Yay, more wins. The Titans are one failed clear in overtime away from being in a great spot in the MAAC. The win against Manhattan may have been little more than “taking care of business,” but for a team that hasn’t done so every time out this year, that’s progress.
The Titans led wire-to-wire against the Jaspers, and things were never in doubt.
From the official box score, a look at the tempo-free stats:
|Faceoff Wins||8||Faceoff Wins||18|
|Offensive Efficiency||.296||Offensive Efficiency||.350|
The Titans dominated possession in this one, thanks to good work on faceoffs (about which more in a moment) and taking care of business on the clear. That’s good.
It’s even better when the team efficiencies are as lopsided as they were in this one. The Titans put up a great offensive efficiency number, and while the defense wasn’t great, it was more than enough to get the win in this one.
I’ve mentioned several times that, with Shayne Adams out, the Titans need to figure out better ways to share the ball. If Alex Maini can’t be the Joel Matthews or Shayne Adams type that can dominate the rock and still play efficiently, playing a role in the larger picture of the offense is necessary. That happened in this one. The Titan offense clicked, even though Maini scored just one goal and had just four shots.
Sophomore midfielders Mike Birney (four goals, one assist) and Scott Drummond (one goal, three assists) and junior attack Tom Masterson (two goals, one assist) stepped up in a big way. That’s what the offense needs, and it worked well. Can it be replicated against better defenses? Probably not, but it’s likely that some of the growth will carry over.
Damien Hicks started on faceoffs, and did very well before exiting the game after his illegal stick penalty. He wasn’t win the clamp that frequently (probably 40 percent of the time, despite winning 75% of his draws), but when he didn’t, he was able to much things up and make it a 50/50 ball or better. When he did win things cleanly, it often led to an easy fast break opportunity for the Titans, including the wiped out goal. Brandon Davenport had a 5/8 day, longpole Jordan Yono won his only faceoff – during Hicks’ penalty – and Ryan Tarzia had just one attempt.
Defensively, I was surprised to see relatively few caused turnovers against what has been one of the country’s least capable teams when it comes to holding onto the ball. Of course Jamie Hebden (four caused) and John Dwyer and Jordan Houtby (two each) got theirs, but you’d expect even more. The Jaspers actually caused the same number. On the other hand… Detroit almost double up Manhattan, so how much complaint can there be?
This was apparently Troy Dennis’ first game at SSDM (thanks to GLS regular Reg Hartner for the tip), and he was pretty good. Obviously there are some growing pains at the position, but he has the skills, and can clearly go forward with the ball as a former offensive player. Joe MacLean and Tom Sible were more comfortable at the position, but Dennis showed great potential.
The Titans committed seven penalties, but honestly it felt like there were even more watching live. Some of them were questionable (which will always be the case), but on the other hand, the style of play – causing a lot of turnovers – is just going to result in it. There are times where controlling individual discipline when it comes to making that last check, or laying a big hit comes into play. Aggressive but under control is the next level of evolution for this D.
I’m not sure what to think of A.J. Levell’s performance. On one hand, he made two or three robberies on the doorstep, but on the other, a few of the goals he let in (and one-non goal on a post) were as soft as can be. Maybe he just wasn’t seeing the ball well on this day – and it’s unfair to complain when he compensates in other ways to put up good numbers – but I just don’t know, man.
I don’t want to rip on Manhattan – they probably get enough of that – but man, was that a bad team. The 6v6 defense was inept, and while they got a few good looks at goal, they didn’t have a whole lot of artillery when it came to finishing.
All photos by GLS.
Detroit has a tough matchup this weekend against Siena, although the Saints aren’t the dominant team in the MAAC like they have been in most recent years. Still, a road game against a more talented team is always a tough matchup. This is the sort of game where just about everything has to go right for the Titans to win.
After that, the road trip continues in two very winnable games, with Michigan (first night lacrosse game in Michigan Stadium, next Wednesday) and Marquette (the following Saturday) on the docket. Then, it’s a season finale against Canisius in what looks to be shaping up as a game where the winner makes the MAAC tournament and the loser sees its 2013 come to a close.