Michigan has headed down to Florida after a rough outing in the Centennial State. They’ll see if the sunshine will treat them a little nicer than the Rocky Mountaina.
Mount St. Mary’s
3:00 p.m. March 24, 2012
Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor. Ticket Info.
Gametracker stats (caution: this has not worked any of the times I’ve tried to use it so far this year). Live video ($, and you have to buy a whole month – probably not worth it). @UMichLacrosse twitter. GLS Twitter.
2-4 (Victories over Delaware and VMI). #39 Laxpower
Six game is enough data that this season’s stats are relevant. Fortunately for readers, I’ve already done all the work to turn whatever the hell this is into a meaningful report of their stats.
|Mount St. Mary’s 2012|
|Faceoff Wins||69||Faceoff Wins||69|
|Offensive Efficiency||.298||Offensive Efficiency||.316|
Mount St. Mary’s has been al over the map this year. Against good teams (namely Virginia), they’ve been completely out of their league. Against awful teams (sorry VMI), they were able to dominate. Against everything in between, they’ve been mostly bad, except in very different ways.
Their ride has been aaaaaawful, except in one game against Towson when they held the Tigers to barely over .500 on 21 attempts – and still lost by two goals. They’ve treaded water on faceoffs, never winning more than 60%, and only losing that many once or twice. From an efficiency standpoint, outside of the VMI game (when they scored 15 goals on 35 possessions for a blistering .429), they’ve been pretty bad.
After reviewing the stats, I’m going to cast my vote that Mount St. Mary’s simply isn’t very good. That isn’t the most relevant question when facing Michigan’s young team. What become far more important is determining just how bad they are.
There are five Mount St. Mary’s players with double-digit points. One of them, senior midfielder Christian Kellet, would probably even be a bit higher than his current ten points if not for missing a game (he also hasn’t started all of the five games he has played in, though that’s likely on account of faceoff strategy). Kellett has scored three goals and assisted on seven.
Now that I’ve sufficiently buried my lede, senior attackman Brett Schmidt is the primary offensive threat for the Mount. His 14 goals lead the team, and he’s not far off the team’s leaders in assists, with five.
Junior midfielder Daniel Stranix, whose name sounds like a pharmaceutical, and attackman Andrew Scalley aren’t far behind Schmidt with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Both score more than they assist, but their numbers aren’t nearly as skewed as anyone who is named Schmidt.
That’s right, there is another Schmidt, and while Brett had a lopsided goals-to-assists ratio, it’s nothing compared to twin brother Bryant, who has ten goals and just one assist on the year. The midfielder version of Schmidts is a pure shooter. Alas, Schmidt number three (or number one, I guess) has graduated, though Justin was a defenseman for the Mount last year.
Anthony Golden has started four games – and played in all six – at attack, and has only two points to show for it.
Like we’ll see just down the road in Detroit a couple hours earlier, Michigan is not playing a defense that thrives on the takeaway. The Mountaineers have only 31 through six games. With Michigan’s limited stick skills, that may be a good thing, but on the other hand, they don’t exactly have the guns to bomb away from outside, either.
Senior Brendan Rooney (a University of Detroit Jesuit product) leads non-faceoff specialists in ground balls on the season with 11, despite being limited early this season. His four caused turnovers is also in a multi-way tie for the team lead in that category. Sophomore Shane Pierce has started all six games, but only has a little (four caused turnovers, five ground balls) to show for it. Junior Kevin Downs and sophomore Tim Durkin are among the other defensemen who have started a game. Freshman Kyle O’Brien has also seen significant time, and has picked up nine GBs on the year.
The defensive lineup hasn’t exactly been consistent.
Junior Robert Owen is the leader of the shortstick defensive midfielders, with ten ground balls and only two shots on the entire season. Junior midfielder Mike Fields is a level above that, with eight caused turnovers and only two shots on the year. Junior LSM John Anderson is one of the players tied at four caused turnovers to lead the team.
In goal, Chris Klaiber has started all six games, playing all but about one quarter this entire season. He has saved .512 of shots faced, and is allowing barely over 10 goals per game. His backup, Kevin Hess, has seen nearly 15 minutes of action, and although his numbers look a little nicer (.600 s%, 8.15 GAA), that screams “small sample size.”
Jon Marsalese is The Guy on faceoffs. The University of Detroit Jesuit product (now that I’ve shouted out Rooney and Marsalese, I may as well mention Conor Carey, their former teammate with the Cubs, who has played in five games at midfield) has won .516 of his draws this year, and is far and away the team leader in GBs with 38. Despite plenty of clean wins, he is a strict FOGO, with no assists or shots on the year.
As mentioned above, Mount St. Mary’s is one excellent game against Towson away from being one of the worst riding teams in America (that game is an epic outlier, since Towson is a decent clearing team. The boxscore mentions cloudy weather, but says nothing of wind). They are just a mediocre clearing team as well. If Michigan isn’t scared away from using their 10-man ride by the full-field goal by Bellarmine, and the loss of Emil Weiss (again), there is definitely a weakness to be exploited.
The Mount has only had 13 man-up opportunities this season in six games, so they do not force opponents to foul them particularly often. They have converted on four of those chances, a decent percentage.
Mount St. Mary’s is a pretty bad team – perhaps one of the worst Michigan will see this year outside of Mercer – and the Wolverines’ opportunities to get victories are dwindling. If they can come out as sharp as they have in most games (Michigan has scored first in nearly every contest), and sustain that momentum, rather than fading in the middle two quarters, they have a good shot at the win.
The biggest question is one of player health – can Emil Weiss play? If not, we’ve seen that the other options on the roster are serious downgrades. This Mount St. Mary’s team isn’t exactly a world-beater, and their weaknesses (transition game, lack of caused turnovers) are things that match up well for Michigan.
- Once again, Michigan will race out to a three-goal lead in the early minutes of the game. However, they’ll stay true to form and allow Mount St. Mary’s to tie things up before scoring again.
- The Michigan defense buckles down and plays better than we’ve seen in recent weeks. That’s particularly true in the transition game, where the Wolverines’ ride (which, I guess, is plenty of the offensive personnel, as well) will cause at least one failure to advance call and another handful of turnovers.
- There will be frustrating unforced turnovers on Michigan’s end – that’s just going to happen this year. However, they aren’t as damning as they have been against better competition.
- The Wolverines win the ground ball battle. This is part of what leads to a better than .500 day on faceoffs.
This one is so tough to predict without knowing the status between the pipes. If Weiss plays, he’s an upgrade from a ball-stopping and clearing perspective, and Michigan should be able to pull off the win. Otherwise, I think they’ll have a tough time staying within a couple goals. I’ll split the different and say Mount St. Mary’s earns the 9-8 victory in the Big House.