pedestrian scoreline (two goals, one assist) indicates he’s not as big a threat as other players. He and Roesner rotate between which is on attack and which is playing midfield.

The other starting midfielders are junior Kevin McGeary, a bit of a feeder (on what is not a particularly assist-dependent offense) with two goals and four assists, and big junior Reilly Hupfeldt – six goals and two assists, and a pure midfielder though he’s listed as an attackman on the roster – who runs 6-2, 215. Joe Licciardi will also mix in, though he hasn’t been particularly productive yet.

The defensive corps will get in on the scoring, however, with LSM Connor Keating already potting four goals, at least one in each game except against PSU (he scored twice Wednesday against Navy). That’s something to watch, especially if Michigan manages to have its clear broken.

The advanced stats like this offense quite a bit, putting it among the nation’s top 15 or so, and the versatility in personnel really helps there.

Defense

Keating is also the team’s ground ball leader – as LSMs often are, especially those who play on the wing for faceoffs – but is not much of a threat to simply take the ball away.

That responsibility falls to the close defense, especially its unquestioned leader Kevin Gayhardt. The 6-6, 225-pound senior is tied with Keating for the team’s ground ball lead with 13, and has seven caused turnovers in just four games (albeit concentrated with three against Navy and four against Virginia). Fellow senior Eric Persky doesn’t have the size at 5-11, 200, but has started every game alongside Gayhardt. He has only three ground balls on the year, though. Kevin McDonough and Mike Mulqueen have split the starts at the third close defense position, with neither accomplishing much of anything – and each only boasting two ground balls on the year.

Reed Junkin has been the Quakers’ goalie for every second of gameplay in 2017. He has relatively pedestrian stats – a .542 save percentage and 9.50 goals against average despite playing for one of the slowest teams in the country – and adding that all up… sort of makes it confusing why the defensive efficiency looks pretty good (until you see what the pace means in a moment…)

Special teams

The Quakers are one of the slowest teams in the country (according to AnalyticsLacrosse, run by IL‘s Patrick McEwen), which, combined with their possession percentage, has to mean they have by far the fewest offensive possessions of any team in the country. Thanks to a pathetic .316 mark on faceoffs, and a clear that is only OK combined with a lack of desire to ride, they have just 46.7% of possessions on the year, or 115 opportunities in four games, fewer than 29 per contest.

That faceoff issue has been spread a bit across the roster – four different guys have taken at least two draws – with the top two options both performing very poorly. Chris Santangelo is the No. 1 guy, and his ability to turn faceoff wins into offense (two goals and two assists) is better than his ability to turn attempts into wins in the first place (.347 wins). Backup Jack Ulrich is barely clearing 20%.

The Quakers have a .887 clearing mark, which is fine, but they haven’t faced heavy-riding teams yet this year. They are also very much not a heavy-riding team themselves, forcing only five fails in four games so far.

The Quakers have played in relatively clean games so far this year (Michigan will be the most penalty-prone team they’ve played), with both their own EMO and opponents’ having trouble converting.

Overall

The record and the opponents defeated make Penn look pretty good, for the most part. Looking at the stats, though, it’s an absolute mystery how they’ve done it: they have a moderately-efficient offense and defense (in raw terms; the opponent-adjusted numbers are a bit better), and are terrible in the possession game. Obviously they’ve done it against a good slate, but this does look like a squad that’s poised to struggle in a game where they simply can’t get ahold of the ball.

Michigan is a good faceoff team, so can the Wolverines be the squad that upsets the rickety apple cart here? It’s possible, and would be a huge win for the program. The highest-ranked team to fall victim to U-M in the six years of existence would probably vault U-M comfortably into the rankings should they pull the upset. Even coming close against the Quakers would give the Maize and Blue a chance to be on the fringe of the rankings come Big Ten play.

Predictions

Penn is obviously a bit better than the raw numbers make them look, but this early in the year (especially for Ivy League teams, which start late and therefore have played fewer games than other notable ones), there’s a bit of noise in the opponent-adjustment of those numbers, too. There’s a vulnerability here.

  • Michigan should dominate possession in this game. A good faceoff team against a bad one is an obvious advantage, and Mike McDonnell should be able to exceed .667 at the dot. Michigan’s clear is the x-factor here. While Penn doesn’t ride, U-M has shown an ability to fail clears without much help from the opponent. Have a consistent day clearing, and the path to a huge advantage is obvious.
  • Penn’s offense, when they do get the ball into U-M territory, is going to be a problem. Michigan has a solid defense, but has let mediocre-to-poor teams tread water a bit too much lately. Against a potentially elite offense – and one with a lot of versatility in personnel, which Michigan hasn’t had to deal with much this year – there’s a chance it all falls apart. Tommy Heidt can equalize that, and will have to if U-M is to shut down the Quakers.
  • I’m not at all impressed with the Penn defense, even if the efficiency numbers are pretty good. UVa and Penn State hit double-digits despite a very slow pace of play out of the Quakers (Penn State is also pretty slow – so naturally those squads played a 64-possession game), and Navy was pretty close. Michigan isn’t in the realm of the Cavs or Nittany Lions, most likely, but not far off Navy. One good game – against a mediocre goalie, no less – could be a difference-maker in perception.
  • One of the keys for Michigan, therefore, will be avoiding turnovers. Penn forces TOs on .160 of opponents possessions, with .260 of other possessions resulting in an unforced turnover. Play smart ball, don’t give it away unforced, and this Penn team doesn’t stop you a whole lot. Unfortunately, I’ll believe Michigan can do that when I see it.
  • Penalties will also be an interesting data point. Michigan plays a pretty loose style of game, that results in them both going man-down (39 opponent attempts this year, 11 more than No. 2) and man-up (just above middle-of-the-pack nationally) a whole lot. If U-M gives Penn chances with the advantage, the Quakers may snap out of a 3/11 performance this year and hit around 50%. That could be the difference-maker.

It’s very tempting to pick the upset in this one: I don’t think Penn is particularly good, but Michigan isn’t necessarily the team to exploit that. It should be close, probably closer than the experts think (the LaxVegasLine is Penn -4), and the Wolverines will have a shot to steal it. However, they won’t, and Penn takes the 11-9 victory, the Quakers’ second by that scoreline in the past four days

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Detroit 12, Jacksonville 11

Jason Weber Detroit Titans Jacksonville Dolphins lacrosse

Jason Weber starred, as usual. (Photo via UDM Media Relations)

It took four tries, but Detroit finally got up off the mat and took home a victory in 2017. Will it help them turn the corner and finish the year strong?

Tempo-Free

From the official box score, a look at the tempo-free stats:

Jacksonville 2016
Jacksonville Detroit
Faceoff Wins 17 Faceoff Wins 9
Clearing 11-14 Clearing 18-20
Possessions 33 Possessions 32
Goals 11 Goals 12
Offensive Efficiency .333 Offensive Efficiency .375

UDM got abused on faceoffs, but mostly made up for it by playing solid defense and generating opportunities to clear on the basis of that defense. They forced Jacksonville into a sub-.800 clearing day, and that helped make the difference.

Notes

I’m so used to touting Jason Weber’s performances that I almost don’t know what to do when he has a pedestrian day. He allowed 11 goals and made 10 saves, a rare performance with worse than a .500 save percentage. The Dolphins didn’t even get that many shots off (or one-goal when they did fire), which means this game appears to be the rare performance that the defense in front of Weber, rather than Weber himself, led to the opponents’ inability to score.

That solid defense allowed Detroit to even up possession when the faceoff spot could have seen them get worked in overall opportunities with the ball. I’m at a loss for what to expect on a game-in, game-out basis from the Titans’ faceoff unit, which can be awesome at times, but then flop against poor competition (even with this domination, Jacksonville is at .475 on the year). Ben Gjokaj had a mediocre-minus 8/21 day, while the two backups combined to go 1/5. This appears to be a random number generator going forward.

Detroit’s starters were extremely solid offensively, despite a dearth of assists. Kyle Beauregard scored three goals, while Alec Gilhooly, Sean Birney, and Matthew Vangalen all had a pair (Vangalen also added an assist). Only one of those came on the man-up – and as expected, the EMO goal was assisted – meaning three of 11 even-strength goals were assisted. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but definitely tough to sustain without the top-end offensive talent that the national powers have.

The giveaway problem continued for Detroit, with 10 turnovers in just 32 possessions. The number itself isn’t particularly horrible, but when you look at the concentration of giveaways among key personnel (Sean Birney and Seth Mendell both had multiple – though sometimes that’s the blessing and the curse of being relied upon by your team), it’s still something the Titans can work on.

This was a back-and-forth affair in the second half, but UDM actually seemed to have the upper hand for much of the contest, with a couple runs by Jacksonville first keeping the Dolphins in the game, then making them a serious threat to steal it from the home team.

JU had a couple standout performances in possession terms, mostly thanks to their dominance on faceoffs (specialist Hunter Forbes had six ground balls while LSM Tommy Barnhorst had five). Offensively, all three attackmen were multi-point scorers.

Elsewhere

Detroit recap. Jacksonville recap. Boxscore. Photo gallery. Highlights.

Up Next

Detroit got smacked around by Robert Morris before getting back on the winning side of the ledger lat weekend… More to come.

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