Wolverines show signs of promise in loss to Yale

Wednesday, February 28, 2018 - 7:58pm

Junior attacker Brent Noseworthy led Michigan's attack in its 15-11 loss to No. 11 Yale.

Junior attacker Brent Noseworthy led Michigan's attack in its 15-11 loss to No. 11 Yale. Buy this photo
Prashanth Panicker/Daily

Things began to fall apart for the Michigan men’s lacrosse team just three minutes into the second half of its game against No. 11 Yale.

Junior midfielder Decker Curran had just scored his second goal of the game, giving the Wolverines (2-2 overall) a 9-6 lead over the Bulldogs (1-1). From there though, Yale asserted itself offensively, outscoring Michigan, 9-2, the rest of the way to earn a 15-11 win. The Bulldogs’ onslaught seemed to indicate just how far the Wolverines are from becoming an elite college lacrosse team.

“We’re a work in progress,” said Michigan coach Kevin Conry. “I think that’s something that we reiterate every single day. We are a work in progress. The product that we have right now is not going to be the product that we’re going to be in two weeks, three weeks or by the time we get to Big Ten play.”

From the start of the game, onlookers could tell it was going to be a back and forth affair. A minute into the game, Yale scored. Junior attacker Brent Noseworthy answered shortly after with his ninth goal of the season. At the end of the first quarter, the score was 4-2 in favor of the Bulldogs.

The goals kept coming in the second quarter as the Wolverines went on a run catalyzed by their attack, outscoring their opponent 6-2 going into the half. Noseworthy and freshman Alex Buckanavage each scored twice in the second, while freshman Kevin Mack had a goal and an assist.

“Anytime you put that one-two punch (of Buckanavage and Mack) on the field you feel pretty good,” Conry said. “Then when you add a savvy veteran like Brent Noseworthy to kind of settle some things down and be opportunistic like he is, that really kinda ties it altogether. Certainly in the scoring column we feel pretty confident in the growth of those young guys.”

The second half went much poorer for Michigan. Ten turnovers from the Wolverines and Yale midfielder Conor Mackie’s ability to win faceoffs were both reasons why. The prolific attack from the first half also seemed to sputter out, as Michigan scored just three goals on fifteen shots in the final two quarters.

“When you play top-10 teams, top-20 teams, your mistakes, those little miniscule mistakes that you can get away with in practice, or when you go up against the back half of Division I, you can’t make those against these guys,” Conry said.

Ultimately, a young and fairly inexperienced Wolverine team just made too many mistakes in the 15-11 loss Saturday. But Conry, in his first year with the team, seems optimistic. The team has suffered two losses in a row now, but both have been to ranked opponents. The new coach thinks these hard-fought defeats give his team a great opportunity to grow.

“We have a passionate group,” Conry said. “We have a bunch of guys that want to learn and get better. We’re going to keep moving forward and learn from these mistakes.”