It has been a tough stretch for the Michigan men’s lacrosse team over the past two weeks. It suffered a blowout loss to then-No. 5 Brown on March 12, and it failed to complete a comeback against Dartmouth on March 19.
Wednesday, the Wolverines had an opportunity to right the ship against Marist with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter. Holding a 6-3 lead, they looked primed to do just that.
But then, the Red Foxes mounted a comeback of their own, scoring three goals in just over six minutes to tie the score at six and force overtime.
With its back against the wall at a potential turning point in the season, Michigan needed some leadership from somewhere, anywhere, to score a goal and put the team on the right track. There was only one problem: The Wolverines’ two leading scorers, junior attacker Ian King and senior attacker Kyle Jackson, were watching from the sidelines with injuries.
The high-scoring tandem was replaced by a group of inexperienced freshmen and sophomores. Freshmen attackers Rocco Sutherland and Brent Noseworthy, along with freshman midfielder Decker Curran, compiled a combined three goals and two assists, but fell short of completely filling the hole that King and Jackson left behind. Marist ultimately topped Michigan, 7-6.
“I thought (Sutherland, Noseworthy and Curran) looked like freshmen at times,” said Michigan coach John Paul. “I think they’re capable … it’s the first time (they) have had this kind of weight on their shoulders. I thought they did some good things and made some good plays, but they also looked like it was the first time with this kind of weight on their shoulders.”
Despite the lack of offensive firepower for the Wolverines, they held up tough on the defensive end for most of the game. Junior goalie Gerald Logan faced 36 shots while allowing seven goals, and he stood toe to toe for most of the night with Marist goalie Brian Corrigan, who boasts the third-best save percentage in the country.
Additionally, like in Saturday’s game against Dartmouth, Michigan actually had the advantage in many statistical categories. Senior faceoff man Brad Lott won the faceoff battle again, and the team had the advantage in ground balls as well.
“I liked our energy today,” Paul said. “I thought it was a lot better than it was this weekend. That was something we focused on.”
Though the Wolverines now have a week and a half to right their wrongs and get healthier before their next game, their schedule doesn’t get any easier. The team prepares to welcome Maryland to Michigan Stadium on April 2.
“They’re certainly one of the best teams we’re going to face all year,” Paul said. “So we’ve got to get this past us, and we’ll see how tough we are on Monday.”
It is currently unknown when Jackson and King will be able to return, but while Jackson is sporting a walking boot and King is in a sling, Michigan will need to look to someone else to head in the right direction.