These Wolverines don’t know what it’s like to lose. After all, the Michigan men’s club varsity lacrosse team has had two straight undefeated seasons and won the last two national championships.

Michigan is currently in the midst of the longest winning streak in Men’s Club Lacrosse Association history. Three times in a row the team has captured the conference championship, eight times in the last decade.

Such a streak of dominance and success may breed complacency and weaken the drive in any athletic program. But Michigan coach John Paul insists complacency won’t be a problem.

“These guys are so motivated, and I think (a problem with complacency) is almost the opposite,” Paul said. “They’ve had two such amazing years that they’re so afraid of underachieving or of not repeating (as national champions) that they are hyper motivated and sometimes we almost have to rein them in a little bit.”

“The coaches won’t allow it,” Senior captain midfielder David Rogers said. “The captains and the leadership on this team will not allow it,” Rogers said. “People ask us all the time, how do you keep the drive? Every season is different. We do not think about three-peating as much as we just think this is one season and we are going to work as hard as we can to accomplish our goal.”

Michigan’s goal is to retain its status as the national champion and defend its title successfully for a second time. Despite the two-year unbeaten streak, the team does not see remaining undefeated as a team goal.

But, both Paul and Rogers agree that it is imperative that the Wolverines are playing at their highest level come the MCLA National Tournament in Denver starting May 11.

To get to its highest level, Paul believes that Michigan must become more consistent in a number of areas. The special teams play, particularly the extra-man team, need to improve from last year and is beginning to show progress already, according to Paul.

“The biggest thing for us last year was turnovers,” Paul said. “We had set a goal to be under twenty turnovers every game and we only made that once out of twenty games. We got close a lot, but that’s something we want to show up [more consistently].”

Michigan remains a strong favorite to win its conference for the fourth straight time. Of the five teams in Michigan’s conference, only No. 20 Michigan State is ranked in the preseason poll.

The team does have a tough road to the championship though. Ranked No. 1 in the country, the Wolverines are playing a number of tough non-conference games against numerous ranked opponents. Michigan takes on No. 3 BYU, No. 4 Simon Fraser, No. 5 Arizona State, No. 6 Minnesota Duluth, No. 7 Colorado, No. 9 Oregon and No. 11 Colorado State. And only Simon Fraser is coming to Ann Arbor to play the Wolverines.

With the tough schedule, Michigan will rely on its overall talent to continue its run of success. The Wolverines are returning three All-Americans from last year: junior attack Trevor Yealy, junior defenseman Harry Freid and senior midfielder David Reinhard. Michigan’s most valuable player from last season, senior attack Kevin Zorovich, is also returning.

Paul believes that a number of new players will be able to make an impact this season.

“(Freshman) Thomas Paras is going to be outstanding,” said Paul. “A lot of people see a lot of potential in him. J.D. Johnson on defense is doing a really nice job for us right now; he’s in our top defensive rotation already as a freshman, which is pretty rare. We have a sophomore transfer, Sean Sutton, who is going to be one of our top defensive midfielders and is the fastest guy on the team. (Freshman goalie) Conor McGee also has an opportunity, he has two great goalies in front of him, but he has an opportunity to challenge those guys.”

Michigan has all of the tools to win its third-straight title. A mix of young talent with returning core players could serve to keep the success coming. Because, well, most of the Wolverines don’t know it any other way.

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