Throughout the Michigan men’s lacrosse team’s season, the Wolverines have often relied on only a few players for scoring.
Sunday told a different story. Eight different players reached the back of the net, including hat tricks from sophomore attackman Josh Zawada and sophomore midfielder Jake Bonomi, making it an all-around team effort, as Michigan (2-5 Big Ten) used strong second and third quarters to propel it to a 13-10 road victory over Johns Hopkins (2-5).
The first quarter was evenly matched with both teams finding chances. Scoring came in spurts, including one 15-second stretch during which the Wolverines and Blue Jays combined for three goals. The game looked to be a back and forth scoring affair after a 3-2 Blue Jays first quarter lead.
The first five minutes of the second quarter followed the same script, with each team scoring two goals. But Michigan took over the remainder of the quarter by scoring the next two goals while junior goaltender John Kiracofe made five of his 16 saves in the quarter.
“I give John a lot of credit, he’s really grown into that role,” Michigan coach Kevin Conry said. “We always knew John had the talent and the intangibles. His leadership is why we went with him in the first place. And now you are starting to see the confidence kind of come out. He has worked incredibly hard to put himself in a position to be a high caliber goaltender, and he showed it today.”
Going into halftime, Michigan led the Blue Jays 6-5. But with 14 turnovers in the first half, the Wolverines wanted to reinforce their game slightly.
“I give a lot of credit to Johns Hopkins as they were doing some nice things that they were able to get to our hands,” Conry said.
Michigan’s halftime adjustments worked as it was very effective with the ball, committing just six turnovers in the second half as well as converting on all nine of its clearing attempts. In the third quarter, the Wolverines added three more goals to make for a 6-0 scoring run, resulting in a 9-5 Michigan lead.
“The guys played not to lose, but to win,” Conry said. “When you start playing to win you just kind of feel the mojo. You snap the ball a little bit more and you run to space and so it was just more efficient.”
Johns Hopkins settled in, going on a 5-2 scoring run to cut the Michigan lead to just one with four minutes left. But Michigan regained the momentum, scoring the final two goals to secure the victory.
“(Junior attackman Bryce Clay) didn’t really show up in the stat sheet that much, but his ability to move off the ball was a big reason why Jake Bonomi gets open or (grad student midfielder Avery Meyers) gets a shot,” Conry said.“It is more about our unselfish play and how hard we work. I think at the first meeting, we felt offensively we were very stagnant, and I give (assistant coach Justin Turri) a lot of credit for getting these young kids to good spots where they are moving effectively.”
Michigan hopes to learn from this win as it goes up against Maryland next weekend and looks to establish a winning streak.
“The biggest thing is to learn from a win,” Conry said. “I think this young team’s handling of success is something that we haven’t been great at. Learn from a win.”