- Allison Farrand/Daily
By Mitch Beckman, Daily Sports Writer
Published April 27, 2014
Scanning through the Michigan women’s lacrosse’s season schedule, one might cringe at the early results. Lopsided losses are frequent near the top of the list, which is understandable for a team of freshmen playing their first varsity season.
But what a difference a few months can make.
The Wolverines (4-12) ended their regular season by routing Fresno State, 19-6, at Michigan Stadium, their third win in four games. The early season tribulations seem to have paid dividends as the season comes to a close: the team of freshman has posted a 4-4 record in its last eight games, an impressive feat for a team that began the year by losing eight consecutive games.
“We’ve learned and grown so much from the very first game,” said Michigan coach Jennifer Ulehla. “The four wins were really just out of the experience we gained throughout the season.”
Against Fresno State (2-13), the Wolverines took control from the start. Midfielder Jess Angerman scored her first goal after a tenacious ride forced a turnover, then added her second moments later.
Fresno answered, but simply couldn’t keep pace for the next 10 minutes as the Wolverines ran out to a 7-2 lead thanks to two goals from Tess Korten, and one goal apiece for Allie Breitfeller, Braur and Suter. Fresno threatened with a three-goal run, but Michigan responded with four more goals before halftime to alleviate any pressure.
“I was really pleased with the start,” Ulehla said. “We talk a lot about playing 60 minutes, and part of that is coming out hard, which we haven’t done a lot this season, so it was nice to see.”
The second half saw the emergence of the Wolverine defense, which frustrated the Bulldogs at all turns, giving up only one second-half goal. Goaltender Allison Silber made nine saves, three of which came early in the second half to keep Fresno State from cutting into Michigan’s lead.
“Defensively, we really stepped up and were more communicative,” Silber said. “I think I made improvement between the two halves. I really came out stronger in the second half.”
With the clock winding down and the Wolverines in control, Ulehla had the opportunity to put in players who generally spend most of the game on the bench. Goaltender Sydney Franko, who has played behind Silber virtually all season, entered the game with two minutes left and made a save on the only shot she faced.
Aside from Franko, attacker Sarah Lugo scored her first career goal with just 16 seconds remaining on a free position opportunity, and Amanda Sutor notched her first career multi-goal game.
“It was awesome when we got Sydney Franko in,” Silber said. “I was so excited, and now she has a 100 percent save average.”
The win over Fresno ended the regular season on a high note for Team One, which will go on to play Ohio State in the first round of the American Lacrosse Conference playoffs. Though its last game with Ohio State ended in an 18-3 loss, Michigan is no longer the group of young freshmen the Buckeyes saw early in the season.