Michigan: MCLA National Champions!

helmet-logoWith a 12-11 victory over Chapman in a game that was eerily similar to the teams’ first meeting this year, the Michigan Wolverines have been crowned the 2009 MCLA National Champions.

More analysis to come tomorrow, but the comeback victory was thrilling, can’t-miss television. Here’s to a 3-peat in 2010!

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Michigan Beats Colorado, On to Final

Colorado Wrap

Michigan Lacrosse takes the field against ColoradoFor the first time in the MCLA Tournament, Michigan’s offense didn’t allow the opposing team to get an early lead. Trevor Yealy got on board within a minute and a half of the game’s start, and Clark McIntyre added a tally of his own within another minute. The teams traded goals before Michigan finally got a little bit of space, taking an 8-4 lead into the halftime break. After the half, it was all Michigan. The Wolverines put 9 more goals on the board, while only allowing 3 more tallies by Colorado (2 of which came within a minute of the end of the game, when the outcome was no longer in question). In net, Mark Stone played the first half, while Andrew Fowler played a strong second half for the Wolverines. Though he didn’t tally a point for the Wolverines, David Reinhard was one of the most important pieces in the game, winning almost 70% of his faceoffs and helping the Wolverines keep possession as much as possible. Offensively, Riley Kearns led the way with 3 goals (one of which was quite the highlight: a jump shot from a very tight angle coming around the back of the net) and assists on goals by Jordan Kirshner and Svet Tintchev. David Rogers, Trevor Yealy, and Clark McIntyre also scored multiple goals for Michigan.

MFlowBlue RecapOfficial Recap

Chapman Preview

Another round, another past opponent for the Wolverines. They’ll face Chapman at 7PM Mountain (9 Eastern) on the stadium field at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

At A Glance. Chapman enters the contest with a 16-2 record. The Panthers’ only losses on the year came at the hands of Michigan and BYU, so they’re attempting to work the revenge tour in reverse order during the MCLA tournament. They went 5-0 in the Southwest Lacrosse Conference, and won the conference tournament by downing Arizona and San Diego State by lopsided counts.

Common Opponents. Michigan and Chapman, on top of playing each other (more on that later), faced several of the same teams over the course of the year. The Wolverines and Panthers both played the University of Arizona at neutral site, and each came away with a lopsided win (Chapman won 17-3, Michigan won 14-3). Chapman beat Texas 14-4 at a neutral site in Southern California (Michigan beat the Longhorns 11-5 on Tuesday in Denver). The Panthers took down Colorado State 15-5 at home and 9-8 in Denver (Michigan took down the Rams 16-3 in Oosterbaan). Michigan’s rival BYU Cougars were the only other team to beat Chapman, winning 10-7 in Provo, but losing in the MCLA Tournament yesterday in a 10-9 overtime thriller (Michigan beat BYU 14-11 in their only meeting this year). Michigan and Chapman both beat UC-Santa Barbara by identical 7-5 scores.

Stars. Chapman’s attack is led by the SLC Offensive Player of the Year in Connor Martin, who notched 46 goals and 29 assists for the Panthers this year. He was joined on the All-SLC first team by fellow attack Marcus Wooden, who scored 34 goals and dished 16 assists. At midfield on the all-conference team, Derek Mills and Mike Clayton, who scored 41 and 27 points, respectively, represent the Panthers. Andrew Salcido represented the team on defense. David Reinhard should have quite the challenge at the “X,” as Chapman’s faceoff specialist, Chris Small, also landed on the first team. Neither of Chapman’s goalies, Daniel Kirkpatrick and Jason Kho, landed on the top 3 all-conference teams.

When Last We Met. In a game televised nationally on ESPNU (albeit on tape delay of a couple months), Michigan took down the Panthers at Chapman Stadium. The Wolverines trailed 8-4 minutes before halftime, but Riley Kearns brought the score within 3 just before the half expired. Michigan took over in the second half, outscoring Chapman 8-2. Faceoff specialist David Reinhard can be credited with helping the Wolverines maintain momentum, winning faceoff after faceoff in the second half, and giving his team a “make-it, take-it” advantage. Against SLC 1st-teamer Christopher Small, he won 62.5% of the time, an outstanding success rate. Trevor Yealy (5), Kevin Zorovich and Anthony Hrusovsky all notched hat tricks for Michigan in the game, with all of Hrusovsky’s goals coming in the second half. Marcus Wilson scored 5 goals and Connor Martin scored 2 for the Panthers.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, 7MDT/9EDT. The crowd at last night’s game was a little sparse, so I encourage any Michigan alumni or fans in the Denver area to head out and support the team tonight. If you can’t watch in person, the game will be televise once again on Fox College Sports Atlantic, or streaming on the FCS website. I plan to host another CoverItLive chat here.

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Lacrosse in the National Semifinals

As I’ve been posting about over the past couple days, the Michigan lacrosse team is not only participating in the MCLA National Tournament, but also excelling in Denver. They defeated Texas and Sonoma State over the first two rounds, and will face Colorado in the semifinal game. Before we start to look forward, let’s recap the past couple games.

Michigan 11-5 Texas
Has has been the case several times this season, the Wolverines got off to a slow offensive start when they faced the Longhorns. However, the defense was similarly slow-starting on this day, allowing Texas to take a 3-1 lead before the Michigan team started humming. Michigan scored the next 5 goals and never looked back. In the second half, Michigan got off to another slow start offensively, but they didn’t allow Texas to score and were able to work through the offensive slump, scoring 3 in the quarter. Though Trevor Yealy led the team (and the nation) in scoring this season, it was senior Peter Vasher who was the offensive star on this day, scoring 5 goals for Michigan. It’s a shame he was hurt for much of the year, because the Michigan offense could have benefitted from another bigtime scorer. Mark Stone played the first 3 quarters in net for Michigan, and Andrew Fowler played the fourth.

MFlowBlue recapOfficial recap

Michigan Lacrosse SunsetMichigan 22-6 Sonoma State
Perhaps inspired by their own lackadaisical first half effort against Texas, Michigan was determined not to have a slow start in round 2 against the Seawolves of Sonoma State. As the sun set on Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, Michigan led 3-1 just 5 minutes into the game, on their way to a stunning 17-4 lead… at halftime. Michigan’s defense was operating as efficiently as its offense, and to quote @UMichLacrosse “Eylachar: One man clearing machine.” Trevor Yealy scored 5 for the Wolverines, Riley Kearns and Wes McGowan each completed hat tricks, Kevin Zorovich had 4 points for Michigan, and 11 different Michigan players scored in all. Mark Stone and Andrew Fowler split time in net, with Stone getting the starting nod. Michigan scored their second-highest output of the year, trailing only their 33-8 pounding of Eastern Michigan on March 20th, by putting 22 goals on the Seawolves. Of course, they probably could have scored many more, given the uneven distribution of goals over the halves.

MFlowBlue recapOfficial recap

As we enter the third round of the tournament, Michigan will finally face an opponent that they’ve already seen before in the Colorado Buffaloes. The game will take place tomorrow night at 8PM Mountain time (10Pm Eastern) in the stadium at Dick’s Sporting Good Park.

Colorado finished the season 15-6, with a 5-0 record in the Rocky Mountain Lacrosse Conference, with a nailbiter 11-10 loss to BYU in the conference final. Their body of work over the season earned them an at-large bid to the MCLA Tournament, and the national #5 seed. An 11-3 decision over UCSB got them through the first round, and they took down #4 Minnesota-Duluth in round 2 for the right to face Michigan.

Michigan thrashed the then-#4 Buffs 13-4 in the home opener at Oosterbaan Fieldhouse. Michigan led 9-2 at halftime, adding a 4-2 second-half advantage as well. Trevor Yealy, Aaron Hodari, and Riley Kearns had 5, 3, and 2 goals for Michigan, respectively. 4 different Colorado players scored. In addition to facing each other earlier this year, Michigan and Colorado also had several opponents in common. CU lost 11-3 to Michigan State (Michigan pounded the Spartans 21-9), beat BYU 10-8 in Provo and lost 11-0 at a neutral site (Michigan prevailed 14-11 in Ann Arbor over the Cougs), lost a home game 8-7 to Sonoma State (Michigan beat them on a neutral field yesterday by a rather lopsided score – see above), and beat Colorado State 11-4 (Michigan won 16-3 against the Rams).

James Blackburn led Colorado in scoring on the year, notching 36 goals and 14 assists. Behind him were Darren Hulick and Joel Packer with 33 and 31 goals, respectively. Josh Albrecht and Tyler Snyder each had 23 point for Colorado. In net, senior Kevin Moriarty played the majority of the year, but 3 freshmen also saw duty for the Buffaloes. Against Michigan, Blackburn, Hulick, Snyder, and Michael Emerson each scored a goal. Moriarty played almost the entire game, before taking a penalty with just over a minute to go, and Will Brown was placed between the pipes.

Who’s Left?
One of the advantages of playing a tough schedule over the course of the year is that Michigan has already faced every team left in the bracket. Aside from Colorado, who they’ll play tomorrow, (2) BYU and (3) Chapman will square off in the other semifinal game. Michigan beat Chapman 13-10 in Orange, CA, and took down BYU 14-11 at Oosterbaan. Neither team will be a mystery to Michigan, nor are they a mystery to each other. They played in Provo at the end of the regular season, and Chapman walked away victims of a 10-7 defeat at the hands of the Cougars. BYU and Michigan are the only two teams Chapman lost to this year.

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Michigan 22, Sonoma State 6

Michigan advances to the semifinals with a 22-6 victory over the SSU Seawolves. They’ll have a day off, then face Colorado, whom they beat 13-4 earlier this season.

More comprehensive recap (of each of the past 2 games), along with a Colorado preview, coming tomorrow.

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Michigan: CCLA Champs

Michigan Lacrosse 2009 CCLA ChampionsWith a win over the Buffalo Bulls yesterday, the Michigan men’s lacrosse team has won the CCLA for the third year running, and completed its second consecutive undefeated season, as they head into the national tournament.

The Wolverines got off to a slow start offensively, as they were unable to get any good shots off despite controlling possession most of the time. Kevin Zorovich broke the seal, collecting a rebound and depositing it in the net for a 1-0 Wolverine advantage. He again scored as the clock hit 0 on the first quarter, from a Harry Freid steal at midfield and a long pass down near the crease. Buffalo’s best scoring opportunity during the first quarter was a long attempt at an empty net, as goalie Mark Stone was marking a forward on the 10-man ride. However, the shot sailed wide to the ride, and Michigan escaped unscathed.

Early in the second quarter, Trevor Yealy got on the board. Following the Yealy goal, Buffalo had a number of man-up opportunities due to a rash of Michigan penalties, but the Bulls couldn’t muster a serious scoring chance. Later in the quarter, Jamie Goldberg scored from the left side of the net, but it was disallowed, as the referee determined his toes were in the crease. David Rogers made up for it moments later, as he zipped a shot past the goalie on the run, giving Michigan a 4-0 lead. Shortly thereafter, Buffalo had their best scoring opportunity of the game, as a fairly open look beat Stone, but clanged off the left post and away from the goal. However, they maintained possession and were able to finally get on the board. David Reinhard won the ensuing faceoff, and found Trevor Yealy in front of goal, but Trevor’s shot was blocked. Michigan maintained possession, and Svet Tintchev was able to give Michigan the 5-1 advantage.

In the second half, a Buffalo player went down with an injury (and an oblivious Bulls fan was screaming at the ref (a common condition for them, apparently) to stop play, as Buffalo had an open scoring chance), and before play was stopped the Wolverines committed a penalty, giving Buffalo the man advantage. A Buffalo Turnover led to a shorthanded goal by Trevor Yealy (from Zach Elyachar), and Aaron Hodari followed it with a nice juke around a defender going for the big hit, and adding a score of his own. Finally, the floodgates started opening for Michigan, as a Wes McGowan shot on the doorstep of the goal was saved, but Josh Ein scooped up the rebound and dished to David Rogers for an easy goal. Another scary moment for Michigan came when Buffalo yet again launched a long shot on an empty goal against the 10-man ride, but it went wide, and a second opportunity by the Bulls went wide as well. Once the Wolverines regained possession, they took it to the offensive zone, and Josh Ein, from behind the net, found Riley Kearns streaking towards the goal, and found him for the score. On the ensuing faceoff, Buffalo took one of their few faceoffs of the day, and scored their second goal, cutting the Michigan lead to 9-2. The Wolverines were not to be deterred, however, as Aaron Hodari bounced in a long jump shot, and Anthony Hrusovsky pinged one in off the right post. Trevor Yealy added his 3rd and 4th goals of the game before the end of the period (with the 4th coming with 1 second remaining), and the Wolverines led 13-2 heading into the fourth quarter.

Sophomore goalie Andrew Fowler started the fourth quarter in net, and was tested early, as an unnecessary roughness and a slash against the Wolverines put them 2 men down. However, Fowler came through for Michigan, saving an open shot from 10 feet away. One of the highlights of the game came shortly after that, as Josh Ein received a long clearing pass, and went in on goal. He spun through (and was hit by) several Bulls players just outside the crease, but somehow managed to hold onto the ball, whish he gave to Clark McIntyre -for immediate deposit only. Following the goal, Ein’s equipment was checked by an incredulous referee crew. When they detemrined that the stick was legal, there was a rousing round of applause from the Michigan fans. Ein got one of his own off a feed from Michael Bartomioli moments later. Closing out the scoring for Michigan was Colin Bayer, who scored backhanded, backing in on goal.

Following the game, 11 Wolverines were given their all-conference recognition, with Trevor Yealy and Zach Elyachar taking home Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year awards, respectively.

Photo by Martin Vloet for Michigan Lacrosse.

Up Next
The Wolverines now head to Denver for the MCLA National Championship, in which they will be the #1 overall seed. The tournament pairings were released this morning, and Michigan will take on the #16 seed Texas Longhorns next Tuesday (May 12) at 4PM. The site will be Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, which has 24 full lacrosse fields, plus the main stadium itself, the home of the MLS Colorado Rapids. I’m hoping to find someone knowledgable about Texas Lacrosse for a preview, so if anyone out there in the ether has a connection, let me know.

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Men’s Lacrosse Advances to CCLA Finals

With a 20-6 victory over the Central Michigan Chippewas at Saline High School yesterday, the Michigan Lacrosse team has fought their way into the Championship Game in the CCLA conference tournament against Buffalo, to be played today at Saline High School’s East Stadium at 3PM. Come support the team against the Bulls, and cheer them on to their 3rd consecutive conference championship (and 37th straight win overall).

Central Michigan
The Chippewas got on the board first, and Michigan had a rough time getting started, but once they did, it was all Wolverines, as they demoralized the Chippewas 20-6 (in their previous meeting, Michigan had won 21-4). Mark Stone got the start in goal for the Wolverines, but fellow sophomore Andrew Fowler was able to get some time in net, playing the entire fourth quarter.

Trevor Yealy and Wes McGowan led the team in goals with four apiece, and David Reinhard, who dominated on faceoffs as per usual, was able to take the bench in the second half, while sophomore Edward Ernst got a bit of game action.

Up Next
Today. 3PM. Saline High School. Conference Finals. Buffalo.

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Michigan v. IU Photo Gallery

From Sunday’s game. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then this slideshow is worth about half a normal Formerly Anonymous post.

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Men’s Lacrosse Weekend Report

Stormy WeathaaaThe Great Lakes Lacrosse Classic didn’t go off quite as expected, as the weather in Birmingham didn’t quite cooperate. However, the teams were not to be dissuaded from playing, and managed to squeeze in the game between a number of rain delays.

Michigan State
Official recapPhoto gallery
Michigan prevailed over the “home team” Spartans at the neutral-site venue of Birmingham Seaholm High School. After a lightning delay pushed the start of the game back until about 8:15, the Wolverines came out rusty, and looked out of sorts for the first few minutes, allowing Michigan State to get on the board first. However, that would be the closest State got to tasting victory against the in-state rivals.

Trevor Yealy started taking over, as he so often does, and completed a hat trick with over 3 minutes left to play in the first quarter. The second was perhaps the most impressive, as it was a diving effort from the left side of the net, as he was taking a big hit from a Spartan defender. Clark McIntyre, David Rogers, and Peter Vasher also scored for the Wolverines, before the game was delayed yet again after a particularly loud thunderclap.

The delay lasted from about 9pm until about 10:30, and Michigan again came out of the locker room needing to shake off a little rust. Though Peter Vasher re-opened the scoring, the Spartans added back-to-back goals to bring the game within 4 goals at 7-3. However, Michigan started to roll after that, scoring goal after goal, with few interruptions by the Spartans. By the end of the third, they held a 14-6 lead.

The Wolverines added 7 more goals in the final quarter of play, and finished the game on the winning end of a 21-9 margin. Yealy finished with 8 goals, and goalie Mark Stone made a career-high 18 saves. Fellow goalie Andrew Fowler made a brief appearance while recovering from a stress fracture in his foot, as Stone left the game for 50 seconds due to a minor injury of his own.

Lacrosse updates, now serving video! A healthy tip of the hat to MFlowBlue and Wes McGowan for bringing it to my attention and creating it in the first place, respectively.

Michigan Men’s Lacrosse vs. Michigan State from Wes McGowan on Vimeo.

Up Next
The CCLA conference tournament tees of in Saline this weekend. The Wolverines have a first-round bye, and will face the winner of Friday’s Pitt/Central Michigan game on Saturday at 4pm. The Wolverines did not face Pitt this year, but bested the Chippewas 21-4 in their only meeting this year. For the complete bracket, check out the CCLA website.

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Men’s Lacrosse Weekend Report

So, this is odd to do after a weekend in which the team didn’t play, but here goes. 

A replay of the victory over Chapman aired yesterday on ESPNU at noon. This is notable in itself, because club sports are rarely on television at all, much less one so niche-oriented as lacrosse. Most Michigan Lacrosse fans hadn’t had a chance to see the game, myself among them. The game was a tale of two halves between the then-#1 (Chapman) and #2 (Michigan) teams in the country. Of course, as the Wolverines are still undefeated and this game happened over spring break, Michigan ended up victorious. However, it didn’t look like that would be the outcome at halftime. With less than 30 seconds to go in the first half, Riley Kearns scored an unassisted goal for the Wolverines, but they still trailed by 3 at the break.

The second half was a completely different story. Chapman came out of the locker room looking to maintain possession, and do everything they could to keep the Wolverines off the board. However, Trevor Yealy and Anthony Hrusovsky were ably to break through early in the 3rd quarter to bring the game within a goal. Chapman responded with two goals of their own, re-widening the lead to three. It was all Michigan from there, though, as the Wolverines notched 4 goals before the third quarter ended, to take a one-score lead into the final frame. In the fourth, they were the ones maintaining possession and killing time, though they managed the stretch the final lead to 13-10.

Michigan got hat tricks from Yealy (5), Hrsovsky, and Kevin Zorovich, in addition to single goals from Kearns and David Rogers. Mark Stone started the game in net, but was replaced by fellow sophomore Andrew Fowler after allowing 5 goals in the first period. Fowler allowed just 5 through the remainder of the game. Perhaps the star of the game for Michigan, or at least one of the men who helped turn the tide in the second half, was faceoff specialist David Reinhard. He finished the game 15-25 at the “X,” and gave Michigan momentum throughout the third and fourth quarters, as they would score a goal and get the ball right back, thanks to Reinhard.

Up Next
After a much-needed rest, Michigan returns to action this weekend at Birmingham Seaholm High School against Michigan State. The neutral-site contest is known as the Great Lakes Lacrosse Classic, and starts at 7PM. The Wolverines would certainly benefit from a sympathetic crowd, though the game is technically hosted by the Spartans.

The following week is the MCLA conference tournament at Saline High School. More information to come on that as seedings and game times are released, following this weekend’s play.

A tip o’ the hat to Brian at MGoBlog for bringing MFlowBlue to my attention. The site is a Michigan lacrosse blog, run by a gentleman with the handle “nstandif,” who we can assume is injured Wolverine midfielder Nick Standiford, and features highlight videos of several games by Sick Lax Productions (aka Wes McGowan). If you’ve never had the chance to check out the lacrosse team, this will certainly give you an opportunity to see what they’re all about.

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Men’s Lacrosse Weekend Report

The Lacrosse team had yet another undefeated weekend, but I only managed to catch one of the games, so I’ll only report on that one.

Western Michigan
On a cold an blustery night at Vicksburg High School (where Western plays their home games), the Wolverines allowed the Broncos to get on board first, but that was the only time they really threatened the entire night, as Michigan stormed back, eventually taking the 15-4 victory. With fellow goalkeeper Andrew Fowler on the sidelines with a walking boot and crutches, sophomore Mark Stone played the whole game in net, coming up huge a few times for Michigan. The margin of victory could have been much bigger for the Wolverines had the Bronco goalkeeper, Patrick Riley, not made a few spectacular saves of his own. Trevor Yealy led the Wolverines yet again, as he finished his hat trick in the first quarter, and tacked on one more later in the game. Riley Kearns and Kevin Zorovich each put 2 on the board, and sophomore LSM Matt Asperheim was able to notch his second goal of the year as well. Late in the game, the Wolverines played for possession, content to not run up the score (their coach must be less of a dick than Colorado State’s, as JP seemed eager to score as many as possible on the Rams). The fourth quarter passed by scorelessly, and several Michigan bench players got significant playing time. This leads me to the matter of the Western fans, who were… well, they’re what I would expect Western Michigan fans to be. They were actually complaining at the end of the game about Michigan not running up the score, because they wanted to see the teams “just play lacrosse.” Of course, they couldn’t manage to say this without lacing the sentence with profanity. Late in the third quarter, Michigan midfielder Michael Bartomioli was victimized by a very solid (clean) hit right near midfield. He was knocked flat on the ground, but immediately got back up and continued playing. When he came off the field about three minutes later, the Bronco fans were so classy as to yell that he was coming off the field because he couldn’t handle the physical play (which, what? he kept playing after the hit), and call him a “f****** p****.” I assume it was all Barto could do to not turn around and point to the scoreboard in retaliation. You stay classy, Kalamazoo.

As this game took place in Lake Forest, Illinois, and I was otherwise occupied with attending football’s spring game, I didn’t manage to catch the 12-5 victory over the #16 Illini. From the sounds of it, the first half was a little contentious, but then the Wolverines were able to pull away in the third quarter.

Up Next
The Wolverines have a weekend off (perhaps much-needed, considering all the players who seem to be banged up), before they face Michigan State April 25th in the Great Lakes Lacrosse Classic in Birmingham at Seaholm High School. The following week, it’s the CCLA conference tournament at Saline High School.

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