With under eleven minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Michigan men’s lacrosse team went man-up following an unnecessary roughness penalty by St. John’s midfielder Dylan Willis.
The Wolverines’ offense spun the ball around until freshman attackman Bryce Clay found senior midfielder Brent Noseworthy with his hands free on the right wing. A time-and-room shot primed and ready, Noseworthy cocked back his arms and fired a lefty side-arm shot past goalie Brody Agres to extend the Wolverines’ lead to four goals, 11-7.
With this goal, his second of the day, Noseworthy surpassed 2017 graduate attackman Ian King to become Michigan’s all-time leading goal scorer, notching 95 goals during his career as a Wolverine thus far.
Six additional goal scorers accompanied Noseworthy to lead Michigan past the Red Storm 16-11 on Saturday. Senior midfielder Decker Curran led the way for the Wolverines with four goals, while Clay and sophomore attackman Kevin Mack each reeled in hat tricks also.
Despite his monumental accomplishment, to Noseworthy: “It was just another game for us.”
“He would shrug it off and say ‘We won, that’s all I’m happy about,’” added Michigan coach Kevin Conry. “He embodies that humble attitude.”
In a way, Noseworthy was right.
In its past three games, Michigan had cumulatively outscored its opponents 10-2 in the first quarter.
At the end of Saturday’s first quarter, the Wolverines led 6-2, with their early success featuring a pair of goals scored within a minute of one another by sophomore attackman Alex Buckanavage and a Noseworthy goal to tie King’s record with less than three minutes remaining in the quarter.
Spreading out their offense and drawing out defenders, Michigan exploited the St. John’s defense with persistent cuts and ball movement that set up offensemen with several shot opportunities right on Agres’s doorstep.
“This game was about patience,” Conry said. “With the first three games, we were taking the first shot instead of the best shot and not really working the shot clock.”
Eight of the Wolverines’ eventual 16 goals featured assists from seven different players, illustrating the indoctrination of a selfless playing philosophy within Michigan’s team culture.
“(Humility) is one of our core values,” Conry said. “We really do preach it and believe in it. And our guys really embrace that.”
Although the Wolverines jumped out to an early lead, the Red Storm would not fold easily. In the first two minutes of the second quarter, attackman Jonathan Huber scored two consecutive goals, the latter coming in transition following a Michigan turnover, to cut the Wolverines’ lead to two, 6-4.
Throughout the rest of the first half, both high-flying offenses exchanged punches. However, with under two minutes remaining, Noseworthy found Mack right at goal-line-extended, who tiptoed around the crease and snuck in a goal past Agres to restore Michigan’s lead to three, 10-7.
The Wolverines momentum carried into the second half with a trio of goals to further extend their lead, 13-7.
Strong faceoff play by junior Matt Dellacroce, who went 16 for 30 at the X and scooped up 12 ground balls, allowed Michigan to dominate time of possession in the second half and produce numerous opportunities for the offense.
“Having the ball so much was huge,” Noseworthy said. “(Matt) did awesome and gave our team a big boost that was needed.”
On the defensive side of the ball, the Wolverines improved significantly. In transition, an aspect of the game they struggled in through their first three games, they successfully cleared the ball 19 of 23 times. Standout performances by senior defenseman Nick DeCaprio, who picked up four ground balls and shut down Red Storm midfielder Mike Madsen, and graduate goalie Tommy Heidt, who notched 12 saves on the day, proved essential to Michigan shutting down a high-scoring St. John’s offense.
In a game highlighted by an incredible achievement for Noseworthy, the Wolverines shined as a unit from top to bottom.
“I can’t do any of that by myself. I’d say 95 percent on the goals are assisted from great plays by teammates. … I owe it to them,” Noseworthy said. “Everyone knew their job and executed well.”