- James Coller/Daily
By Minh Doan, Daily Sports Writer
Published March 25, 2014
Last season, the Michigan men’s lacrosse team ended the year with just 90 goals scored.
With five games left in the current season, the Wolverines have already totaled 100, thanks to a new and improved offense implemented by assistant coach Ryan Danehy. Michigan has also recorded the most wins in program history.
The biggest change Danehy made to the offense was speeding up the offense after two seasons of slowing the play down to get into a rhythm.
It has made all the difference.
The Wolverines have become more efficient on offense, posting their largest scoring output despite 40 less shots on goals than last season.
Danehy, in his second year with the program, also credits a year of experience to help familiarize himself with the team as a key part to the offense’s improvement.
“My first year here, we had to evaluate what we had,” Danehy said. “I had to evaluate what (the player) could handle and what their strengths are. You usually don’t learn that after the first fall season, you learn it throughout the first year.”
Now, with a year under his belt, Danehy has been able to tinker with his offense and add new intricacies such as more ball handling and dodging from the wings, which has made the offense much harder to plan against.
“Dodging for the wings has made us a more dangerous team,” said junior attacker Will Meter. “It’s harder for teams to play us because they have to prepare for so many different looks from us.”
Danehy has also paid more attention to which of his players are most successful and puts them in those positions during the game to maximize their time on the field. A byproduct of this mantra has been barrage of scoring from many different players, leading to a more balanced attack.
“We have very versatile players,” Meter said. “We have (midfielders) who are fine with taking the ball behind the net and dodging and attackmen who are fine with outside shooting.”
Michigan has had 18 different goal scorers compared to 15 a year ago, and the scoring has been spread out relatively even.
Danehy also credits the level of talent on the team for the success that it has had so far, especially the incoming freshmen. The newcomers have started to figure out the offense and have gone away from their usual style of play, where they were used to doing everything for their high school teams and taking a majority to the shots, to being patient, passing the ball and finding the best shot on goal.
Currently, five freshmen have tallied a point this season — most notably attacker Ian King, who has scored a team-high 21 goals this season, and midfielder Mikie Schlosser, who scored the game-winning goal against Bellarmine two weekends ago for the Wolverines’ first Eastern College Athletic Conference win.
King has also benefitted from a much improved man-up offense— which Danehy has sped up, allowing players like King to have more lines to shoot.
“When you give (King) a lot of time and room, which a man-up situation gives him, that’s a deadly situation for the other team,” Danehy said. “When he gets his hands free and gets his shot off, there’s a good chance the ball is going in the net.”
The offense has much improved from a season ago and with the brunt of the Eastern College Athletic Conference schedule coming up, the Wolverines are going to need all the offense they can get to make it to the postseason tournament.