Fast start carries Wolverines past Titans
The Michigan women’s lacrosse team started strong and never let its foot off the gas in a dominant 21-11 victory over Detroit Mercy (2-5) at Oosterbaan Field House on Wednesday night. It was Michigan’s final tune-up before it begins Big Ten play on Saturday against Ohio State.
The game saw senior attacker Jess Angerman score her 100th career goal, joining fellow senior attacker Kim Coughlan as the only Wolverines in program history to reach that landmark.
The game could not have started off any better for Michigan (2-7), which won the opening draw and proceeded to launch a six-minute assault on the visiting Titans. By the time Detroit gained possession for the first time with 24:15 remaining in the first period, Michigan had already poured in six goals. All six were scored by senior midfielder Anna Schueler, senior attacker Tess Korten, Angerman and Coughlan, who have scored 68 percent of the total goals in the program’s history.
“We were 1-7 going into the game and knew it was going to be important that we just set the tone and got out to a great start,” said Michigan coach Jennifer Ulehla. “So it didn’t surprise me, and I think we were doing really well on the draw, so getting the possession and getting down.”
After building a 10-2 lead with 12:30 left in the first period, the Wolverines became too relaxed and allowed Detroit to close the gap at the end of the half. Less than a minute into the second period, the Titans had pulled within five.
“We never really were in a rhythm defensively in that first half, and it’s tough when you go out and the ball hasn’t really come down your way for quite some time and then it comes down,” Ulehla said. “It wasn’t until I called that timeout and really set them straight as far as how we were playing was unacceptable, and it just wasn’t Michigan defense. I think that kind of woke them up a little bit.”
From that point forward, the Wolverines returned to the dominant form they had displayed at the start of the game. With the game out of Detroit’s reach midway through the second period, Ulehla had the chance to give the younger players some playing time. Nineteen players saw the field throughout the game, and sophomore midfielder Grace Hemmer, sophomore midfielder Megan Schulte and freshman attacker Lilly Grass each scored their first career goals.
“I think some of these individuals are going to play key parts in the future of this season, not to mention next year,” Ulehla said.
With this victory under their belt, Michigan now sets its sights on its Big Ten schedule. Now in their fourth year as a varsity program, the Wolverines are still searching for their first conference victory. They will have an opportunity to get that monkey off their backs this Saturday against archrival Ohio State in Columbus.
“I think this win is a good confidence boost for us in kind of trying to bring all those small pieces together that we’ve been working out for the entire season,” Angerman said. “A lot of energy came from this game and a lot of people did great things today, from the bench and on the field, so hopefully it brings a lot of passion and energy going into Ohio State.”