Down by only one with 13:50 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Michigan men’s lacrosse team (0-3 Big Ten, 3-8 overall) was in position for a possible upset. The Wolverines were on the road against Ohio State — a team they had never beaten — playing in front of about 55,000 fans at Ohio Stadium in the Showdown at the Shoe. Playing before the Ohio State football team’s spring game, the lacrosse teams faced off, and many fans showed up early to cheer on the lacrosse team.
Unfortunately for Michigan, though, one goal was as close it got in a 10-7 loss to the Buckeyes.
Two minutes after the Wolverines’ sixth goal cut the lead to one, things began to go awry for Michigan when Ohio State responded, making it 7-5. The game was still in reach, but Michigan couldn’t afford to let up another.
Soon after the Buckeyes’ seventh goal, they found the back of the net for their eighth. Things continued to get worse for the Wolverines, as Ohio State scored the next two goals to take a 10-5 lead with four minutes remaining, all but etching an “L” in the record books for Michigan.
Michigan coach John Paul didn’t think the problems were exclusively rooted in the fourth quarter.
“It was the mistakes we made in the second and third quarter, where maybe we could have created some separation in the game, and we didn’t,” Paul said.
The Wolverines started off strong, despite giving up an early goal. Two quick responses by Michigan sophomore attacker Patrick Tracy and freshman defenseman Peter Brown gave the Wolverines a 2-1 lead. The teams traded goals at the end of the quarter, at which point Michigan held a 3-2 lead.
The second and third quarters were less favorable for Michigan, though. Ohio State scored four unanswered goals, turning the Buckeyes’ one-goal deficit into a three-goal lead.
Despite the run, the Wolverines didn’t give up. Sophomore midfielder Sean McCanna notched a goal in the dying minutes of the third quarter — narrowing the deficit back to two — before freshman midfielder Decker Curran added another to close the gap to one.
The score could have been worse, though, if not for the efforts of redshirt junior goaltender Gerald Logan, who saved a season-high 19 shots on the day.
“I thought our effort was outstanding all day,” Paul said. “(Logan) had a pretty special day, but everybody played hard. We’ve been struggling the past few weeks with (junior attacker Ian King and senior attacker Kyle Jackson) out, trying to find a consistent offense. We haven’t found the answer there yet.”
The Wolverines’ season isn’t over yet, but the next two games will likely be even tougher. They play No. 14 Johns Hopkins on Saturday, before facing No. 13 Penn State. To qualify for the Big Ten Tournament, Michigan must win both.
Despite that daunting task, Paul is still excited about the rest of the season.
“Our teams are pretty resilient,” Paul said. “The guys are obviously down right now. It’s tough to lose to Ohio State, it’s tough to lose a close game and it’s tough to lose in that setting. I have no doubt they’ll be ready to work again on Monday.”