The Next Level: Michigan natives playing Division-1 lacrosse in 2015

Updated 1/19: Added Keaton Mitchell at Mount St. Mary’s. Let me know if there’s anyone else I’ve overlooked. Numbers at the bottom updated accordingly.

Our annual look at Michigan natives who are playing college lacrosse at division-1 institutions this spring. From schools’ official rosters:

Bellarmine

  • Senior attackman/midfielder Graham Macko (Brother Rice)
  • Freshman attackman Morgan Macko (Brother Rice)

Binghamton

  • Junior midfielder Liam Reaume (Brother Rice)

Canisius

  • Sophomore defenseman Logan Monroe (Holt)
  • Junior midfielder Keith Pravato (Novi)
  • Senior faceoff specialist Steve Wizniuk (De La Salle)

Cleveland State

  • Freshman defenseman Levi Peterson (Holt)
  • Freshman defenseman Garrett White (Ann Arbor Pioneer)

Colgate

  • Freshman attackman Cooper Belanger (Detroit Country Day)

Detroit

  • Senior attackman Kyle Beauregard (Notre Dame Prep)
  • Junior midfielder Sean Birney (Detroit Catholic Central)
  • Freshman defenseman Nick Boynton (Troy Athens)
  • Junior midfielder Adam Findlay (Detroit Catholic Central)
  • Junior attackman Alec Gilhooly (Detroit Catholic Central)
  • Senior faceoff specialist Benjamin Gjokaj (Walled Lake Northern)
  • Sophomore midfielder Emmett Green (Birmingham Seaholm)
  • Freshman attackman/midfielder Blake Grewal-Turner (Okemos)
  • Freshman defenseman Jack Harrop (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s)
  • Junior midfielder Charlie Hayes (Utica Eisenhower)
  • Senior midfielder JD Hess (Birmingham Seaholm)
  • Sophomore defenseman Sam Horton (Okemos)
  • Freshman midfielder Alex Jarzembowski (Detroit Catholic Central)
  • Junior midfielder Brent Lubin (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s)
  • Junior midfielder Connor Maks (UD-Jesuit)
  • Senior midfielder Greg Marzec (Brother Rice)
  • Junior defenseman Bryan Matney (Ann Arbor Pioneer)
  • Freshman midfielder Jackson McElhenney (Birmingham Seaholm)
  • Sophomore midfielder Bo Pickens (Brother Rice)
  • Sophomore defenseman Austin Ross (Warren Mott)
  • Freshman midfielder Charlie Schiefer (Birmingham Seaholm)
  • Freshman goalie Logan Shamblin (Troy)
  • Freshman defenseman Travis Sparling (Novi)
  • Junior attackman/midfielder Adam Susalla (Birmingham Seaholm)

Drexel

  • Freshman faceoff specialist Ian Foster (East Lansing/IMG Academy)

Duke

  • Junior midfielder Matthew Giampetroni (Cranbrook)

Fairfield

  • Freshman defenseman Brian Cosgrove (Brother Rice)

High Point

  • Freshman defenseman Luke Cappetto (Brother Rice)

Manhattan

  • Sophomore midfielder Robert Carroll (Grosse Pointe South)

Marquette

  • Sophomore midfielder Bob Pelton (Forest Hills Northern)
  • Sophomore midfielder John Wagner (Cranbrook)

Michigan

  • Freshman midfielder Ryan Prior (Birmingham/Culver Academy)
  • Senior faceoff specialist Brian Archer (Brighton)

Mount St. Mary’s

  • Freshman midfielder Keaton Mitchell (Clarkston)

Notre Dame

  • Sophomore defenseman Michael Langdon (Cranbrook)
  • Senior midfielder Sergio Perkovic (Brother Rice)

Penn

  • Freshman midfielder Alex Minanov (Grosse Pointe Liggett)

Providence

  • Junior midfielder Josh Keller (East Grand Rapids/Kent School)

Richmond

  • Senior attackman J.P. Forester (Brother Rice)

Robert Morris

  • Freshman long-stick midfielder James Scane (Brother Rice)

Stony Brook

  • Sophomore midfielder Nathan Richards (Lapeer West)

Syracuse

  • Freshman midfielder Nick Martin (Detroit Country Day)

UMass Lowell

  • Sophomore goalie Grant Lardieri (Forest Hills Northern)

Yale

  • Junior midfielder Jason Alessi (Brother Rice)
  • Senior midfielder John Lazarsfeld (Ann Arbor Greenhills)

That’s 54 players at 23 schools, an improvement over last year’s 48 players at 16 different schools (adding new program Cleveland State, Colgate, Drexel, Fairfield, High Point, Penn, Robert Morris, and Stony Brook, while losing Rutgers and NJIT). Detroit accounts for 24 of this year’s players (44.4%), a slight decrease from 25 (52.1%) last year. An improvement in geographic diversity all around, even if it may come at the Titans’ expense.

As always, there’s a chance I’ve missed somebody – I’m particularly prone to doing it when a player went out of state for high school or came to Michigan from out of state for high school – so let me know in the comments if anyone is missing.

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Former GLS standouts in the pros

Two former Detroit Titans were selected in the MLL Supplemental Draft this afternoon:

DETROIT (12/14/2016) — Two Titans who helped the University of Detroit Mercy men’s lacrosse team capture a MAAC Championship and set a school record for wins will now have an opportunity to continue their careers professionally as Mike Birney (Plymouth, Mich. / Catholic Central) and Paul Bitetti (Plainview, N.Y. / Bethpage) were both chosen in Major League Lacrosse’s Supplemental Draft on Wednesday.

Birney was selected in the 11th round, 98th overall, by the Ohio Machine, while Bitetti was tabbed in the 13th round, 109th overall, by the Atlanta Blaze.

They are now the fourth and fifth players, respectively, to be drafted professionally joining Shayne Adams (second round, 21st overall, in 2015 by NLL’s Vancouver Stealth), Joel Matthews (fourth round, 31st overall, in 2012 by the NLL’s Buffalo Bandits) and Jordan Houtby (fourth round, 29th overall, in 2013 by the NLL’s Minnesota Swarm).

Birney provided one of the biggest highlights in Detroit Mercy history with his overtime goal to win the MAAC Championship in 2013. He was selected Second Team All-MAAC as a sophomore, junior and senior. In 2014, he was tied for second on the team with 18 goals and six were with the man-up, helping the Titan extra-man attack set a NCAA record in man-up offense efficiency (.586).

As a sophomore in 2013, he was the MAAC’s Most Outstanding Player in the conference championship after scoring eight goals in the event, including the game winners against Marist and Siena. He finished his career third in school history with 16 man-up goals, fourth in total goals (63) and hat tricks (8), fifth in points (89), and tied for seventh in assists (26).

Bitetti was one of the best defensemen in the MAAC during his four years and was selected All-MAAC First Team three times. He led the team with 17 caused turnovers and was fourth in the MAAC posting 1.42 caused turnovers per game as a senior in 2016. As a sophomore in 2014, he topped the squad with a career-high 24 caused turnovers and ended the season 12th in Division I and leading the MAAC with 1.85 caused turnovers per game.

A two-time team captain, he ended his career appearing in 52 games and tallying 55 ground balls and 59 caused turnovers, fourth in school history.

The duo helped the Titans reach the NCAA Tournament in 2013 after winning the MAAC as a four seed and upsetting top-seeded Marist in the semifinals and perennial MAAC powerhouse Siena in the title game. The pair was also a part of the program that defeated Ohio State in 2015 en route to a school-record eight victories.

Both players also earned the Academic Excellence Award, given to Titan student-athletes who achieved academic excellence during their time at Detroit Mercy recording at least a 3.0 GPA for every semester that they participated in college athletics. They were also four-time members of the MAAC Academic Honor Roll and the MAAC All-Academic Team.

Meanwhile, Michigan’s Kyle Jackson, who was selected in the initial entry draft, will stick with the Boston Cannons for the time being:

This has been your regularly-scheduled semi-annual post*

*Only sort of kidding.

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Michigan Lacrosse Officials Association training

A growing game needs a growing pool of officials. If you’re interested (or know somebody interested) in becoming one, it’s your time to shine. The MichLOA is holding a class soon, with registration available:

There is a new official’s training class being offered by Michigan Lacrosse Officials Association (“MichLOA”). We are currently recruiting new officials for the 2017 boys lacrosse season.

The class will be held on Saturday September 17th at Birmingham Seaholm HS (room C103). The class starts at 8:30 and will run until 1:00. Please arrive early.

In order to officiate youth or high school games you must complete new officials training!

You need to formally register and pay for the training class. To do so, go to www.michloa.org. There is a PayPal registration and payment likely under the new officials tab. Your $50 fee also includes your first years MichLOA dues.

It will also behoove you to register with US Lacrosse as a boy’s official as soon as possible. Go to www.uslacrosse.org to register.

Growth of the game in the state is one of the big missions around here, so get ready to help meet that end of you’re willing and able.

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2016 US Lacrosse All-Americans

List from the MHSLCA release, college commitments from the LaxPower database.

Cooper Belanger 2016 Attack Detroit Country Day School Colgate
Morgan Macko* 2016 Attack Birmingham Brother Rice Bellarmine
Riley North 2016 Attack Birmingham Brother Rice
Matt Solberg 2016 Attack East Grand Rapids Amherst
Michael Baccanari 2016 Midfielder University of Detroit Jesuit High School
Evan Dennis 2016 Midfielder Birmingham Brother Rice
Alex Jarzembowski 2016 Midfielder Detroit Catholic Central Detroit
Brian Cosgrove 2016 LSM Birmingham Brother Rice Fairfield
Jonathan Boos, Jr. 2016 Defense Detroit Country Day School Middlebury
Luke Cappetto 2016 Defense Birmingham Brother Rice
Andrew Clay 2016 Defense Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central
Matt Dolan 2016 Defense Detroit Country Day School
Ian Genord 2016 Defense Notre Dame Prep Indianapolis
Jack O’Hara 2016 Defense Birmingham Brother Rice
Ross Reason 2016 Goalie Birmingham Brother Rice
Jackson White 2016 Goalie Detroit Country Day School
Hub Hejna 2017 Attack East Grand Rapids
Jack Kelly 2017 Midfielder Birmingham Brother Rice
Patrick English 2018 Midfielder Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central Marquette
Bryce Clay 2018 Attack Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central

* Mr. Lacrosse.

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Michigan Lacrosse Hall of Fame 2016 inductees

From US Lacrosse – Michigan Chapter press release:

The US Lacrosse Michigan Chapter Is pleased to announce the 2016 class of the  Michigan Lacrosse Hall of Fame. These three individuals proved themselves to be some of the best Lacrosse players to come from our state.  Beyond that they have given back to the game. For their prowess on the field and their generosity off, we are proud to induct them into the Michigan Lacrosse Hall of Fame.  Their induction will be celebrated on January 14th, 2017. Please save the date for further details.

Nick Shevillo – Player

Nick started his lacrosse career in 6th grade at St Hugo’s in Bloomfield Hills. From there, he went on the play at Brother Rice High School where he was a 3-time varsity letterman and received: All-State honors all three years and All-Midwest honors his junior and senior years. His career at Brother Rice included: two state championships (1986 -first state championship for Brother Rice and 1988), and a Midwest championship in 1987.  He was also elected captain in his senior year. After high school, Nick distinguished himself at Johns Hopkins University where he was a 4-year letterman.  .

During his collegiate career, he was a 3-year starter, selected a team captain in his senior year, helped take Hopkins to the Final Four in 1992, and received All-American honors for his outstanding season. After his playing career, Nick went on to coach youth and high school lacrosse at various levels until his last coaching position as an assistance coach for Naples High School for 6 years.

Michigan Lacrosse is honored to name Nick Shevillo as one of this year’s distinguished inductees into the Michigan Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

Alison Ambrozy – Player

Alison is one of the best women’s players Michigan has ever produced. She was a 4-year letter winner for Grosse Pointe South from 2001-2004. GPS went to the Michigan State Finals from 2002-2004, winning the championships in 2003 and 2004. She achieved All-State 3 years, MVP of the state tournament in 2003, All-American in 2004 and Academic All-American 2003 and 2004.

A walk-on to the University of Pennsylvania’s lacrosse program, she earned a starting position as a freshman and soon became a part of the resurgence of Penn Lacrosse; taking them to the Final Four in 2007 and the Championship game in 2008. A captain of Penn’s 2008 team, one personal highlight for Alison was scoring a hat trick in Penn’s win over Northwestern that year, breaking their 36-game winning streak. Her personal accolades include: Ivy League Offensive Player of the week, first team all-region, and 2nd team All-Ivy.

After graduating, Alison has given back by coaching lacrosse for BearLax for 4 years and helping to start the first Women’s team for the renowned Olympic Club in San Francisco. For the past 3 seasons, Alison has coached for the Oakland Lacrosse Club in California, a group that uses lacrosse to help Inner-city youths reach their full potential.

US Lacrosse Michigan is proud to honor and recognize Alison Ambrozy for her achievements on the lacrosse field and efforts off the field.

Paul Cosgrove – Player

Paul Cosgrove (Coz) is heralded as one of the best long poles to come out of Michigan. A Brother Rice player, his accomplishments included: the 1987 Midwest Championship, the 1988 State of Michigan Championship, All-State Honors in 1987 and 1988, and All-Midwest Honors in 1988. Following high school, Paul played at Michigan State in 1989 where he was honored with Outstanding Rookie of the Year. Transferring to Ohio Wesleyan, he helped OWU get to the National Championship game in 1993. That year he was named a collegiate All-American and was selected to play in the prestigious North/South All-Star game.

Following college, Paul played for Team Under Amour at the Vail Shootout for ten years and most notably, Team Michigan, when they gave Team USA the best game of the year in the summer of 1994. He has given back to the game by coaching in Michigan for high school and youth teams for many years. He was an assistant coach for the 1999 D1 State Champs, Detroit Country Day, and the 2006 D2 State Champs, Cranbrook. He is the player and now the coach who helped define the statement, “defense wins championships.”

US Lacrosse – Michigan is pleased to honor Paul Cosgrove for his stellar playing career and continued support of the game and welcome him into the Michigan Hall of Fame.

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Requiem for a Season: Michigan Wolverines 2016

The Maize and Blue may want to forget they watched a lot of the 2016 season.

The Maize and Blue may want to forget they watched a lot of the 2016 season. (Photo by Tim Sullivan/Great Lax State)

After what had looked like steady progress through the first four years of the program – 1-13 records in the first two years, then 5-11 in 2014, 5-8 (with the program’s first conference win) in 2015 – this spring was a 3-10 dud for the Maize and Blue. Climbing from No. 58 to 54 to 49 to 43 in the LaxPower computer rankings, they slid back to No. 48 this season.

Some of this is certainly explicable. They likely didn’t suffer more injuries than other teams, but in terms of key injuries, the program’s two all-time leading scorers missing a handful of games at the same time (and a few on either side without one or the other), along with a three-year starter on defense missing the entire year is about as bad as it gets. Some of it is less explicable: giving a terrible Dartmouth team its only win of the season and falling to the MAAC’s second-place team (Marist) in back-to-back home games leaves a sour taste in the mouth. If the Wolverines simply take care of business in those two, the amount that this season leaves a bad taste in the mouth is reduced in a major way.

So, how much is one-year hiccup and how much is the program reaching a bit of a plateau early in its existence? The obvious, reasonable answer is that the majority is the former (don’t tell the message boarders that, of course), but the coaching staff has some serious answers to find for 2017, as well.

Here’s the statistical profile for the season:

Michigan Wolverines 2016
Michigan Opponents
Faceoff Wins 178 Faceoff Wins 156
Clearing 197-232 Clearing 197-228
Possessions 441 Possessions 419
Goals 122 Goals 166
Offensive Efficiency .277 Offensive Efficiency .396

Thanks almost entirely to faceoff specialist Brad Lott, Michigan had a slight advantage in the possession game on the year (clears were almost dead even). However, while the offense was decent, the defense was simply bad, thus the Wolverines didn’t have a great year.

What Went Well

Unfortunately, a lot of things in this section are going to be in the departing category, including Lott. He struggled a couple years ago when the faceoff rules changed, but was outstanding in this, his final year in the winged helmet.

Moving Kyle Jackson to attack, where his skillset seems a bit more natural, and where he could share a line with Ian King (on the rare occasion both were healthy) worked very well. The U-M offense was particularly good when that duo was able to see the field together, and though it struggled at other times, we got a glimpse of what can be when Michigan has not just a good starting lineup, but full depth to overcome some of those losses.

After a few years of playing a very conservative defense style (which didn’t go particularly well), Michigan played a relatively aggressive scheme this year (which, to be fair, went worse). That had its downsides, no doubt, but did result in a fair number of caused turnovers defensively. I would assume that the shift was in part due to playing lots of youth on defense (juniors Stefan Bergman and Andrew Hatton were out for significant stretched, senior Chris Walker missed a pair of games, where it’s easier to say “go get it” than to have them mentally executing your best schemes on an every-trip basis. Being able to do both in the future will be a boost.

In that regard, the amount of playing time for youngsters in general was something that helps going forward. It could probably fit into any of the three headings in this post though, since it certainly stunk for the outcome of the 2016 season, but portends bright things for the future.

Room For Improvement

The defense was straight-up bad. As mentioned above, there are some reasons for this – you don’t expect to have to use freshman starters for 12 of 39 (Michigan lists four starting positions with the LSM not considered a starter, 13 games) possible openings, for one thing – but at a certain point, you have to find a way to cope with it, even if the depth and talent in the program isn’t what outsiders want to expect out of a fifth-year program – it’s closer to a second- or third-year group, thanks to the club transition.

The Wolverines hung goalie Gerald Logan out to dry quite a bit, with early (or extremely late) slides resulting in the majority – .572 – of opponent scores being assisted. He’s a better keeper than his career-low .509 save percentage would have you think, and the players in front of him need to be better. Youth movement, etc., etc., but wasting a talent like him between the pipes is bad either way.

Offensively, Michigan wasn’t a poor team this year, but they do have one are in which they can take things to the next level: taking care of the ball. They turned it over 185 times on the year (.420), well over their number of goals, whereas opponents saw exactly the same number of offensive opportunities end in a goal as in a turnover. Reducing the number of possessions that are simply wasted goes a long way to straightening things out. Unfortunately some of Michigan’s best returning players (Ian King, Mikie Schlosser, Decker Curran) were responsible for a big portion of that turnover mark – though, to be fair, that’s because they’re expected to do a lot of the ball-handling – so individual improvement will be the key to taking that next step.

The biggest thing that jumps out as room for improvement is a little less concrete and stats-based than those immediately above, but it’s the difference between a letdown year and continuing slow, steady progress: taking care of business in games that should be won. U-M played one of the toughest schedules in the country (three of four final four teams, including both finalists), but there were chances in there to get some wins, and too many of those chances fell by the wayside. A team that wants to go where Michigan wants to go shouldn’t drop back-to-back home games against Dartmouth and Marist: it should win both. They should be able to steal one themselves against Ohio State (a three-goal loss), Penn (a two-goal loss), and Maryland (a one-goal loss – and what could have been a signature moment over the eventual national runner-up). Add in that a potential win against Detroit was canceled due to weather, and this season should have looked better than it did.

The Distant Future

Fortunately for Michigan, even a relatively trying season can be seen as growing pains. The number of freshman contributors (in addition to the defenders mentioned above, 18 other man-games were started by freshmen) was crappy for the outcome of the 2016 season, but should pay dividends in 2017 and beyond. So too should those close losses, even those that came against opponents where “close loss” might as well be “didn’t show up.”

The Wolverines’ roster isn’t yet where outsiders expect it to be, and that’s fine, but more in-depth observers should be cognizant of how that changes the expectations. The sophomore class that was on the field this spring was probably the first full, Division-1 recruiting class that this staff brought in. While the senior and junior groups have brought some outstanding individual players (Gerald Logan Kyle Jackson, Ian King, to name a few) to Ann Arbor, in terms of full depth of talent throughout a group – and not just getting lucky to hit on a couple guys here and there – you should see, going forward, what is expected of a real life D-1 squad.

For 2017 in specific, there are a couple personnel questions to be answered, and some that could have a major impact. Goalie Gerald Logan, defenseman Charlie Keady, and midfielder Brendan Gaughan all mised a full season due to injury at some point during their careers (2014 for Logan and Keady, 2013 for Gaughan), and could return as redshirt seniors next spring. No official announcements have been made as to whether any of the three are returning, but current expectation is that Gaughan is the only of the three to return. Logan has a solid replacement in Robbie Zonino, Gaughan has played just limited minutes in his three active years, and I’ve already extensively discussed the influx of youth on close D, but some experience – and obvious talent – added to the roster can’t be construed as a bad thing, either.

Michigan will have to make up for some personnel losses even if some of those guys return. Kyle Jackson is the first NCAA-era pro (Brekan Kohlitz and Trevor Yealy, both primarily from the club days, had opportunities with MLL and NLL teams, respectively) from this program, picked up by the Boston Cannons. He also happens to be the program’s all-time leading scorer. While he’ll almost certainly be passed by Ian King if the rising senior can remain healthy next spring, Jackson leaves a big void. Peter Kraus and Mike Hernandez will also leave a sizable void offensively, while all the talented up-and-comers in the world won’t make Michigan forget about LSM Chase Brown.

Faceoffs will be a question mark after Michigan’s non-Lott players struggled, and Lott exhausting his own eligibility. There should be bullets in the chamber (incoming freshman Matt Dellacroce is highly-regarded, players on the roster can improve, and there may be a high-profile transfer or two available), but Life Without Lott will be something for the program to adjust to.

The Wolverines’ 2016 was a poor season, but may have actually been what was needed for 2017 to be a major step forward for the program. This time of year is when the team has to capitalize on what they learned this spring to forget all about it in less than nine months’ time.

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2016 State Champions crowned

Saturday’s state title games saw your 2016 Division-1 and Division-2 champions crowned on both the boys’ ad girls’ sides:

Boys

Division-1: Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice d. Detroit Catholic Central, 10-8.

Division-2: Forest Hills Central d. East Grand Rapids, 10-6.

Girls

Division-1: Rockford d. Birmingham Unified 12-9

Division-2: East Grand Rapids d. Cranbrook-Kingswood 13-11.

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