Detroit 6, Bellarmine 7

Horseshoes, hand grenades, etc., etc. Even a close loss to reasonable competition is a step forward from where the Titans started the year, and in the MAAC, it’s all about the auto-bid anyway.

Tempo Free

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

Bellarmine 2016
Detroit Bellarmine
Faceoff Wins 6 Faceoff Wins 9
Clearing 20-24 Clearing 19-20
Possessions 31 Possessions 33
Goals 6 Goals 7
Offensive Efficiency .194 Offensive Efficiency .212

In a one-goal game, the slimmest of margins is always going to be important (even when it was a reasonably fast game that just featured some poor offense). That Bellarmine had a couple more opportunities with the ball could have been the difference… or maybe not.

Notes

 

This one was never out of hand for the Titans, with the largest Bellarmine margin three goals late in the first half and early in the second. On the other side of the ledger though, once the Knights took their first lead (at 2-1), Detroit was never once able to claw all the way back. It was a close game throughout, but was there ever a time that Bellarmine was really worried? Impossible to say

That “last possession” Detroit needed is kind of a killer… given that they went man-up for the final 47 seconds of the game. They lost the faceoff, but were able to force a turnover and successfully clear. However, they only had time for one shot (crushingly, Mark Anstead’s attempt beat the goalie but lost to the post), and though they got the rebound, couldn’t get another one off.

The teams had the same turnover numbers, with 19 committed, seven caused by the opposition. A stalemate in that department is actually a moderate improvement for Detroit over the recent course of the program, when they’ve been really turnover-prone (and are no longer causing tons of opposition turnovers themselves). Kyle Beauregard committed five, Mark Anstead three, and Andy Hebden two, and really only the first of those numbers is super-troublesome. That goalie Jason Weber committed a pair that immediately resulted in failed clears (basically by definition) is a bit, too. You’d like to at least be able to get it out of the goalie’s stick in that situation.

The offensive standouts were Anstead (2G, 3A), Alec Gilhooly and Sean Birney (1G, 1A apiece), but in a low-scoring game, you’re obviously not going to have huge numbers there.

Faceoffs continued to be an issue, though just a small one in this contest. With the benefit of knowing what happened over the next couple games, in fairness, I might be ready to say they’ve taken big steps forward in that department, even if a specialist hasn’t stepped forward to seize the job.

Elsewhere

Box score. Detroit recap. Bellarmine recap.

Up Next

UDM fell just short again to cap its weekend in Columbus, this time with a slightly greater margin, but against a much better team in Marquette. Recap to come.

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Michigan 12, Dartmouth 13

Michigan Wolverines lacrosse Brad Lott won 19/29 faceoffs

Brad Lott won 19/29 faceoffs

Recapping games a little bit out of order here because it was some LIVE COVERAGE yesterday:

Tempo Free

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

Dartmouth 2016
Dartmouth Michigan
Faceoff Wins 10 Faceoff Wins 19
Clearing 15-18 Clearing 16-19
Possessions 31 Possessions 41
Goals 13 Goals 12
Offensive Efficiency .419 Offensive Efficiency .293

Michigan dominated the possession game thanks to a faceoff advantage, didn’t have a terrible offensive performance – though it was far from stellar – and still lost the game. That’s thanks to some poor defense (especially early) and missed opportunities on the O.

Notes

 

Starting with probably the star of the show, faceoff specialist Brad Lott. He was singlehandedly responsible for the majority of Michigan’s possession advantage, and even though wing play wasn’t poor, he won the clamp on an even greater proportion of the faceoffs than the numbers would seem to indicate. Getting control, then popping it out to a 50/50 situation for the ground ball is not the ideal way for that to play out. There were negatives, though: on the rare occasion that he lost without a significant faceoff scrum, he was diving to make a check, and ended up giving a few fastbreak opportunities to Dartmouth. That included the penalty that ultimately led to Dartmouth’s extending the lead to 4-1, taking it from a relatively even game to one in which the Wolverines were chasing from behind the whole time.

“In practice, Brad has completely separated himself,” said coach John Paul. “We were pretty confident that we could have success today with their guy, and the style that he plays. He’s a really good athlete, he really scraps, and he really gets after ground balls, but we felt like we could control the draw. We did, and we especially did in crunch time, and that I was really happy to see.”

Kyle Jackson (3G, 2A) had a strong offensive performance, especially given the early-slide and double-team attention the Dartmouth defense was giving him. Their strategy paid off a few times – he had three turnovers, including the one that ultimately sealed the game with fewer than 20 seconds remaining – but that he was still able to put up the numbers he did speaks to his talent.

Michigan Wolverines lacrossePeter Kraus was an offensive standout

Peter Kraus was an offensive standout

Peter Kraus (3G, 1A) and Ian King (1G, 3A) weren’t far behind Jackson on the scoresheet, even though King left the game with an arm injury – on a dirty play (Dartmouth made a few of those) on which he was inexplicably called for a ward when being slashed facedown on the ground – in the fourth quarter. Unclear whether he’ll be available for the midweek game against Marist, though if U-M doesn’t need him, probably best to let him rest and get back to full strength.

“I think it was just a true team effort,” Kraus said. “Swinging the ball through X. It’s definitely nice when the offense is geared toward me, but good offense, we know how to play.”

The offense still wasn’t great – and missed opportunities due to sloppiness led to Dartmouth’s building an early lead. Both teams had eight possessions in the first quarter, but Michigan’s ended early due to the “pass before the assist” being just a little too high or otherwise off-target, and the Big Green going the other way. Meanwhile, Dartmouth had looooong offensive possessions that they converted into five goals to put Michigan in a really bad spot.

“We’re really tinkering right now with our offensive personnel,” Paul said. “We just haven’t – even in the games that we’ve been really successful offensively, where our efficiency is high and we’re scoring lots of goals – we haven’t felt like our offense is really running our offense. It’s been a focus. We’ve been toying with the people that we’ve had in there, and trying to simplify things to make it real easy to run. I think that’s what you were seeing, especially early, is that we’re still not quite sharp enough offensively. We’re not running the things we need to run the way we need to run them to be successful.”

That tinkering includes not only the pre-season move of Kyle Jackson going from midfield to attack, but also playing plenty of freshmen or position-switchers onto those first two midfields, as well. After a couple years when it seemed like there weren’t enough players on attack, suddenly Michigan is stacked there and weak on the attack. They need to find some balance to be successful.

Speaking of not successful, goalie Gerald Logan struggled in the first half (two saves, six goals allowed), but was much more solid coming out of the break (seven goals, seven saves). The defense needs to protect him a bit more – he was victimized on a few that he had no chance to save – but he’s still putting together a complete game.

For the opposition, five different players notched three points in a balanced offensive effort, including a hat trick from Cam Lee. Goalie Blair Friedensohn saved eight shots while allowing eight goals, and Dartmouth (unwisely, given the results) also played Joe Balaban before yanking him with four goals allowed and just a single save to re-insert Friedensohn in the fourth quarter.

When you give a team its first win of the year (when their losses already include Wagner), that’s a bad thing, IMO.

Photos

UM Dartmouth

Elsewhere

Box score. Michigan recap. Dartmouth recap. The Wolverine gamer. Michigan photo gallery.

Up Next

Marist comes to Ann Arbor Wednesday evening in a winnable contest.

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Michigan 10, Delaware 7

Until Saturday, Notre Dame was the top team in the country (and for good reason). This one probably could have been even uglier.

Tempo Free

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

Delaware 2016
Michigan Delaware
Faceoff Wins 10 Faceoff Wins 11
Clearing 17-17 Clearing 12-14
Possessions 29 Possessions 25
Goals 10 Goals 7
Offensive Efficiency .345 Offensive Efficiency .280

This one was pretty close in most respects. The Wolverines made up for a stalemate on faceoffs (which, fortunately, is a poor performance compared to the rest of their season thus far) by putting together a perfect clear, and riding Delaware into a couple mistakes. Then, the Maize and Blue were more efficient offensively, and that was the story of the game.

Notes

Third-quarter woes had been an issue for Michigan in a couple previous losses, so it’s only fair to point out when that frame is what wins the game for the Maize and Blue. The Wolverines exited the locker room looking at a one-goal deficit, but scored the first three goals of the third quarter to take control. Although Delaware did pull one back to get within a goal, a strong performance in the fourth sealed it. Everywhere other than the scoreboard, U-M had ground to make up at halftime, and though they didn’t even out shots (for example), theirs were much more effective than the Blue Hens’.

The other thing that jumps out about this one is that it was a sloppy, sloppy game from a penalty perspective. Michigan committed five, and Delaware four. Three of U-M’s were simple mental/discipline errors (an offside, a delay of game, and an unsportsmanlike conduct), and one of Delaware’s was, as well. Michigan, despite the slight deficit in penalties (including a 6-on-4 in the fourth quarter) didn’t give up an extra-man tally, while scoring two themselves.

Offensively, it wasn’t the Ian King show (as much as two points in a ten-goal offensive output can be a relatively quiet night), but his fellow starting attackmen went off. Peter Kraus had three goals and an assist, while Kyle Jackson scored five times. It’s fair to say the move to attack is working for him (and the offense as a whole). Backup attackman Decker Curran had two points, a goal and an assist on two separate man-up chances.

The Michigan offense has had a bit of an issue launching away without putting shots on goal (as much as you can assume that’s a problem in an era of the timer-on shot clock – possession shots serve a purpose of their own), but that wasn’t a problem in this one, to say the very least. 20 of 29 U-M shots were on cage, and while Delaware also put 20 on the net, it took them 37 overall shots to get there. More wasted opportunities.

The goalie play was a decider in this game, then. Gerald Logan had a nice .650, whereas Delaware’s Parker Ferrigan was right at .500 – and  couple that he did make were sort of lame attempts from Michigan dodgers. Realistic scoring attempts, he didn’t do so hot.

The rest of Michigan’s defense did their part, as well. Delaware committed 16 total turnovers, including 11 forced by the Wolverines. All three starting defensemen – Charlie Keady, Chris Walker, and Andrew Hatton – had a pair, while five other Wolverines forced one. The two failed clears – perhaps fewer than you might expect, given that Michigan went to ten-man ride quite a bit – played a major role in the victory, too.

After being up-and-down the past couple years (since the faceoff rules change, especially), Brad Lott is truly becoming comfortable at the dot. He won 9/16 draws – Mike McDonnell went 1/5 to give Delaware the advantage – and though some of that was simply good wing play (he didn’t pick up a single GB), this is a results-based charting service.

Elsewhere

Boxscore. Michigan recap. Delaware recap. Michigan photo gallery. Watch the whole thing, thanks to MaxLax OC.

Up Next

U-M had another nice, competitive win before crashing back to earth against the best team they’ve faced al year.

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Detroit 5, Notre Dame 14

Until Saturday, Notre Dame was the top team in the country (and for good reason). This one probably could have been even uglier.

Tempo Free

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

Notre Dame 2016
Detroit Notre Dame
Faceoff Wins 7 Faceoff Wins 15
Clearing 12-20 Clearing 18-18
Possessions 27 Possessions 41
Goals 5 Goals 14
Offensive Efficiency .185 Offensive Efficiency .341

The gap in efficiency wasn’t huge – though it was indeed sizeable – but the possession margin was huge. UDM couldn’t clear and couldn’t win faceoffs. Unless you’re going to crush it in effiency (as opposed to, say, almost getting doubled up there), that’s not a recipe for success.

Notes

Starting where the game does: on faceoffs. Freshman Mike Sforza was the best of Detroit’s options, but even that resulted in a 6/17 (.353) performance. He had only one ground ball, so wing play played a role in his (relative) success. However, Notre Dame is a good faceoff team, and it’s very clear that Detroit will not be this year.

The Titans’ clear was terrible (among the 23 turnovers Detroit committed), giving the Irish their large possession advantage. If I had some sort of effective offensive efficiency metric – not including failed clears as possessions – the disparity would have been even bigger.

In reality, all of this game could have been much uglier. The Irish had almost as many shots in the first quarter as Detroit did all game. The score was 12-2 after three quarters, and Notre Dame let up a bit in the fourth (Detroit had a 3-2 advantage in that quarter on the scoreboard), including several personnel changes like a goalie switch.

The Detroit extra-man had three opportunities, and scored on one of them, not up to the last couple years’ standards, but a sign of hope. The issue? On the other side of the special teams, Notre Dame was perfect on its two attempts. If Detroit is going to have a hard time scoring even-strength and instead rely on the EMO, they’d better be able to shut it down when the opposition – especially a team that doesn’t need the advantage to score – has the same chance.

UDM assisted on three of five goals, including the man-up score, and despite a meager showing on the scoreboard, had three multi-point scorers. Mike Anstead, Sean Birney, and Alec Gilhooly all had an assist to go along with a goal (Andy Hebden and Mike Spuller had a goal each).

It hasn’t been easy sailing for Jason Weber so far this season, and he faced 28 shots, letting in half of them. It’s hard to blame him too much against a team like Notre Dame – who clearly outclasses UDM up and down the roster – but it’s clear that the NCAA’s save percentage crown will not be on his mantle this year.

Elsewhere

Boxscore. Detroit recap. Notre Dame recap. ND highlights.

Up Next

Things went quite a bit better – though still no wins – the following weekend in a Columbus double-dip.

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Detroit 8, Mercer 9

When you go down 5-0, you are not going to win a lot of games – even against teams that are probably pretty bad. Detroit mounted a furious comeback, but it wasn’t enough on the road in Georgia.

Tempo Free

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

Mercer 2016
Detroit Mercer
Faceoff Wins 9 Faceoff Wins 10
Clearing 12-15 Clearing 18-18
Possessions 24 Possessions 31
Goals 8 Goals 9
Offensive Efficiency .333 Offensive Efficiency .290

The advanced stats are going to be close when the score is just a one-goal margin. Detroit was slightly more efficient, but Mercer had a healthy advantage in possession.

Notes

The game started very poorly. By the end of the first quarter, Mercer had a 4-0 advantage on the scoreboard, 12-4 in possession (and two of those Titan possessions were failed clears). Detroit committed 17 turnovers all game, seven of them in the first quarter. By the time UDM netted their first goal – Mercer notched one in the second before UDM scored, as well – six different Bears found their way into the point column (a pair of them with both a goal and an assist).

That said, the way the rest of the game turned out was about what you would have expected from this one: relatively even, slight edge to the Titans. A furious rally shouldn’t have to come off against one of Division-1’s bottom-feeders, but almost getting there is certainly preferable to simply folding in the face of adversity.

Once the team settled in, there were some nice offensive performances. Alec Gilhooly recorded a hat trick and added an assist, Andy Hebden had two goals and an assist, Kyle Beauregard had two goals, and Sean Birney had a pair of assists. Five of the eight Titan goals – including both on the man-up – were assisted.

On the other hand, turnovers are bad (#hotsportstake). Detroit had 17, only four of them forced by the Bears. That includes three failed clears (two in the first quarter), and made a difference on the scoreboard. If you’re giving away possessions, you’d best be making up the gap elsewhere, and Detroit wasn’t able to do that.

Jason Weber had seven saves while allowing nine goals, and though that’s far from a terrible performance, if that’s the output against Mercer, I think it’s likely that last year’s NCAA-leading save percentage is not a feat to be repeated. Only three of the Bears’ goals were assisted (and five of them were scored by midfielders), so it’s not necessarily like his defense hung him out to dry too much.

Faceoffs might be an adventure for Detroit this year. Three different Titans took a draw, with freshman Mike Sforza bearing the brunt of the work and performing the best to the tune of 7/13. Maybe he’s the answer, and begins to see more time (though with just two GBs, it could be a sample size issue with wing play being the difference, to a degree – Mercer’s lone specialist Will Beacham only picked up two GBs on his 10 wins).

Paul Bitetti forced two turnovers for the Titans, but the team as a whole caused only five. The old days of a dangerous-but-maybe-reckless defense appear to be in the rearview.

Elsewhere

Boxscore. Detroit recap. Mercer recap.

Up Next

Tomorrow’s the big one. Michigan at Detroit in Pontiac.

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Michigan 10, Penn 12

As alluded to in previous posts, Michigan’s third-quarter struggles were a significant issue – perhaps the significant issue in this one. An otherwise even game saw the halftime break do in the Maize and Blue.

Tempo Free

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

Penn 2016
Michigan Penn
Faceoff Wins 14 Faceoff Wins 11
Clearing 13-14 Clearing 11-11
Possessions 28 Possessions 23
Goals 10 Goals 12
Offensive Efficiency .357 Offensive Efficiency .522

I’m unsure if this is how it really played out or if the Penn sports info folks are really stingy when it comes to starting a clear, but this was a really slow game. Only 51 total possessions, and both teams had great offensive performances (even more so for the Quakers than U-M).

Notes

 

The teams were tied at halftime, and the third quarter actually looks relatively even in a lot of stats. Michigan won the faceoff battle, and wasn’t crushed on clears either, making for an 8-7 Penn advantage in possession. Both teams launched 10 shots. The difference is in shot quality. Gerald Logan made three saves and Penn scored six goals, meaning nine of the 10 Quaker shots were on the frame. Michigan didn’t score and forced only four saves, meaning six of their 10 shots weren’t on cage. Michigan lost the quarter 6-0, and when the final margin is just two goals, there’s your Quaker victory.

Volume shooting, then, was at least something of a problem for Michigan. It hasn’t been a persistent issue over time, so it’s not one to worry about long-term, but 17 shots were off the cage. Ian King (who, it must be noted, is generally the best offensive player for Michigan) launched 14, only five of them on goal. Without paying the 14 bucks to watch the game – talk about Ivy League price inflation – I can only assume some of those were to stave off the shot clock (Michigan wasn’t hit with the timer once, per the box score), but you’d like to see more effective shooting.

Tough to criticize too much about the offense in a game where the offensive efficiency was above .350, but U-M did only assist on three of 10 goals. It’s apparent things weren’t quite as smooth execution-wise as desired.

The defense struggled, on the other hand. Allowing Penn to score on more than half their offensive possessions is not good, Bob. Yes, a slow game, but only 10 Quaker turnovers, and only four forced by the defense, is weak. Gerald Logan saved 10 shots while allowing 12 goals, so either he was very off his game, or a conservative plan by the coaches didn’t succeed in making things easier on him. Probably both. Penn assisted on six of their 12 tallies.

Ian King (despite the volume shooting noted above) was the offensive standout, with three goals and two assists – when he was on-target, he was getting it past the keeper more often than not. Kyle Jackson had a hat trick and Peter Kraus – who came off the bench, replaced on the starting attack by Andrew Roswell – had two goals of his own.

Brad Lott had yet another good game on faceoffs, taking every draw for Michigan and winning 56%. Penn wasn’t a good faceoff team last year, but you take signs of improvement and run with them. When the competition gets tougher, the results may be uglier, but for now, so far so good.

On the other side, Penn spread the love offensively, with six multi-point scorers. Pat Berkery (1G 2A) and Connor Keating (2G, 1A) had three apiece.

Two man-down goals for Penn (and one on the man-up for Michigan). Tough to win when the special teams have that type of letdown.

Elsewhere

Boxscore. U-M recap. Penn recap.

Up Next

Tomorrow’s the big one. Michigan at Detroit in Pontiac.

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Michigan 9, Colgate 8

This was a big win for Michigan – arguably one of the best in the short varsity era. There are caveats – they always seem to play better in Oosterbaan Fieldhous than anywhere else, for example, but a win is a win, yeah?

Tempo Free

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

Colgate 2016
Colgate Michigan
Faceoff Wins 7 Faceoff Wins 12
Clearing 12-16 Clearing 15-21
Possessions 29 Possessions 37
Goals 8 Goals 9
Offensive Efficiency .276 Offensive Efficiency .243

Michigan won the possession game handily (despite a poor clearing game), and it ultimately was the difference in this one. Colgate was quite a bit more efficient – though neither team was particularly good – but dominance on faceoffs and just enough on the ride won them the game.

Notes

So, about Oosterbaan Fieldhouse. Usually Michigan has a ride/clear advantage (thanks to comfort playing against the white ceiling and walls) when playing in the facility, and they did ride pretty well. However, they were poor clearing themselves, which is uncharacteristic inside. If U-M had cleared at a rate that would make the coaches happier, this could have been a blowout.

…that also would have made the offensive efficiency a bit rosier – for both teams. Ten combined failed clears in a 66-possession game accounts for .152 of the lost offensive opportunity. Of course, it led to offense in the other direction as well, so the what-if game (especially since it, you know, happened) isn’t fair here.

Michigan won the first quarter handily. A 4-1 advantage on the scoreboard thanks to a 5-1 faceoff advantage, 7-2 in total ground balls, and DESPITE Michigan failing three clears in the frame is impressive. After that point, things really leveled off (after halftime, it was tilted in Colgate’s favor). The one stat that truly went the Raiders’ way in the first quarter was shots, but Michigan shot more accurately, and Gerald Logan did his part to allow just the lone goal.

Speaking of Logan, a great bounce back for him after a tough one against North Carolina. He made 15 saves while allowing eight goals (which earned him conference specialist of the week honors). Three of Colgate’s eight were assisted.

Chase Brown was the conference defensive player of the week, thanks to three caused turnovers and five ground balls (he added a goal, to boot). Stefan Bergman had three ground balls while causing two turnovers, and Andrew Hatton had two to round out a nice defensive effort. The team caused 13 total turnovers – and Colgate made just three unforced.

On offense, surprise surprise, Kyle Jackson and Ian King led the way, along with midfielder Mikie Schlosser. Jackson had four goals and Schlosser had two, while King added a pair of assists. Roles are becoming a little more defined at this point, with Jackson primarily a finisher, King the primary ball-carrying attackman (whether it’s feeding, as in this game, or ultimately shooting, as will be the case in the next recap), and the midfielders playing a bit more of a classic support/shooting role in the offense than we’ve seen in the past when Jackson (when he was at Mid) and Mike Harnandez doing a lot of the creating.

Brad Lott had a fantastic game on faceoffs, winning 12 of 17 draws (Mike McDonnell lost both of his attempts). He picked up five of the ground balls himself, which is a positive sign. When the rules changed a couple years back, he struggled at times when he couldn’t lock the ball into the back of the stick, and he’s adapted his game to be better at scooping without that in his arsenal.

Michigan again lost the third quarter. The difference was slight on the scoreboard (2-1), but Colgate launched 13 shots in the frame to just four for Michigan, had an extra-man opportunity, and was stymied only by Logan and shooting inaccuracy. In a win, you take it, but the Wolverines have to tighten up coming out of halftime.

Elsewhere

BoxscorePhotos. U-M recap. Colgate recap. Two conference players of the week for the Maize and Blue.

Up Next

Will getting beaten up in the third quarter cost Michigan at Penn? #staytuned

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