Michigan 13, Cleveland State 8

This was not the most encouraging victory in program history, but a win’s a win, an if the Maize and Blue build off it, nobody will remember that a first-year program gave them a scar in the season opener.

Tempo-Free

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

Cleveland State 2016
Michigan Cleveland State
Faceoff Wins 15 Faceoff Wins 10
Clearing 21-21 Clearing 13-15
Possessions 38 Possessions 25
Goals 13 Goals 8
Offensive Efficiency .342 Offensive Efficiency .320

Michigan won this game by being more polished in possession than the Vikings, with a bit of the closeness of the score related to U-M letting off the gas with leads of 6-1 and 13-5. The game was closer than it should have been: the scoreboard makes it look a little closer than it was.

Notes

Throw your hands in the air if you expected Tommy Heidt to start! (I did not). I do think he’s the better goalie on the roster, but thought there would be a bit of loyalty shown to Robbie Zonino, who’s stepped into some tough situations over the years. Heidt had the far better numbers, with a .700 save percentage while Zonino (albeit in garbage time) saved just one of three shots faced. It’ll be interesting to watch how the keeper situation plays out over the course of this season.

With Heidt putting together solid numbers, it’s a little worrisome that the Vikings still managed an offensive efficiency well north of .300. CSU got off more shots than Michigan (37 to 36) in many fewer possessions, and those weren’t all back-loaded in garbage time: 21 of them came in the first half. They weren’t particularly accurate shots – 23 on goal – but Michigan is going to have to tighten down defensively against squads that aren’t literally in their first-ever game of varsity lacrosse.

Mike McDonnell looks like a fine option on faceoffs, though (like every other part of this game), we’ll have to evaluate in much more depth once he’s playing someone who has a resume for comparison. 15/22 with four ground balls isn’t half-bad, though the wing play (and, in a lot of ways when it comes to the wings, probably some luck) helped him a great deal.

The offense was run by the expected players, though perhaps not in the expected ways: Ian King’s renaissance as a feeder continues, with four assists and no goals (with six shots, five on goal, that’s a major area for improvement, though his track record indicates that he’s not likely to have many days quite that bad). Brent Noseworthy was an offensive force with six goals on nine shots, seven of them on goal. A big year offensively, rather than “just” as a two-way player and clearing expert, out of Mikie Schlosser would be very big for the Michigan offense that needs some midfielders to step up. three goals, an assist, a booming truck stick on a clear… so far, so good.

As with other parts of the game, you’d like to have seen Michigan be a little less careless with the ball (11 turnovers, only four forced) against a team that was only going to be competitive, much less win, if the Wolverines self-inflicted a bunch of harm. First-game jitters and all that, but even a Lafayette team that was pretty bad last year should present a sterner test than the Vikings.

Elsewhere

Michigan recap. CSU recap. Highlights on LSN. Box score. IL recap.

Up Next

U-M welcomes Lafayette to Oosterbaan Fieldhouse Saturday at 4:00 p.m. It’s the Leopards’ first game of the season.

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Preview: Michigan Wolverines 2017

The Maize and Blue may want to forget they watched a lot of the 2016 season.

The Maize and Blue may want to forget they watched a lot of the 2016 season. (Photo by Tim Sullivan/Great Lax State)

Michigan enters year six having bid farewell to its first full recruiting class, and it’s time for the rubber to meet the road in terms of getting results. No longer is this a nascent program led by primarily club players, walk-ons, and late recruits. The Maize and Blue boast four seniors (one a fifth-year transfer), two juniors, three sophomores (on a transfer), and four freshmen who were among the top 100 recruits in their respective classes.

After going 1-13 in the first two seasons, they improved to 5-11 and 5-8 over the next two years before stumbling to 3-10 (with at least two bad losses) last year. The schedule sets up nicely to give them a chance to get back on the upward trajectory, and the talent must take over to reach expectations.

Attack

Despite losing two of last year’s top three scorers from the attack unit (including all-time leading scorer Kyle Jackson), this should be a solid group. Senior Ian King should take over the mantle as No. 1 all-time with a healthy year, and he had a solid reinvention as a feeder last season after previously being mostly a finisher. He finished with 13 goals and 16 assists despite missing two contests last year – but without Jackson to put the ball in the net, may go back to shooting for himself more frequently.

Beyond King, the returning production is limited. Junior Pat Tracy scored two goals and recorded five assists in nine appearances last year, while sophomores Brent Noseworthy and Rocco Sutherland had six and five points, respectively. The lefty Noseworthy was a finisher on the man-up unit, with two of his six goals with the extra man, and got his production in just seven appearances (to Sutherland’s 11). He may be able to be the finisher that allows King to continue his distribution. Senior Andrew Roswell should also see a bit of time.

This is a position group where a new face could make an impact. Freshman Hank Adams is one of those high-powered recruits, the No. 86 freshman in the country, according to Inside Lacrosse. The Colorado native is just a little guy at 5-7, 175 pounds, but a good lefty finisher and dodger.

Offensive Midfield

This is another position group that lost some key players (namely Sean McCanna and Mike Hernandez), but it returns a larger set of established players. Sophomore Decker Curran was the top-scoring player among midfielders last year, albeit with just 15 points, and although senior Mikie Schlosser had a down year last season (just eight points on .179 shooting, both career lows), he’s one of the more impressive physical specimens in midfield.

The third player on the line is a spot up for grabs in a serious way. Sophomore Justin Gibbons (four goals in seven appearances), junior PJ Bogle (one goal in eight appearances), Brandon Shima (scoreless in three games), and BJ Mattheiss (scoreless in two) are the only returning players who saw action last year. A few primarily defensive midfielders may make a bit of a transition to more of a two-way role, but expect new names to step up. Whether that’s those already on the roster – Teddy Bettencourt and JP Sorenson didn’t play last year – or incoming players remains to be seen, though it’s likely the new faces will the the ones.

Fortunately, two incoming midfielders were among the highly regarded prospects in the 2016 class, with Avery Myers No. 38 and Christian Ford No. 65 nationally, according to IL. Both ave good size and should be game-ready.

Faceoff

The Wolverines lost four-year starter Brad Lott, who had his best year as a senior and was a major asset for the team. Junior Mike McDonnell got some time in relief last year, but was a sub-.500 performer and may not be the final answer, though he’ll be able to contribute.

Incoming transfer Jack Olson didn’t take a single draw for the Blue Jays last year (and only made it into one game), despite being the No. 52 overall recruit in the 2015 class. Michigan will have to hope that his sophomore year shows why he was so highly-touted out of high school, rather than why he couldn’t get on the field last year. Hop had good-not-great faceoffs last year, so if there was any chance he would have been able to compete, Olson probably would have gotten a chance.

Incoming freshman Matt Dellacroce is a prospect the coaches were very excited about when he committed, so we’ll see if the battle is ultimately between him and Olson.

Defensive midfield

Chase Young is the top returning short-stick D-midfielder, and he even had a bit of offensive production with a couple goals and an assist last year, as well. He’s not an intimidator at 5-9, 165, but enters his junior year with two seasons of solid performance under his belt. Senior Christian Wolter and junior Parker McKee were both regularly used last year, as well, and should compete to be full-time players on the defensive midfield.

The LSM position loses Chase Brown, who was one of the most productive defensive players in the early stages of the Michigan program. However, his backup, Nick DeCaprio, got plenty of time in relief as a freshman, and should be able to step up in year two. Freshman JM Priddy was not a top-100 recruit, but is expected to be a contributor, as well.

Close defense

Chase Brown, Charlie Keady, and Chris Walker have all departed, leaving a defensive unit that will need a bit of re-tooling. Andrew Hatton is the top returner, though he missed some time last year due to injury and was primarily on the second team. Fellow senior Stefan Bergman is a similar story, though he made appearances in even fewer games. sophomore MJ Melillo actually had the most ground balls of the three last season, and should be able to make greater strides in his second year than the others will heading into their fourth.

Junior Eric Smith has received sparing playing time, but it’s possible that the arrival of a fresh face (fifth-year Virginia transfer) in his older brother Dickson Smith provides a bit of chemistry that helps him play a bigger role. Dickson played in 11 of 14 games for the Cavs last year, and while he wasn’t a major contributor, stepping into a team like Michigan rather than a perennial power should help him see the field.

Finn Goonan is not only an all-name team nominee, but also the most highly regarded of the incoming freshmen at this unit, and already 6-1, 195, he doesn’t have much physical adapting to be game-ready and an intimidator.

Goalie

One of the most underrated goalies of the past few years nationally was Gerald Logan, who stood on his head frequently despite defensive breakdowns. He’s off to play his final year at Johns Hopkins, though, so backup Robbie Zonino will step into the top role that he occupied as a freshman (when Logan missed the year with injury). He saw time in just two games last year after seven as a sophomore, so the trajectory does not look great even before you take into account his .214 save percentage last year.

There are plenty of other talented players available, though. Redshirt sophomore Tommy Heidt was a highly-touted recruit (No. 17 nationally), but has battled injury over the past two years and has yet to establish himself. Sophomore Gunner Garn has yet to see the field at all. Top it all off with incoming freshman Matt Trowbridge – the No. 31 freshman in the nation – and there are plenty of bullets in the chamber.

Overall

There are plenty of questions about this team because of departed key contributors. Can anyone step up at faceoff? Will Robbie Zonino have a good year with the starting gig to himself, or be beaten out by a younger keeper? Who is going to score for this team?

There have been some stylistic changes in the past couple seasons, too. Under former offensive coordinator Ryan Danehy, the Wolverines took very few shots, but had an outstanding shooting percentage. They were overly cautious in pulling the trigger, but you knew when they shot, it was a good opportunity. Under Conor Ford, they’re less turnover-prone (instead of trying to force the ball to the best high-percentage look), and shooting more frequently with less success per shot. A happy medium between the two extremes is probably needed here.

Defensively, the team was a bit of a mess last year, despite having an extremely good goalie. How much of it is simply not having the athletes to execute the defense? They were certainly experienced, with seniors littering the lineup. Will more highly touted recruits have the ability to perform better, even if they don’t have the time in the system? They’ll have to, because another poor year from the six in front of the goalie will be far less likely to have that goalie bail them out.

The opportunity

I’ll break down the schedule in more detail at a later date but there’s a good chance to see the record get better even if the team only makes incremental improvement. The Big Ten is going to be tough, but the two toughest games are on the road… meaning that the three easier games (especially given the injury to Rutgers star Adam Charalambides) are at home. U-M should be able to steal one of the three.

There’s only one other ranked team pre-season on the schedule, and that’s Notre Dame. If you assume losses at Maryland and Hopkins, and one at Notre Dame, then stealing at least one of the three home Big Ten games, taking care of business in the rest of the non-conference schedule should be able to pull together a solid record.

Cleveland State is an expansion program that will be playing its first game when the Wolverines come to town. Lafayette was a poor team last year, and has the added disadvantage of taking on Michigan in Oosterbaan. UDM and Bellarmine are long-time U-M rivals that they theoretically should have move past from a talent perspective by now. Mercer and Furman are relatively new programs, and though they’re building, Michigan is undefeated against them thus far in Division-1 existence. UMBC will have to make big strides, and Penn knocked the Wolverines off by two goals in Philly last year, so a trip to Ann Arbor may even things up a bit.

We’ve seen this team struggle against squads that shouldn’t give it trouble (though we’ve also seen the opposite, such as last year’s heart-breaker against Maryland), so you can obviously never count wins and losses before the season, but this should be a good bounce-back year.

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Detroit v. Michigan tickets on sale

Michigan Wolverines Detroit Titans Lacrosse Brad Lott Damien Hicks

Brad Lott (Michigan) and Damien Hicks (Detroit) take the opening faceoff in 2014.

The favorite (mostly) yearly event for this here blog takes place Feb. 15, and you can get your tickets now. From UDM media relations:

DETROIT (1/24/2017) — The University of Detroit Mercy men’s lacrosse single game tickets are now on sale for the two indoor games at Ultimate Soccer Arenas and the three contests at Titan Field.

Tickets start at $10 each for the two indoor games at Ultimate Soccer Arenas (Feb. 15 vs. Michigan at 7 PM and Feb. 23 vs. Jacksonville at Noon) and $5 each for the three home games on Titan Field.

The Titans also have a special February indoor ticket deal featuring both indoor games as you can buy tickets to both for just $15.

Tickets are available for purchase online as well as on gamedays. To purchase the special $15 ticket deal, you must call Director of Ticket Operations & Sales Justin Hairston at 313-993-1700 ext. 7301 or at hairstjj1@udmercy.edu.

The two previous indoor lacrosse games against Michigan have averaged over 1,800 fans so tickets are going quickly.

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The Next Level: Michigan natives playing Division-1 lacrosse in 2017

Updated 1/19: Added Keaton Mitchell at Mount St. Mary’s. Let me know if there’s anyone else I’ve overlooked. Numbers at the bottom updated accordingly.

Our annual look at Michigan natives who are playing college lacrosse at division-1 institutions this spring. From schools’ official rosters:

Bellarmine

  • Senior attackman/midfielder Graham Macko (Brother Rice)
  • Freshman attackman Morgan Macko (Brother Rice)

Binghamton

  • Junior midfielder Liam Reaume (Brother Rice)

Canisius

  • Sophomore defenseman Logan Monroe (Holt)
  • Junior midfielder Keith Pravato (Novi)
  • Senior faceoff specialist Steve Wizniuk (De La Salle)

Cleveland State

  • Freshman defenseman Levi Peterson (Holt)
  • Freshman defenseman Garrett White (Ann Arbor Pioneer)

Colgate

  • Freshman attackman Cooper Belanger (Detroit Country Day)

Detroit

  • Senior attackman Kyle Beauregard (Notre Dame Prep)
  • Junior midfielder Sean Birney (Detroit Catholic Central)
  • Freshman defenseman Nick Boynton (Troy Athens)
  • Junior midfielder Adam Findlay (Detroit Catholic Central)
  • Junior attackman Alec Gilhooly (Detroit Catholic Central)
  • Senior faceoff specialist Benjamin Gjokaj (Walled Lake Northern)
  • Sophomore midfielder Emmett Green (Birmingham Seaholm)
  • Freshman attackman/midfielder Blake Grewal-Turner (Okemos)
  • Freshman defenseman Jack Harrop (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s)
  • Junior midfielder Charlie Hayes (Utica Eisenhower)
  • Senior midfielder JD Hess (Birmingham Seaholm)
  • Sophomore defenseman Sam Horton (Okemos)
  • Freshman midfielder Alex Jarzembowski (Detroit Catholic Central)
  • Junior midfielder Brent Lubin (Orchard Lake St. Mary’s)
  • Junior midfielder Connor Maks (UD-Jesuit)
  • Senior midfielder Greg Marzec (Brother Rice)
  • Junior defenseman Bryan Matney (Ann Arbor Pioneer)
  • Freshman midfielder Jackson McElhenney (Birmingham Seaholm)
  • Sophomore midfielder Bo Pickens (Brother Rice)
  • Sophomore defenseman Austin Ross (Warren Mott)
  • Freshman midfielder Charlie Schiefer (Birmingham Seaholm)
  • Freshman goalie Logan Shamblin (Troy)
  • Freshman defenseman Travis Sparling (Novi)
  • Junior attackman/midfielder Adam Susalla (Birmingham Seaholm)

Drexel

  • Freshman faceoff specialist Ian Foster (East Lansing/IMG Academy)

Duke

  • Junior midfielder Matthew Giampetroni (Cranbrook)

Fairfield

  • Freshman defenseman Brian Cosgrove (Brother Rice)

High Point

  • Freshman defenseman Luke Cappetto (Brother Rice)

Manhattan

  • Sophomore midfielder Robert Carroll (Grosse Pointe South)

Marquette

  • Sophomore midfielder Bob Pelton (Forest Hills Northern)
  • Sophomore midfielder John Wagner (Cranbrook)

Michigan

  • Freshman midfielder Ryan Prior (Birmingham/Culver Academy)
  • Senior faceoff specialist Brian Archer (Brighton)

Mount St. Mary’s

  • Freshman midfielder Keaton Mitchell (Clarkston)

Notre Dame

  • Sophomore defenseman Michael Langdon (Cranbrook)
  • Senior midfielder Sergio Perkovic (Brother Rice)

Penn

  • Freshman midfielder Alex Minanov (Grosse Pointe Liggett)

Providence

  • Junior midfielder Josh Keller (East Grand Rapids/Kent School)

Richmond

  • Senior attackman J.P. Forester (Brother Rice)

Robert Morris

  • Freshman long-stick midfielder James Scane (Brother Rice)

Stony Brook

  • Sophomore midfielder Nathan Richards (Lapeer West)

Syracuse

  • Freshman midfielder Nick Martin (Detroit Country Day)

UMass Lowell

  • Sophomore goalie Grant Lardieri (Forest Hills Northern)

Yale

  • Junior midfielder Jason Alessi (Brother Rice)
  • Senior midfielder John Lazarsfeld (Ann Arbor Greenhills)

That’s 54 players at 23 schools, an improvement over last year’s 48 players at 16 different schools (adding new program Cleveland State, Colgate, Drexel, Fairfield, High Point, Penn, Robert Morris, and Stony Brook, while losing Rutgers and NJIT). Detroit accounts for 24 of this year’s players (44.4%), a slight decrease from 25 (52.1%) last year. An improvement in geographic diversity all around, even if it may come at the Titans’ expense.

As always, there’s a chance I’ve missed somebody – I’m particularly prone to doing it when a player went out of state for high school or came to Michigan from out of state for high school – so let me know in the comments if anyone is missing.

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Former GLS standouts in the pros

Two former Detroit Titans were selected in the MLL Supplemental Draft this afternoon:

DETROIT (12/14/2016) — Two Titans who helped the University of Detroit Mercy men’s lacrosse team capture a MAAC Championship and set a school record for wins will now have an opportunity to continue their careers professionally as Mike Birney (Plymouth, Mich. / Catholic Central) and Paul Bitetti (Plainview, N.Y. / Bethpage) were both chosen in Major League Lacrosse’s Supplemental Draft on Wednesday.

Birney was selected in the 11th round, 98th overall, by the Ohio Machine, while Bitetti was tabbed in the 13th round, 109th overall, by the Atlanta Blaze.

They are now the fourth and fifth players, respectively, to be drafted professionally joining Shayne Adams (second round, 21st overall, in 2015 by NLL’s Vancouver Stealth), Joel Matthews (fourth round, 31st overall, in 2012 by the NLL’s Buffalo Bandits) and Jordan Houtby (fourth round, 29th overall, in 2013 by the NLL’s Minnesota Swarm).

Birney provided one of the biggest highlights in Detroit Mercy history with his overtime goal to win the MAAC Championship in 2013. He was selected Second Team All-MAAC as a sophomore, junior and senior. In 2014, he was tied for second on the team with 18 goals and six were with the man-up, helping the Titan extra-man attack set a NCAA record in man-up offense efficiency (.586).

As a sophomore in 2013, he was the MAAC’s Most Outstanding Player in the conference championship after scoring eight goals in the event, including the game winners against Marist and Siena. He finished his career third in school history with 16 man-up goals, fourth in total goals (63) and hat tricks (8), fifth in points (89), and tied for seventh in assists (26).

Bitetti was one of the best defensemen in the MAAC during his four years and was selected All-MAAC First Team three times. He led the team with 17 caused turnovers and was fourth in the MAAC posting 1.42 caused turnovers per game as a senior in 2016. As a sophomore in 2014, he topped the squad with a career-high 24 caused turnovers and ended the season 12th in Division I and leading the MAAC with 1.85 caused turnovers per game.

A two-time team captain, he ended his career appearing in 52 games and tallying 55 ground balls and 59 caused turnovers, fourth in school history.

The duo helped the Titans reach the NCAA Tournament in 2013 after winning the MAAC as a four seed and upsetting top-seeded Marist in the semifinals and perennial MAAC powerhouse Siena in the title game. The pair was also a part of the program that defeated Ohio State in 2015 en route to a school-record eight victories.

Both players also earned the Academic Excellence Award, given to Titan student-athletes who achieved academic excellence during their time at Detroit Mercy recording at least a 3.0 GPA for every semester that they participated in college athletics. They were also four-time members of the MAAC Academic Honor Roll and the MAAC All-Academic Team.

Meanwhile, Michigan’s Kyle Jackson, who was selected in the initial entry draft, will stick with the Boston Cannons for the time being:

This has been your regularly-scheduled semi-annual post*

*Only sort of kidding.

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Michigan Lacrosse Officials Association training

A growing game needs a growing pool of officials. If you’re interested (or know somebody interested) in becoming one, it’s your time to shine. The MichLOA is holding a class soon, with registration available:

There is a new official’s training class being offered by Michigan Lacrosse Officials Association (“MichLOA”). We are currently recruiting new officials for the 2017 boys lacrosse season.

The class will be held on Saturday September 17th at Birmingham Seaholm HS (room C103). The class starts at 8:30 and will run until 1:00. Please arrive early.

In order to officiate youth or high school games you must complete new officials training!

You need to formally register and pay for the training class. To do so, go to www.michloa.org. There is a PayPal registration and payment likely under the new officials tab. Your $50 fee also includes your first years MichLOA dues.

It will also behoove you to register with US Lacrosse as a boy’s official as soon as possible. Go to www.uslacrosse.org to register.

Growth of the game in the state is one of the big missions around here, so get ready to help meet that end of you’re willing and able.

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2016 US Lacrosse All-Americans

List from the MHSLCA release, college commitments from the LaxPower database.

Cooper Belanger 2016 Attack Detroit Country Day School Colgate
Morgan Macko* 2016 Attack Birmingham Brother Rice Bellarmine
Riley North 2016 Attack Birmingham Brother Rice
Matt Solberg 2016 Attack East Grand Rapids Amherst
Michael Baccanari 2016 Midfielder University of Detroit Jesuit High School
Evan Dennis 2016 Midfielder Birmingham Brother Rice
Alex Jarzembowski 2016 Midfielder Detroit Catholic Central Detroit
Brian Cosgrove 2016 LSM Birmingham Brother Rice Fairfield
Jonathan Boos, Jr. 2016 Defense Detroit Country Day School Middlebury
Luke Cappetto 2016 Defense Birmingham Brother Rice
Andrew Clay 2016 Defense Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central
Matt Dolan 2016 Defense Detroit Country Day School
Ian Genord 2016 Defense Notre Dame Prep Indianapolis
Jack O’Hara 2016 Defense Birmingham Brother Rice
Ross Reason 2016 Goalie Birmingham Brother Rice
Jackson White 2016 Goalie Detroit Country Day School
Hub Hejna 2017 Attack East Grand Rapids
Jack Kelly 2017 Midfielder Birmingham Brother Rice
Patrick English 2018 Midfielder Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central Marquette
Bryce Clay 2018 Attack Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central

* Mr. Lacrosse.

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