Despite reaching two milestones, there was little for the Michigan men’s lacrosse team to be excited about after the clock hit zero.
A matchup against the nation’s No. 1 team in Penn State (3-0 Big Ten, 10-1 overall), proved to be too much for the Wolverines (0-3, 3-8), as they dropped their seventh game in a row in a 17-7 defeat.
While Michigan looked to be in control during the game’s opening minutes, the Nittany Lions struck first with a man-up goal following a penalty on senior defenseman Nick DeCaprio. The Wolverines surrendered another goal from close range 30 seconds later, though they managed to slice the deficit in half on a transition goal from junior midfielder Avery Myers. Penn State barely flinched, finishing the quarter by scoring five consecutive goals, including four in the span of a minute and a half.
“We knew Penn State (would come) out firing,” said Michigan coach Kevin Conry. “They’ve pretty much outscored their opponents in the first quarter by a significant margin. …We knew we had to handle their pressure early and didn’t.”
While the Wolverines proved unable to handle Penn State’s pressure in the game’s opening frame, they strung together a run in the second quarter, outscoring the Nittany Lions, 4-2, and heading into the locker room trailing just 9-5. Myers notched an assist and scored two goals in the period, including one with ten seconds remaining after DeCaprio found him following a steal. The steal was one of eight forced turnovers by DeCaprio, who set the program’s single-game record for forced turnovers and enabled Michigan to earn a bevy of transition opportunities in the quarter.
“(He’s) great at pushing the tempo and getting upfield,” Myers said.
With 8:42 remaining in the third quarter, senior midfielder Decker Curran scored off a feed from freshman attacker Bryce Clay to register his 100th career point, becoming just the fourth player in program history to accomplish the feat. Penn State quickly rebounded — finishing the game on a run that saw it score seven consecutive goals and dominate time of possession — overshadowing Curran’s accomplishment.
“I’m not thinking about the accomplishment,” Curran said. “I’m thinking about how we can win these next two games.”