For a Michigan men’s lacrosse team that desperately needed a win, a matchup with a perennial powerhouse was the last thing it needed.
The Wolverines (7-4 overall, 0-2 Big Ten) lost to No. 1 Maryland (9-0, 2-0), 20-12, extending its season-worst losing streak to four games. Despite some strong individual performances in all phases of the game, Michigan was overpowered by the Terrapin’s lethal, top-ranked attack.
“We have to worry about us,” Michigan coach Kevin Conry said. “We haven’t played our best lacrosse. We’re making little detailed mistakes, and Maryland doesn’t do that … It’s just details and execution.”
The mistakes came at both ends and overshadowed any bright spots. Defensive lapses and offensive stagnancy kept the game out of reach, dashing Michigan’s hopes of upsetting the top team in the country.
One clear positive was energy at the point of attack — much of which came from different sources. Freshman attacker Ryan Cohen and sophomore midfielder Isaac Aronson combined for seven goals, marking each of their highest-scoring performances to date. Sophomore attacker Michael Boehm had two, also notching three assists.
“A lot of the stuff that worked was when we stuck with the game plan,” Aronson said. “We gotta take advantage of matchups. We saw a big advantage behind the goal with our trapping and picks, and we tried to get the best shots with that.”
But that offensive effort wasn’t enough to compete with the Terrapins, and the Wolverines trailed for 54 straight minutes to end the game.
Even while trailing, sophomore goaltender Shane Carr had another strong outing to anchor the defensive end — making 13 saves — but Michigan struggled to disrupt the Terrapin’s offensive sets. The Wolverines had a difficult time creating turnovers and ending possessions, leading to a 50-shot game from Maryland.
“They’re such a dynamic and dangerous offense,” Conry said. “If you let them have it and take a shot with 50 seconds left on the shot clock, they’re just going to bury it down our throats.”
Those opportunities were also fueled by struggles in faceoffs. A week after securing 20 of 30 against Johns Hopkins, Michigan won just 17 of 36.
Another departure from the Hopkins game was schematic: The defensive unit played the whole game in man-to-man sets versus Maryland after its zone had fallen apart the week prior. Michigan initially appeared comfortable with the adjustment, but apparent communication issues and inability to win one-on-one matchups kept the Terrapins in control.
“We liked our one on one matchups specifically in the midfield,” Conry said. “If you look at who’s been scoring the one-on-ones we’ve lost, they’re attackmen.
“We knew that if we let them have their hands free and dip the ball around there, they’re really good lacrosse players who are really skilled and play really well together.”
Attackers did score the majority of Terrapin goals, but the Wolverines just couldn’t keep up in those one-on-one matchups.
“We’re here to build a culture of success and it starts with the little battles,” Conry said. “There’s a lot of really positive stuff to take away from this game, and we’re going to digest it and then flush it down the toilet.”
And that struggle defined the game for Michigan. Improvements in every phase were encouraging for the growth of the young program, but they were far from enough against the nation’s top team.