- James Coller/Daily
By Minh Doan, Daily Sports Writer
Published April 6, 2014
With a little more than two minutes left in the game and the Michigan men’s lacrosse team down by one, Fairfield midfielder Drew Frederico had the ball on the right hash mark, with Wolverine junior midfielder Thomas Orr between him and the goal. With a spin move, Frederico beat Orr before cocking back his stick and firing a laser over his left shoulder and into the back of the net for the Stags.
Defeated, Orr dropped to the ground in angst. Frederico had just killed any chance of a Michigan (1-2 Eastern College Athletic Conference, 4-8 overall) comeback after No. 15 Fairfield’s only goal of the second half.
The score was just enough for the Stags’ triumph over the Wolverines on Saturday afternoon, 9-8.
In accordance with its recent trend, though, Michigan started off the game poorly.
Sophomore faceoff man Brad Lott went 1-for-6 in the first half and the Wolverine offense made passing mistakes in the offensive zone, as the team struggled to find its footing at the beginning of the game.
“Lott had a couple of faceoff violations early,” said Michigan coach John Paul. “It really set him back and slowed him down today.”
The first two goals of the game came from Fairfield attackers Trevor Sperry and Dave Fleming, before Michigan struck back with a goal from Wolverine freshman midfielder Mikie Schlosser.
The two teams traded goals to end the first half, leaving Michigan down just 3-2 — even after the barrage of mistakes it had made throughout the first quarter.
The second quarter was different.
With the Wolverines still looking to find their footing in the game, Fairfield scored five goals in the quarter, with the last coming just three seconds before the halftime whistle. The Stags took an 8-4 lead into the locker room.
“At halftime, I told the guys the goals were going to come,” Paul said. “If we started to get a couple more posessions from faceoffs, we were going to have an opportunity to close the gap.”
After the break, Michigan seemed to find the on switch and played a much better half, starting with a snipe from fifth-year midfielder Thomas Paras with less than two minutes gone in the stanza.
The Wolverines added two more goals from the sticks of Schlosser and sophomore midfielder Kyle Jackson to close the gap to one with almost a whole quarter left to go in the game.
But both defenses held their ground and the game was scoreless for more than 12 minutes in the quarter.
Frederico’s goal broke the scoreless drought before Michigan redshirt freshman midfielder David Joseph rocketed a shot from the point to cut the deficit to one and make the last 90 seconds of the game intense.
“Joseph is an explosive athlete,” Paul said. “He’s the fastest guy in every game we play so he has the capability of scoring and we need him to do that.”
But Fairfield escaped with a one-goal win.
With a growing team in just its third year as a varsity program, Paul looks for positives in each game, and on this day, it was the defense.
Not only did the defense hold the No. 15 program in the nation to fewer than 10 goals, but it also killed two man-up situations — one of which came when the Wolverines were down two men.
“We really just asked the defense to step up this week,” Paul said. “And they did.”
With three games and the ECAC post-season tournament looming, the Wolverines know they need to start playing consistent lacrosse.
And this game was a good start, despite the defeat.
“We played well, and come the next couple games, teams aren’t going to want to play us because we’re going to come out strong as we have been,” Joseph said.