Of Warriors and Wolverines

Black Shoe Diaries, which is in all likelihood the most popular Penn State blog on the internet, recently took umbrage with an article published by Rivals affiiliate Blue & White Illustrated regarding lacrosse recruiting. The offending portion was the mention that Birmingham Brother Rice maintained a #1 national ranking in high school lacrosse this year. BSD is right in pointing out that this is an erroneous statement, and takes the opportunity to ruminate on high school lacrosse, the viability of varsity D-1 programs in the midwest, and the possibility of a varsity program at Michigan in the future. HOWEVA, BSD is making some assumptions (and drawing conclusions, etc.) that simply don’t hold true.

Brother Rice LacrosseBrother Rice

The BWI article spoke thusly: “All-Americans Nick Dolik (attack) and Danny Henneghan (midfield) will bring championship experience after leading Brother Rice to the No. 1 national ranking this year.” Black Shoe Diaries pointed out the error in this statement by pointing out that Rice finished #21 in a year-end power poll. They go on to say that they dominate Michigan competition, but wouldn’t stand a chance out East. So the Warriors didn’t finish this year #1 in the nation. BWI regrets the error, since the #1 ranking for Rice was not this year, but last year. And the year before. And the year before that. Yes, until this year, Rice was 3-years running considered the best lacrosse team in the nation. BSD: “Geekness aside: only historians in the great state of Alabama would ever consider Brother Rice a national champion.” Except for those three years that they were, apparently. Even in a down year, the Warriors still managed to crack the top-30 among the 3,037 schools in America playing lacrosse. These are not scrubs.

Also, KevinHD, you may have heard of Warrior Lacrosse (for those who aren’t familiar, it’s the largest (only?) reputable manufacturer of lacrosse gear). Huh, what a coincidene, it shares a name with the mascot of Brother Rice. Coincidence this is not. Warrior Lacrosse was founded by a Brother Rice alumnus, and is based in Warren, Michigan. Brother Rice is indeed a lacrosse school, despite being some 500 miles from the Atlantic Ocean.

Varsity Lacrosse in the Midwest

Black Shoe Diaries says that there’s no way Rice possible could put out enough prospects to fill a full team, noting that the OSU Buckeyes have only 1 player from the Great Lakes State, and only 5 from the Buckeye State. This is qualified with “There are probably some Michigan natives out east, I don’t feel like looking through any more rosters…” This is in relation to a later point I’ll be covering, but I digress. Perhaps you should have spent the time to look through some of those rosters, because they’re littered with players from Michigan in general, and Brother Rice in particular. The least you could have done was look at THE TEAM WHO WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, for god’s sake. The National Champions from Syracuse have three players from Michigan on their roster.

Let me give you a little background for those who don’t know: Division 1 lacrosse teams are allowed by the NCAA to give out 12.6 scholarships. These are generally divided up in partials, unlike football and basketball. Brother Rice’s team in 2009 has 13 players committed or signed to play with Division 1 schools (sadly, the source for this is an article in the Oakland Press that I read in an actual newspaper, and can’t find in a quick search of the internets). So, Brother Rice has more Division-1 players than a Division-1 team. Way to do the homework before running your mouth, Kev.


Wolverine and Brother Rice Alumnus Riley Kearns

Michigan Lacrosse

The Michigan lacrosse team is ridiculously successful at the club level, but is nowhere near the quality of a top-notch D-1 varsity team. Kevin says the midwest ain’t big enough for the 4 of us (the existing three varsity teams in the midwest are OSU, PSU, and Notre Dame – we’ll not mention the potshot he takes at Detroit Mercy in its first year of lacrosse, which took leftovers not from Maryland and New York, but from Michigan State, the second best CLUB TEAM in Michigan). Michigan will have to resort to hoping their terrible players from Michigan will be able to compete with real life lacrosse players from out East, because the Wolverines will never be able to recruit the East coast against other D-1 programs. Never mind the fact that, even without being able to give them scholarships, the club team has players from Virginia, Colorado (along with Michigan and California, probably the most lacrosse-enlightened state outside of the East coast), New York, Florida, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Missouri, Maryland, Washington DC, and Connecticut. No, why worry about “facts?”

The truth of the matter is, if the Wolverines were to make the jump to varsity at some point in the near future, they’d be well-positioned. No, immediate success wouldn’t come, but there are certainly some factors working to their advantage. Aside from the aforementioned recruiting hotbed in Oakland County (Birmingham Seaholm and Detroit Country day also produce a number of D-1 players, and Orchard Lake Saint Mary’s is a program on the rise), the team would have the most financially-stable athletic department in the nation backing it, the world’s foremost lacrosse manufacturer just a stone’s throw away, and by the time the leap was made, one of the best lacrosse-specific facilities in the nation will likely be completed (boy, do I ever wish that link went to the blueprint, because it’s awesome).

So basically, don’t talk if you have no clue what you’re talking about and have no interest in researching the actual acts. kthxbai.

For the record, I’m no Brother Rice homer, and the opposite is more likely to be true. That said, you can’t downplay the team’s quality, unless of course you ignore reality.

Posted under Other Sports

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: 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.

Posted under Football