Michigan 10, High Point 13

This was really a game Michigan should have won. The Wolverines dug themselves into a hole a couple times, and couldn’t recover. The wounds were mostly self-inflicted, and now the window for picking up victories this year is closing.

Tempo Free

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

High Point 2013
Michigan High Point
Faceoff Wins 13 Faceoff Wins 14
Clearing 14-22 Clearing 15-17
Possessions 37 Possessions 39
Goals 10 Goals 13
Offensive Efficiency .270 Offensive Efficiency .333

Faceoffs were almost dead even, but Michigan’s ineptitude on the clear tilted the possession game slightly in the direction of High Point.

From there, early defensive struggles out of the Wolverines – High Point scored four goals on 11 first-quarter possessions – sealed the deal defensively, and eventually the team wore down trying to play catchup.

Notes

Speaking of the clear, what the hell was the deal with that? Michigan was a very poor clearing team last year, but had improved by leaps and bounds through four games. Suddenly – against a ride that is decent but certainly nothing special – everything went to hell. Many of the turnovers (especially in the second quarter) were totally unforced, too. A real head-scratcher.

Offensively, this was the Mike Hernandez and Kyle Jackson show. Will Meter did not dress due to injury, and Thomas Paras is still not back to 100% with his hamstring. Hernandez scored four goals, while Jackson had a goal and four assists.

Michigan took the good with the bad from the dynamic pair of freshman middies. Both were high-volume players, taking 10 shots apiece, and while many of those shots were on cage, only five total beat the keeper. There were some problems getting separation from a pretty good High Point defense, and keeper Austin Geisler (13 saves, 10 goals allowed) lived up to expectations.

Hernandez’s volume performance also included some unquestionably bad moments. He committed three turnovers, and though I believe all of them were forced by High Point players, they were due dodges into traffic that were poor decisions in the first place. This was a problem with much of the Michigan team on this day.

Brad Lott was solid on faceoffs. At times it seemed like High Point’s Jamie Piluso was getting the better of him, but he also won a few clamps that his wing players didn’t reel in. Even when Michigan lost faceoffs, they were causing immediate turnovers just as often as not until the fourth quarter.

The defense. Yikes. Early, there were a lot of problems dealing with a dodger from behind cage. The first four High Point goals came on easy finishes or dishes from that situation. I figured once U-M settled down and fixed that issue, they’d be able to lock it down a bit. Instead, other holes in the dam opened.

Gerald Logan is clearly not 100%, and the extra padding on his shoulder is not the only evidence of that (though when he went down with just a couple minutes left in a game his team had already lost, it was scary as hell). Maybe it was the night game factor, but he didn’t appear to be seeing the ball as well as usual. He let in a couple goals that he wouldn’t have in other games this year, and a couple goals could have been the difference in this one.

Coming into the game, I noted that Dan Lomas and Matt Thistle were not Garrett Thul. On this day, it didn’t really matter. Everything still came relatively easy for that duo. Lomas scored six goals while Thistle had four and two assists.

Elsewhere

U-M postgame coverage. Photo gallery. HPU postgame coverage. Boxscore.

Up Next

Michigan’s brutal road swing continues Saturday. The Wolverines head to Geneva, N.Y. to take on conference foe Hobart. While the Statesmen have established themselves as probably the second-worst ECAC team, they’re still a ways ahead of Michigan.

This is the most winnable game for a while, but if you’re not beating High Point… just hold out hope for Delaware, UDM, or St. Joseph’s.

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2 Responses to Michigan 10, High Point 13

  1. Jason says:

    This game seemed like the “youth” got the best of em. Physically it looked like we got outmuscled while dodging a few times that led to turnovers and when it came to taking smart long possessions, HPU really settled in well and our guys forced some things.

    Lott settled in well, and Jackson and Hernandez seem like players we will be able to build around. Defensively I’d like to see some of the younger guys break into the lineup so we can play a little more one on one and not have to conceed the slide so early. That will take time and likely not until next year. If we don’t have to slide those holes will go away.

  2. Lax Fan says:

    To start this post off by saying that this is a game the Michigan “should” have won is a little misleading. The pressure on, and expectations for Michigan to be elite are unrealistic. Michigan is an elite institution, and they may operate like an elite lacrosse program, but the product on the field is not elite… Yet. To say that they “should” beat any team is unfair to them and disrespectful to their opponents. There are a few game on the 2013 schedule that stand out as opportunities to be competitive, let alone play for a win, and judge the team on the out come. High Point is one of those measuring stick games where we really got to see where Michigan stands against a team in a similar situation as themselves.

    High Point won the game. Michigan did not lose it for themselves, they got beat. HP won nearly every statistical category across the board. Ground balls, shots, clears, face offs, and turn overs. Michigan also had more extra man opportunities, 5. HP had 2. The stats tell the story behind the only stat that matters… the score 13-10. They played a competitive game against a good team and got beat. If they played again they might win they might not.

    What does this all mean? Plain and simple, nothing. In 14 years “team 15″ will be an elite program and High Point will probably be somewhere around the bottom end of the top 25. The point being that Michigan might not be living up to unrealistic short term expectations when they need to be viewed with a wider lens. Long term is where Michigan will have their impact. They have the brand, facilities, and support to build something special.

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