- Patrick Barron/Daily
BY DEREK HUTCHINSON
Daily Sports Writer
Published April 28, 2013
Coming off its first victory of the season last week, the Michigan men’s lacrosse team lost the final game of the year Saturday to No. 5 Denver, 12-4.
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Michigan enjoyed a hot start, jumping out to a 2-1 lead in the first quarter, thanks to goals from freshman midfielder David Joseph and sophomore attacker Mike Francia.
“Our morale was really good all week,” said Michigan coach John Paul. “It’s always great when you work hard all week and it is validated early in the game.”
It appeared that the early success would carry into the first break, but with one second remaining in the first period, Denver’s Taylor Young scored the tying goal that turned out to be a major turning point in the game.
Denver seemed to feed off the last-second goal as they dominated the second quarter, scoring four unanswered goals to take a 6-2 lead into the half. The final goal of the half came with only six seconds remaining, as the late-clock struggles continued for Michigan.
“This seemed to happen a lot,” said sophomore attacker David McCormick. “Seems like we haven’t gone on many offensive runs this year but other teams have on us, and today it was definitely a game-changer.”
Though Michigan was down four goals at halftime, the deficit could have been much worse. After the slow start, Denver went on to dominate possession of the ball for the majority of the first half, outshooting the Wolverines by a count of 29-11 and winning all but one faceoff.
Just over a minute into the second half, Michigan appeared ready to make a push, as McCormick scored to pull his team within three goals. But much like in the first half, Michigan’s success was cut short by a Denver run. The Pioneers scored three goals to finish out the quarter and never looked back, leading 9-3 going into the fourth.
The transition from one of the best club teams in the country to Division I has been difficult for Michigan lacrosse. With the loss, it finished with a record of 1-13 for the second consecutive year. This season, Michigan joined the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference but failed to tally a win in its first year, finishing with a conference record of 0-7.
Next season, with most of the major contributors returning, and another year of Division I experience under its belt, the team hopes to make a bigger improvement than it saw between the last two seasons. Adding a second recruiting class to the likes of Jackson and Logan should make that job easier, especially if Paul can return some of his veteran leaders like senior midfielder Thomas Paras, who has a year of eligibility remaining.
“We definitely have a lot of things to work on,” McCormick said. “But with more experience that we have and better talent coming in from recruiting, I think things are going to clean up a lot in the coming years.”