Despite allowing an early goal and starting off slow offensively, the Michigan men’s lacrosse team (2-0) dominated Lafayette (0-1) 17-6 on Saturday.
After going scoreless through the first six minutes of the quarter, the Wolverines found their footing and jumped to a 6-1 lead to end the first quarter, fueled by three goals from senior attackman Ian King.
King put a poor first game behind him, in which he was held scoreless, finishing with five goals Saturday. And in contrast to last year, when the Wolverines started the season 1-2, Michigan has started this season hot.
Michigan looked to start the second quarter better than it started the first, but its offense came out stagnant once again. Lafayette scored the first goal of the quarter, and the Wolverines struggled to find the back of the net for the first eight minutes. Much like the first quarter, though, once Michigan got the ball rolling it did not look back, leading Lafayette 11-4 at halftime.
While the Wolverines faced difficulties at the start of those quarters, Michigan coach John Paul put an emphasis on finishing out quarters strong and keeping momentum.
“The first goal doesn’t matter so much,” Paul said. “We are more focused on closing out quarters, and that’s something I thought we did a pretty good job of today. You just keep confidence high and know that what we came in planning to do is going to work and it did.”
The Wolverines went on to continue their late-quarter pushes, closing out the last five minutes of the second frame, 4-1, the last three minutes of the third quarter, 2-0, and the last five minutes of the fourth quarter, 3-1.
Dominating performance aside, every win has its caveats.
One such caveat for the Wolverines was penalties. Four of the Leopards’ six goals came on man-up chances, and Lafayette finished the game with eight man-up opportunities. In total, Michigan had nine and half minutes of penalties, five of which came in the fourth quarter alone.
However, Paul did not seem worried.
“You’d always prefer to rein it in if you’re playing a little too physical than try and get the guys to play more physical, so we were certainly the more aggressive, physical team tonight,” Paul said. “I think what we have to learn from this is you have to get a sense of the way the game is being called and then adjust your game a little bit to how it’s being called, and that’s the lesson we are going to take away from this.”
Michigan will look to keep up the offensive firepower and physical play on defense while limiting penalties as the early part of its season progresses.
“This is by no means a perfect performance,” Paul said. “We have a lot to work on. We improved from last week to this week, which we needed to do, and now we have to improve before our next game Wednesday and that’s really the only focus now. We have to keep getting better.”