Part one of a look at Michigan’s participation in the Nick Colleluori Classic. This post looks at their performance in the 2011 event. Part two will take a look at the 2012 event, Michigan’s second in Division-1 history.
Michigan was downed by St. Joseph’s 9-5 and Towson 15-2. St. Joe’s looked at the result against Michigan as an indication that they would have an improved 2012 season. Via content-sharing partner PhillyLacrosse.com:
“It’s kind of exciting for all of us because we didn’t get any respect last year and we didn’t deserve it,” said junior midfielder Steve Dunn, a Malvern prep grad . “There is a new attitude this year; everyone will be surprised at what we can do. We’ll turn some heads early.
“I think they (Michigan) came out and thought, ‘It’s St. Joe’s – the same old St. Joe’s.’ We were able to get up early and hold the lead. Hopefully, we can do that in the regular season.”
Though the Wolverines didn’t emerge victorious, there were some positives, particularly in their ability to pick up more GBs than the Hawks”
“They are definitely enthused. They are working their tails off, but there is still a lot of work to do,” [Coach Taylor Wray] said. “They came out with a lot of energy (against Michigan), though I expect them to do that all the time. The game was a little sloppy at first, then we settled in. Michigan dominated us in groundballs. That was the only thing I didn’t like.”
Following the event, I was pretty down on Michigan. However, it was only their second taste of D-1 action (after previously scrimmaging Providence and losing 11-10 in overtime).
Of course, the old mantra maintains that you can’t learn too much about how your team will be in fall ball. So how did Michigan’s two scrimmage opponents turn out? Both finished with identical 7-8 records, and though they were among the bottom third in the country, according to the tempo-free stats, they were certainly of a higher caliber than Michigan, as the fall ball results indicated.
…and St. Joe’s:
St. Joseph’s was bad on offense and good on defense… so the result against Michigan is kind of right in line with expectations, even in hindsight. They had a mediocre clear and an excellent ride, and it’s nice to see Michigan didn’t get destroyed in the transition game (though they would at times in the regular season).
Towson’s offense and defense were less-extreme versions of their counterparts, so Michigan’s performance against the Tigers is even more disappointing in retrospect.
At this point, it’s not a secret that Michigan’s lack of success in the 2011 Colleluori Classic was indicative of how their inaugural varsity season would go: poorly. Though they were close in some games, they often just lacked that extra burst to take home wins – just as in this event.
In their second year at the Classic – with a year of varsity experience and a bunch of Division-1 recruits now at their disposal – things should be improved.
Next: A brief look at the teams in this year’s Colleluori Classic, and what the Wolverines can expect.