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Michigan falls short in first ECAC battle

Patrick Barron/Daily
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By Derick Hutchinson, For the Daily
Published February 17, 2013

Despite a hot start, the Michigan lacrosse team dropped its first conference game, 12-6, to Bellarmine on Saturday in Louisville, Ky.

The Wolverines (0-1 ECAC, 0-2 overall) jumped on the Knights (1-0, 2-0) with three quick goals in the first five minutes. Sophomore attacker Andrew Pornoy scored his first goal of the season just 48 seconds into the game, and senior midfielder Thomas Paras followed up with two goals of his own just 40 seconds apart to force an early Bellarmine timeout with 9:58 remaining in the first quarter.

“We were just running the offense,” said freshman attacker Kyle Jackson. “Everybody was clicking right off the bat. We had a ton of energy right off the bus.”

Bellarmine answered quickly out of the timeout with goals from midfielder Cameron Gardner, attacker Lance Robinson and attacker Dylan Gatt to tie the game by the end of the first quarter.

The Knights’ momentum carried into the second quarter, as two more goals from Gardner and one from midfielder Bobby Schmitt completed a 6-0 Bellarmine run.

“That was one thing that really hurt us,” Paras said. “That’s something to work on going forward. We need to be able to stop teams from going on those runs before goals really start to pile up.”

Added Jackson: “We need to be able to score a goal to end runs. That’s pretty much the only thing that’s going to stop them. It took us a while to get that goal today.”

The Wolverines ended the run before the half when freshman attacker Peter Kraus tallied his first career goal in his debut to cut the deficit to 6-4 at the break.

Michigan pulled to within one less than four minutes into the third quarter, as Jackson scored his first goal of the game.

Shortly thereafter, a Paras shot attempt to tie the game was saved by Bellarmine’s goalkeeper Dillon Ward, who cleared the ball to Schmitt. A few seconds later, Schmitt assisted Gardner’s fourth goal — a crucial exchange that left Michigan down 7-5.

Michigan was unable to recover, as Bellarmine broke the game open with four goals early in the fourth quarter, including the fifth of the game from Gardner, who was unstoppable against the Wolverines.

“He shot the ball really well and got a lot of opportunities in transition,” Paras said. “He had a great game, all credit to him.”

Michigan scored its final goal with 9:37 remaining, when Jackson converted for his team-leading fourth goal of the season.

Knights’ midfielder Karsen Leung capped off the victory with his first score just 1:13 before the final horn.

Perhaps the biggest problem for the Wolverines was the fast-paced offense of Bellarmine. The Knights were able to score within 10 seconds of a Michigan turnover on two separate occasions, and they scored the game’s pivotal goal just 13 seconds after a Michigan shot was saved by Ward.

“We have to be able to control the tempo,” Paras said. “Playing at (that pace) is not what we’re trying to do. We can’t let them play the way they want to.”

The most impressive display of pace, though, was the four-goal stretch that Bellarmine used to put the game away in the fourth quarter. All four goals were scored in a total of 1:06.

“Slowing things down would have been great,” Jackson said. “By the time we (took possession), we were so anxious to try to end the run that we kept turning the ball over.”

One positive for Michigan was the return of freshman faceoff specialist Brad Lott, who evened up the faceoff battle that the Wolverines lost in his absence against No. 15 Penn State in their season opener.

“We know that he’s our best faceoff option,” Michigan coach John Paul said. “This was his first test and he’s got a long way to go but he is obviously talented and he’ll help us a lot.”

Freshman midfielder Mike Hernandez also made his season debut and played a significant role, dishing out two assists.

Michigan received a scare with five minutes remaining in the game when freshman goalie Gerald Logan — who had 17 saves on the day — walked off the field after laying a hit on Gatt. Paul said he doesn’t consider the injury to be serious but won’t know for sure until Monday.

Michigan hits the road for a tough test against No. 4 Johns Hopkins on Saturday — the Wolverines’ first-ever game against the Blue Jays.

“They’re a great, established team,” Paras said. “We need to make sure we play our game and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to play them.”


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