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Michigan lacrosse loses first game in two years, rebounds two days later

BY BOBBY REEDY
Daily Sports Writer
Published April 12, 2010

It had been two years and 329 days since the Michigan men’s club lacrosse team had lost a game. In the 2007 National Tournament, the Wolverines lost a consolation match on May 16 to Georgia. The next day, the Wolverines defeated Colorado 13-8 and began an MCLA-record 49-game winning streak.

On Friday night, No. 1 Michigan took its winning streak to Colorado with the goal of reaching the half century mark in consecutive wins against the same team that started the streak — the unranked Buffaloes, who had lost their previous four contests.

It didn’t happen.

Colorado stunned the Wolverines by a score of 12-10 and sent shockwaves through the MCLA by ending the streak.

Michigan made sure to redeem itself two days later, beating No. 2 Colorado State 10-6.

“In the warm-ups (against Colorado) we definitely were a little quiet, maybe a little flat and I take responsibility (for) that factor in the sense (that) I should have brought the team in,” senior captain David Rogers said. “I should have helped make sure everybody was focused and let everyone know that we’re not invincible and we can lose. We were complacent going into the game and it cost us.”

Colorado jumped out to an early lead and never let go. They took a 5-3 lead into halftime and Michigan had its first halftime deficit of the season. The Buffaloes' lead grew to seven in the fourth quarter and they were able to hold on after the Wolverines rattled off five unanswered goals.

“It was my first time ever losing at Michigan,” junior goalie Mark Stone said. “After the game all the players come and meet the goalie. As a goalie, it was a hard loss because you wanted to put so much pressure on yourself to win the game for the team and we were just lacking all around. After the game, the whole team came together, we all kind of embraced and one of the players gave a nice speech about how we have to come together and how it’s just a loss."

For a large majority of the team, it was their first time losing while wearing the winged helmets. Not a single member of the junior, sophomore or freshman class had ever lost a game at Michigan.

“(The players) were devastated,” Michigan coach John Paul said. “It was a shock and it was a tough pill to swallow for a lot of them for about 24 hours. But once they reflected on it and started to understand why it happened they got past it pretty quickly.”

The Wolverines have won two national championships in a row and have beaten the nation’s best club teams throughout the streak, which is why Friday night’s loss came as such a shock. Colorado had been ranked No. 7 to begin the season but quickly fell down the rankings as it lost five of its first seven games.

“This wasn’t about a team that was better beating us," Rogers said. "This was about us not playing to our potential and us not bringing the proper amount of focus and respect to the game. I don’t think this was a disheartening thing where we are starting to doubt how talented we are as a team."

Two days later, Michigan took on No. 2 Colorado State. The Rams brought a 12-0 record into the game and had just thrashed Colorado 13-6 the week before.

“Right when we came out to do our stretches we had a chip on our shoulder that we had to go out and play that game,” Stone said. “Kids were getting really pumped during warm-ups and you just knew it was different than that CU game. For me personally, I just wanted to make sure to make every save to make sure we won this game.”

Knotted up at 5-5 going into the fourth quarter, Rogers got the ball rolling with his second goal of the game as the Wolverines scored five straight goals to assume a commanding lead of 10-5 with 6:10 left in the matchup.

“It was good to see the team recover like that,” Rogers said. “CSU was the perfect team for us to play after the disappointment on Friday. You don’t want to play a cupcake. You want to play a team that is going to challenge you and test your character and you really get a chance to see what you’re made out of. I think we did that and (the win) reinforced the fact to us that we are a good team and we are very talented and we still have the tools to accomplish our goals in May.”