First Look: Detroit Remaining Opponents Pt. 2

I took a look at the Titans’ common opponents with Michigan a few days ago. For the final three UDM opponents, check out that post. There are ten unique opponents for UDM. Here are the first five. Second five go here:

Jacksonville

Jacksonville University Dolphins Lacrosse

Fear Flipper!

Detroit: March 30 (Jacksonville, Fla.)

2012

6-7 (3-3 MAAC), #47 Laxpower, #38 Tempo-Free Lax

The Tempo-free numbers liked Jacksonville a lot more than LaxPower did. Without delving in-depth into why that might be (especially since I don’t know LaxPower’s formula), I actually tend to side with the numbers that aren’t my own, based on one piece of anecdotal evidence: it took them overtime to beat Michigan and even then they almost lost to the Wolverines. TFL puts them near the 50th percentile in the country? I just don’t see it.

The Past Results

Jacksonville was the lone bright spot in Detroit’s end-of-season swoon, breaking up what could have been a looooong year-end losing streak. UDM welcomed JU to Titan Field coming off back-to-back losses against Siena (understandable) and Manhattan (completely inexplicable), and beat the Dolphins 8-7.

Detroit used a stalemate at the faceoff dot to actually own a possession advantage on the day, and though they were more efficient, a one-goal game is bound to end up that way. Shayne Adams poured in four goals and Alex Maini helped with two goals and two assists. Wes Steen had two goals of his own.

On defense, it was – shockingly – the Jourdan Houtby and Jamie Hebden show. A.J. Levell also excelled, stopping ten shots. That’s a big deal in a game as close as this one.

The Forward-Thinking Look Back

Jacksonville 2012
Pace 64.62 (36)
Poss% 48.69 (44)
Off. Eff. 30.70 (25)
Def. Eff. 32.78 (42)
Pyth% 40.97 (38)

There’s not a whole lot illuminating about that tempo-free profile. The Dolphins were in the middle of the pack across the board, above average in offensive efficiency and below it in everything else. That balances out to being… just below-average on the year. They squeaked out wins against some bad teams though, so it was all-around a weird year.

Jacksonville’s top three scorers from last year return, and given that the offense was the best unit on the team, that’s a good thing. Senior midfielders Cameron Mann and TJ Kenary and sophomore attack Ari Waffle form a potent combo. Given that the team is also in the second year of a coaching staff, more improvement is possible. Mann is a preseason IL all-conference performer.

The defense, on the other hand, was not great. The raw numbers looked OK, but a lot of impotent offenses propped that up, and the adjusted number shows it. The star of the unit is goalie Peter DeLuca, who will be a junior (and is a pre-season all-conference pick).  In front of him, Charlie Archer started almost all of last season as a freshman, so the learning curve could be quick for him. Senior Tanner Gard will provide steady leadership, but the third starter will be a new one.

Manhattan

Manhattan Jaspers Lacrosse

What is a Jasper?

Detroit: April 6 (Home)

2012

5-9 (1-5 MAAC), #57 Laxpower, #56 Tempo-Free Lax

Ughhhhh. Manhattan was terrible last year, and that “1” in the winner column of the conference record just about says it all. Unfortunately that one win came against Detroit. The Jaspers were shut out twice last season, and managed to beat the Titans. About which…

The Past Results

I don’t even want to talk about this game. It was bad. It was very bad. It may have been the worst loss in the UDM program’s history to date(!), though 2012 had lots of contenders for that mantle. It was an 8-6 final in favor of Manhattan.

This was a really fast game – 79 total possessions – so the final score indicates a lot of terrible offense, and that was the case. Detroit notched a .160 efficiency number, and put up fewer goals than any other team to play the Jaspers other than Wagner and Mercer – whose combined two wins on the year include a head-to-head for Mercer over Wagner.

I get upset just thinking about this game, so just take my word for it that it was really bad.

The Forward-Thinking Look Back

Manhattan 2012
Pace 64.43 (40)
Poss% 49.78 (34)
Off. Eff. 22.12 (59)
Def. Eff. 33.01 (44)
Pyth% 21.96 (56)

There are two things Manhattan did surprisingly well: slowing the game down enough to not get completely blown out very often (for an example of a bad team that couldn’t do this, take a look at Michigan), and holding their own in terms of possession (ditto). Everything else – particularly offense – was pretty bad.

The offense was downright moribund, and without a 20-goal output against Wagner (let’s score six goals in the fourth quarter of a game we’re already winning by ten! woo!), it would have been even worse. The good news: leading scorer Brian McGrath is back. The bad news: three of the top seven scorers (the entirety of the double-digit point getters) are not. McGrath and midfielder Tyler Jarvis, a fellow senior, will have to step things up, and hope the right pieces come into place around them.

The defense was relatively good, but when your relativity is to “everything else being the worst,” it’s little consolation. Goalies Rich Akapnitis and Michael Wiatrak both return, and both were pretty good considering the unit in front of them. About which: that unit loses Steve Harvey (not that Steve Harvey), Mike Brooks, and D-middie Brian Lenskold, though Sean McMahon and Jeff Mohr return. Personnel losses could mean a step back unless there’s a lot of development, or the goalies stand on their heads this spring.

Siena

Siena Saints Lacrosse

"Saints" as in "Saint Bernards," rather than "canonized people." I can dig it.

Detroit:  April 13 (Loudonville, N.Y.)

2012

11-5 (6-0 MAAC), #25 Laxpower, #18 Tempo-Free Lax

Siena is not your average MAAC team. In fact, the Saints have run roughshod over their league year after year. Last spring, I thought UDM might be the team to change that, entering the season with high hopes. The Titans fell well short of expectations, but Canisius actually nipped Siena in the MAAC Tournament, sending SU home for the NCAAs.

The Past Results

Detroit entered their game against Siena off an embarrassing loss to Manhattan (see above), so the hopes of a new MAAC champion were already diminished. Still, to not even be competitive in an 8-15 loss was still a disappointment.

Detroit held their own on faceoffs and in the clearing game, leading to only a slight possession disadvantage. However, Siena was far more capable of converting possessions into points on this day. They notched a .341 offensive efficiency, while holding Detroit to a mere .205 despite the presence of Joel Matthews (a rare feature during the slump times). Alex Maini led UDM with two goals and an assist.

On defense, A.J. Levell was left out to dry, facing 28 shots by the Saints’ talented offensive players. Hebden and Houtby were their usual stat-generating selves, but the team concept on defense didn’t do much to prevent Levell from staring down a lot of shots.

The Forward-Thinking Look Back

Siena 2012
Pace 72.00 (7)
Poss% 50.35 (25)
Off. Eff. 32.45 (19)
Def. Eff. 27.80 (21)
Pyth% 62.76 (18)

Compared to the rest of their conference brethren, Siena was gooood. That does make the conference tournament loss all the more confusing, but the total body of work speaks for itself. They were above average in possession percentage, and actually good in just about everything else. Perhaps most importantly for lovers of a fast-paced game, they had the seventh-most possessions per contest in the country. The success on faceoffs, at least, should continue a bit, with Casey Dowd returning and earning pre-season IL honors.

The offense was very good, but loses some key pieces. Not every MAAC team boasts an All-American (Bryan Neufeld). Though Neufeld is out the door – along with third-leading scorer Chris Roth and fifth-leading scorer Chris D’Alberti – the cupboard is far from bare. Senior attackman Danny Martinsen (who was third on the team in points last year) is a captain and IL pre-season all-conference pick. Colin Clive and Conor Prunty should be adequate complementary pieces. This is an attack-driven offense, so look for a third scorer to emerge from that unit, as well.

The defense was pretty darn good itself. Unlike the offense, it retains a lot and Siena’s ability to replace lost members (at the very least better than the rest of the MAAC schools can) will not be the lynchpin to continued success. Ken Wright? Gone. Everyone else? Back. Defenseman Brendan Meehan is a pre-season IL all-conference pick, and goalie Tom Morr was one of the conference’s best last spring. Erik Casparius, Adam Hall, and Pat Killeen make this a very experienced group with plenty of depth.

Marquette

Detroit: March 20 (Milwaukee, Wisc.)

2012

N/A

Oh, hello new program. Michigan is no longer the new kid on the block in the Midwest, and Detroit’s fellow Jesuit institution will try to make waves in its first year.

The Big Picture

Though Marquette is a new program, they’re going about things in a very different way than Michigan did. The Golden Eagles announced their program before Michigan did, but are entering the real world a year later. That means a few things: no club players (at least not many), a year of practicing but no competition, and perhaps most importantly, a lot of transfers.

MU surprised with its success in fall ball scrimmages, but who knows how the season itself will turn out. Unlike most of the squads UDM will face this spring, we have practically no information to go on. I would hope that the Detroit program is built up enough to knock of what is effectively an expansion team.

Canisius

Detroit: April 27 (Home)

2012

Canisius College Griffins Lacrosse

Fear the Griffin!

6-8 (3-3 MAAC), #51 Laxpower, #51 Tempo-Free Lax

Canisius was among the many squads tied for second in the MAAC regular season, but the No. 4 seed made the most of its opportunity, racing through Siena in the league championship to make the NCAA Tournament… and immediately getting blown out by No. 1 seed Loyola. Still, a MAAC team other than Siena going that far is an accomplishment in itself. Canisius’s 2012 season could be a good goal for the Titans this year.

The Past Results

The Titans split with Canisius last season, winning a high-scoring regular season battle before losing in a more even-paced conference tournament game.

The first outing was one of Detroit’s most efficient all year on the offensive side of the ball. In a blistering 99-possession game, the Titans put up 17 goals for a .340 efficiency. Joel Matthews did slight work with seven goals and an assists, while Shayne Adams pitched in “just” a hat trick and an assist of his own. A.J. Levell’s defense forced 17 turnovers, and he had to make just 10 saves, a good mark for a game with this pace.

When the second outing faced off, Detroit had been mired in an offensive slump for weeks. The Titans broke out of that slump, scoring 10 goals for a .323 efficiency number. Scott Harris, Alex Maini, Brandon Beauregard, and Scotty Dummond were your multi-point Titans. Unfortunately, the defense totally collapsed in this one. Jamie Hebden and Jordan Houtby were out and limited, respectively, and a 2-goal output at halftime for Canisius blossomed into a 10-goal second half (and a second-half efficiency mark of .625 for Canisius, one of the worst single-half performances by a team other than Mercer and Wagner).

The Forward-Thinking Look Back

Canisius 2012
Pace 67.57 (19)
Poss% 48.94 (41)
Off. Eff. 23.35 (51)
Def. Eff. 33.77 (50)
Pyth% 26.49 (51)

Canisius played pretty fast all year… partially because a lot of those possessions ended in goals (we call that the “Michigan Method”) for playing fast. They didn’t control the ball much, and whether they had it or not, things generally didn’t go that well. Had they used only their very good faceoff guy (Mike Moran) instead of their several pretty bad ones, the possession game might have gone better, but obviously there are tactical reasons to effectively concede the faceoff, as well.

That offense. It was no good. Fortunately for the Griffins, its top three scorers depart. Wait that’s not good at all it’s a recipe for disaster. Sophomore midfielder Tim Edwards can probably salvage a bit of the scoring (he’s a pre-season IL all-conference performer), but a bad unit losing most of its talent doesn’t strike me as likely to improve.

That defense. It was no good. Unlike the offense, it is not predicted to have all-conference performers, either. Goalie Sean Callahan gone, although he was pretty bad last year (whether that’s on him or his defense is up to you to decide) so it might not be the biggest loss. In front of him, Nico Capron is gone and LSM Brendan Murphy is gone. Adam Donner and Dylan Knopfke have some experience, and DJ Giacobbo will return after missing most of last season to an injury (for which he redshirted). All in all though… I wouldn’t expect greatness from this unit.

Naturally, since they look at last year’s standings and shuffle things around without regard for who leaves and who returns, Inside Lacrosse ranks Canisius ahead of Detroit in the pre-season conference standings. Unless there is a lot not to see from a look at the roster (theoretically possible, I guess), Canisius had their chance last year – and to their credit, took it with an NCAA berth.

A look at Michigan’s non-common opponents coming up.

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