The Michigan men’s lacrosse team has struggled to find consistency in the last few weeks, going 3-3 over its first six games. And despite its best efforts at a comeback, the team fell short once again on Saturday, losing to Dartmouth, 13-12.
The Wolverines had a chance to tie it up after trailing 13-7 midway through the fourth quarter when a late-game flourish brought them within one goal. After senior attacker Kyle Jackson scored to make it 13-12, senior forward Brad Lott won the resulting faceoff, his 19th such win of the game. The Wolverines were able to maintain possession until a scramble in front of the net ended with the Big Green scooping up the ball and running out the clock.
“I do think that this team, when it gets into scramble mode and just starts going and ratchets up the intensity, can be a pretty good lacrosse team,” said Michigan coach John Paul. “We’ve got to find a way to get that level of intensity and fire through the whole game.”
Michigan was led in scoring by Jackson and fellow senior attacker Peter Kraus. The pair scored half of the team’s goals, tallying three apiece. The hat trick for Kraus was his second of the season.
“He’s a tremendous player in practice and on the field,” said freshman midfielder Justin Gibbons. “He’s always working hard. He’s one of our best riders. He’s always going 100 percent, and that kind of leadership, as a senior, has been beneficial to everybody.”
The Wolverines’ deficit late in the game was a result of their slow start in the first quarter. Though it scored the first goal, Michigan allowed five straight goals from Dartmouth and found itself in a hole heading into the second frame forcing it to play catch up the rest of the game.
The Wolverines were successful in their catchup efforts in the middle stages of the game. They outscored the Big Green, 3-1, in the second quarter, and the two teams played even in the third. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that Dartmouth pulled out to its biggest lead.
“When we look back at the first quarter, we’re going to see that we weren’t playing very good defense, for one,” Paul said. “We really felt like we were creating some offense for them by when we were sliding and how we were sliding. And, offensively, we turned the ball over a few times unforced. We can’t have empty possessions.”
Even though the game was heartbreakingly close for the Wolverines, they are already looking forward to their next bout, a Wednesday night game against Marist, and beyond.
“That’s definitely a team we can beat.” Kraus said. “It’s the last non-Big Ten game, so we definitely want to get a ‘W.’ After that, we’ve got the weekend off, so we’ve got time to get healthy for the Big Ten season.”
Michigan will attempt to bring the intensity that they showed at the end of the game to the rest of its games this season. If they are unable to, the Wolverines will find themselves in the same situation that they saw on Saturday: in need of a comeback.