The second annual team consisting of the best performers in Division-1 who hailed from the state of Michigan. Any disagreements, perceived omissions, etc., feel free to debate them in the comments.
Flynn played barely more than two total games between the pipes this year (121 minutes), but that’s more than anyone else from the state played – only Penn freshman Ahmed Iftikhar, who redshirted this season, is a goalie from Michigan – and Flynn’s stats weren’t bad. He was passed by other goalies on the UDM roster after the first two games, but has potential.
Michigan’s defense wasn’t great this season – only No. 55 nationally, adjusted for schedule strength – but the Wolverines had a couple standout defensemen. Gembis was one, causing nearly five times as many turnovers (14) as he committed (three). He also had a healthy ground ball output, and didn’t commit a single penalty all season.
Notre Dame Prep
Gifford was Detroit’s best close defenseman from in-state (and only the Wolverines and Titans played any close defenders from Michigan). He was a 14-game starter for the country’s No. 22 defense, and although he was a bit turnover-prone (eight committed), he caused opponents to be the same with 13 takeaways.
Walker was Michigan’s most productive defender statistically (not always a good thing, since U-M’s defense overall was mediocre and it’s more important to keep opponents off the scoresheet than make it yourself). Just a sophomore, he started every game for the Maize and Blue and took on plenty of responsibility. His growth potential with more depth on D is most exciting for Wolverines fans.
Detroit Catholic Central
Birney took a major step back after an exceptional sophomore season. He launched more shots than he did the previous season, and connected on far fewer of them (as a percentage). Part of that is because he was being relied upon to do more than he had in the previous season, but part is needing to fine-tune his shooting accuracy and picking his spots, rather than letting his 114MPH cannon speak for itself.
With Birney’s slight step back, Drummond was able to step up and become UDM’s most productive player in the midfield. He had a nice balance between scoring himself and assisting, and was more careful with the ball. Detroit’s depth is starting to build, and trotting out an impressive midfield line will help the program going forward.
Perkovic was an every-game starter for the No. 5 offensive unit in the country, an impressive enough feat in itself. He wasn’t extremely productive individually until later in the season, but stepped up bigtime. He scored five goals in the NCAA title game, and the future is bright for a player who just accomplished what he did in his first year on the college field.
Notre Dame Prep
Like many of Detroit’s offensive players, Beauregard was a bit turnover-prone, but he had a nice offensive output to balance that struggle. He had nice effort on the ride (a phase of the game Detroit used off-and-on last spring), and was the top Michigan-native attackman on the roster.
Only a few Michigan natives played in the NCAA Tournament, and coming into the year you wouldn’t have expected a kid at a first-year program to be one of them. Forester started all but one game for Richmond, and was a deadly finisher (as much as the Spiders had one). He was a bit sloppy with 32 turnovers committed, but that’s to be expected when the overall talent level on the team needs to rise with more D-1 experience.
McKee’s production took another step forward as the Academy put together the No. 12 offense in the country. His 43 points was more than anyone else in Division-1 who played high school lacrosse in Michigan. McKee’s output could have been even greater had he not missed a couple of games for the Falcons.
Joe Kemp - Faceoff Specialist
With Danny Henneghan graduating at Penn State, the Great Lax State didn’t have a top FOGO in D-1 this spring, and Kemp was the best of limited options. His .455 win rate was best on his team (wing play was clearly an issue), and he took more draws than anyone else from Michigan.
Dakota Sherman - Long-Stick Midfield
Sherman put together a nice year statistically while playing mostly LSM (he kicked back to close D on a couple occasions, if memory serves me correctly). His 12 caused turnovers were strong for a Michigan defense that didn’t rely on heavy pressure, and he even managed to get off four shots (though he didn’t score).
JD Hess - Short-Stick Defensive Midfield
Hess may not have been Detroit’s top Michigan-native short-stick defensive middie last year (that honor, as it has in the past, goes to Nick Garippa), but his value of the ball gives him the honor. He had better defensive statistics than Garippa – eight CTs and 17 ground balls – but also better offensive statistics with just six turnovers committed. He gets the nod.
Offensive Player of the Year
Past recipients of this award (Air Force’s Tommy McKee and Detroit’s Mike Birney) are both still in college, but it’s time for some new blood. A Michigan native making a big impact for one of the country’s best offenses – not to discount McKee’s contributions to the Falcons’ underrated O – is exciting, and especially so when he’s a freshman. Perkovic’s best ball came at the end of the year, and if the result of the NCAA Title game had been different, he would likely have been the MVP of that game.
Defensive Player of the Year
Michigan’s defense was no bueno, but I wouldn’t blame Walker too much. While the statistical picture only tells part of the story for close defenders (preventing your man from getting a shot doesn’t show up anywhere on the scoresheet), and U-M’s D was slow to react at times, the caliber of offenses they faced – and the adjustment period for Robbie Zonino to the college game – made things look a bit worse for the individuals than they were. Walker stuffed the sheet as much as any pole from the state, and with limited options, he takes the mantle.
Debate away. The full final stats can be seen here.