When the Michigan men’s lacrosse team sprinted to its freshman goalie after the final buzzer, it was not only celebrating its first win of the season, but also supporting one of the most important pieces to its success.

Supported by the 16 saves of goalkeeper Gerald Logan, the Wolverines defeated Marquette, 14-6, in their opening exhibition game of the 2013 season. After recording only one win last year — their first season as a varsity team — this year’s team is poised to take another step forward. A victory over the Golden Eagles is one small step on the path to success.

“I think it’s just every day working hard,” said senior captain and midfielder Thomas Paras. “Obviously, we would like to improve on our win column from last year, but coach (John) Paul just always stresses just get better every day. The wins will take care of themselves.”

The wins should be a more common occurrence this year, especially with the programs first-ever recruiting class. The freshmen have already made their mark on the team, beginning with Logan.

After giving up the first goal of the game, he tightened up the rest of the way, making multiple kick saves and body saves. During one stretch, he saved three shots from within five feet of the goal.

“I was pretty nervous (to start the game), not gonna lie,” Logan said. “That’s why I had butterflies. I feel like a lot of other guys did as well. Some of the veterans who have been here for a while didn’t have that at all. But the younger guys, especially, were extremely excited to get on the field.”

Unlike Logan, freshman midfielder Kyle Jackson got off to a hot start from the opening whistle. After Marquette got on the board first, Jackson scored the next two goals, sparking a 5-0 Michigan run. His second tally, the most impressive one, was set up by a spin move that left a defender grasping for air.

Joining Jackson in the scoring punch were senior midfielders Willie Steeland and junior midfielder Tom Sardelli. Steeland had three goals and one assist, while Sardelli added two goals. Offensive scoring wasn’t the only thing these upperclassmen brought to the team — they also brought experience.

“I think it’s all going uphill from here,” Parras said. “Especially getting last year under our belts, seeing how hard we have to work and how good we have to be every single day. No days off really. I think that’s kind of the mentality our team has taken.”

After rolling off five consecutive goals, Michigan allowed Marquette to score twice before halftime, with one coming during a man advantage. After the half, Michigan was able to up its three-goal halftime lead to seven by scoring five of the next six goals. Freshman midfielder Dan Kinek put the game out of reach by scoring a transition goal.

The Wolverines later beat Denison 11-4 in a three-quarter scrimmage after their first game. Michigan will host Penn State on Saturday in its official season opener.

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