Michigan 14, Mercer 4

Win One. Enough said. On with the show.

Tempo Free

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

Mercer 2012
Michigan Mercer
Faceoff Wins 15 Faceoff Wins 5
Clearing 14-21 Clearing 9-19
Possessions 46 Possessions 31
Goals 14 Goals 4
Offensive Efficiency .304 Offensive Efficiency .129

Mercer’s Justin Evans is a pretty good faceoff guy, and Brian Greiner abused him until he got yanked from the lineup. Tyler Schott fared even worse for the Bears, and the ability to dominate possession (also thanks to holding the Bears below 50% on clears(!)) was the story of the game. Once the Wolverines got the lead, they were able to sit on it.

From an efficiency perspective, Michigan dominated as well. The Wolverines let off the gas slightly, and committed a few turnovers when they were – for all intents and purposes – stalling to slow down the game.

Notes

It was the biggest day in the HISTORY of Michigan’s offense at the Division-1 level. Trevor Yealy, Doug Bryant, and Thomas Paras all picked up hat tricks, with Bryant adding a goal and Paras finishing with four goals and two assists total. Midfielder Willie Steenland also reached the single-game record for assists, putting three on the board to go along with his goal. Will Meter had a goal and two assists for the Wolverines.

Unfortunately, Steenland continued to be a bit turnover-prone, committing five during the course of the contest. A lot of those were forced passes to the crease – something we saw plenty of in Colorado – and the coaching staff will continue preaching patience on offense to their midfielders.

I don’t want to put down Dylan Westerhold in the least, but Emil Weiss is an obvious upgrade between the pipes. He brings not only competency but also proficiency to the clearing game. On top of that, he’s much more confident as a ball-stopper. Part of that can be attributed to the competition he faced in comparison to what Westerhold has seen, but mostly, it simply speaks to his ability.

Brian Greiner is absolutely deserving of another shout out. Obviously Mercer’s wings were some of the weakest Michigan will face this year, but he’s developed of the course of the seaosn into a guy who can at the very least turn just about every draw into a 50/50 ball, even against some of the best FOGOs the opposition can throw out there. He had 13 GBs in this game, showing he’s capable of picking them up himself, as well.

Defensively, it was a solid team effort, but to be honest, Mercer was bad enough even getting into the settled offense that the Wolverines didn’t have to do much in the 6v6. That’s a good thing in terms of winning the game, but a bad thing when I’m trying to come up with a note about the defenders. Dakota Sherman did cause three of those 21 turnovers, so yay.

Michigan actually committed more turnovers than the Bears, but obviously most of them were in less-crucial situations. Thanks to dominance in the possession game, Michigan had many more opportunities to commit those turnovers. Committing 25 against a weak team like Mercer is a bit of a concern, but I think anybody expecting much more than a single win for the Wolverines this year is being a little optimistic at this point.

Two assists on four Mercer goals. Sample size too small to determine anything, other than Mercer isn’t particularly good.

At a halftime interview with LaxxTV’s poor struggling sideline reporter, Mercer coach Jason Childs said that Michigan was playing a much better game against Mercer than he’d seen them play against Jacksonville on Friday. Having watched both from the same perspective, I would have to disagree with him. Michigan actually played much better on the whole against Jacksonville, it’s just that the level of competition made things look better Sunday.

Speaking of Laxx.TV, it’s awesome to have broadcasts available online. Great stuff, and certainly something that wouldn’t be available without them. I would appreciate, however, that if they’re going to read from my game previews basically word-for-word during their webcasts, that they at least drop a little credit to the site.

Quotes

From Michigan coach John Paul:

“A lot of our success today was doing what we were doing between the boxes. We faced off very well, we won ground balls the last two games in a row – something we hadn’t done in the first four – we rode well today, and those are all facts in giving our offense opportunities.”

“Our scout team guys do so much for us and a big part of what we now do is game prep. They do so much for us all week and have to be very unselfish to do that. It’s great to give them that opportunity. We had our bomb squad in, which is our scout man-up team for that last goal. It was awesome to get them that opportunity. Mosko doesn’t do anything but shoot, so we knew that was coming, but it was nice to give guys a chance because they work so hard.”

“We’re coaching, and we’re going to be coaching hard all the time, probably more than any other year. There were a lot of coaching moments. Just as many at the end of a 14-4 game as there were two days ago at the end of an overtime game. ”

“Obviously part of that championship culture is an expectation that you’re going to win, and we’re building that. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think we’ve gone into a game yet this year we didn’t expect to win.”

“One advantage that we do have is we have guys who have been playing in competitive lacrosse games – no matter the level – over the last four years. We have guys who are physically mature and are big ,strong guys. By the time you’re a junior or a senior in college, your body has physically changed, and that was apparent.”

“We told the guys they’re going to have to be very, very focused and ready to work as soon as we get home. Coaches will be breaking down this film and probably get started on Loyola stuff on the way home.”

Elsewhere

GLS Game column. Official site recap from the Michigan end, and one from Mercer. Official site JP quotes. Official site notes. Box score. A few official site photos, but sadly no large-scale celebration shot. Check Laxx.TV later the week to possibly see a replay available.

Up Next

Quick turnarounds continue for Michigan. After the Mercer game (tempo-free recap coming later), they have only two days off before facing Loyola in Oosterbaan Fieldhouse on Wednesday on 7 p.m. It will be their fifth game in 12 days, which is practically unheard of in NCAA Division-1.

Preview coming first thing on Wednesday.

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9 Responses to Michigan 14, Mercer 4

  1. Clark Bell says:

    Michigan vs Mercer photos here:
    http://smu.gs/AkgVeL

  2. Clark Bell says:

    Re: no post game celebration shot. It was interesting after the game. I was looking for the big post game celebration. It did not happen. Weiss had come out for Abdelnour and maybe that tempered the rush to the Goalie after the game but it was very subdued. The team did not sing Victors after the game on the field. It made me wonder if they had been coached to not celebrate big time. Mercer did not win a game last year. They have not won a game this year. Maybe Michigan is waiting to celebrate something more significant.

  3. AndyD says:

    As long as they were celebrating great plays by their teammates during the game, I’m kind of glad to hear that they didn’t really celebrate the win itself. First win or not, they should expect to beat Mercer. They knew pretty early on in the game that they were probably going to win, so the actual final whistle was probably not the same feeling as winning a game that goes down to the wire.

    I’m a little disappointed about no singing of the Victors though. Every Michigan team sings the Victors after a win. Maybe they did it in the locker room? As a club team they probably got used to doing it on the field because they usually didn’t have a locker room to go to. As a D1 team, I’m assuming there’s always a locker room. Hopefully they still sang it, just not on the field.

    • Tim says:

      I’m sure they sang it in the locker room. They’ve never not sung it after a game as far as I know, even in their 27-1 laughers as a club team.

  4. UpstateLax says:

    They had to put Mercer on the schedule to avoid a no win season? Too bad Presbyterian wasn’t around could of gotten 2 wins this season. Pretty pathetic.

  5. AndyD says:

    Don’t understand why it’s pathetic. First year varsity beats second year varsity. And who knows how the game was scheduled. It was at Jacksonville. That would lead me to believe that either Jacksonville or Mercer set it up.

    Any sign of competitiveness this year is a positive.

    • Reg Hartner says:

      I’m more critical of the Michigan hype than most anyone on here, but to call this “pathetic” is moronic and taking an unnecessary shot at them. They were positioning for a D1 team in 2011, but it was not official until late. They took games against anyone that had a spot open on the schedule and it’s common for young programs to play each other.

      I think Mercer was probably more the leader in trying to schedule this game as they thought it might have been a win for them against a 1st year team.

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