After a demoralizing defeat to No. 2 Notre Dame last week, Michigan junior midfielder Kyle Jackson admitted the men’s lacrosse team needed to rebound quickly.
Saturday, it bounced back in a big way.
The Wolverines (3-1) rode a six-goal flurry in the first quarter to a 13-5 victory over Canisius (0-4).
Jackson, who notched a season-high four goals, including a pair in the first quarter, led Michigan. Sophomore attacker Ian King added a goal and two assists.
The Wolverines opened the scoring in 16 seconds, as freshman midfielder Parker McKee took a feed from King and ripped a shot past Canisius goalie Alex Govenettio. Less than two minutes later, Jackson scored his first on an assist from redshirt sophomore midfielder David Joseph.
“Getting out quickly and putting pressure on them was huge for our team,” Jackson said. “It stung a lot, losing to Notre Dame, so to come out with a chip on our shoulder was great for our guys.”
Michigan’s third goal was a gift from the Canisius defense, as a bad turnover by Govenettio gave King a wide-open net to fire into. The Wolverines pushed the lead to four when senior attacker Mike Francia picked up a rebound on a shot from King and fired it back into the net.
Canisius got a goal back with 7:09 left in the opening stanza, but freshman attacker Sean McCanna scored an unassisted goal to push the lead back to four. Jackson got his second with 2:54 left, weaving through several defenders before shooting past Govenettio and giving the Wolverines a 6-1 advantage after the first.
“We set the tone, and it was a big part of the win today,” said Michigan coach John Paul. “I’d love to do that for all four quarters, but to see us play that way from the start was good.”
Jackson picked up the hat trick just a minute into the second quarter, combining with King to give Michigan a 7-1 lead. Canisius managed to score twice in the quarter, sandwiched between a goal by sophomore midfielder Mike Hernandez, to send the Wolverines up 8-3 into the half.
The pace of play fell off during the second half, despite Michigan scoring twice in the third and holding Canisius scoreless. Jackson, junior midfielder Josh Stauffer and senior midfielder Andrew Mosko each tallied goals in the final quarter.
The Wolverines received a sterling performance from redshirt sophomore goalie Gerald Logan, who made eight saves on the day, including a pair at point-blank range.
“Gerald was outstanding today, and his defense was very good as well,” Paul said. “He got the team going in transition too, and he’s a big part of our defense and our attack.”
Despite the big margin of victory, the worry for the Wolverines is keeping a high level of play throughout the game.
“We have to see four great quarters, rather than just getting out and having one,” Paul said. “Our offense started playing with a little less poise, and the game really slowed down.”
Michigan will travel for its first away game this week, taking on Jacksonville on Tuesday night. With such a quick turnaround, Logan admitted the team must focus right away on a difficult opponent.
“They’re a great team, and it will be interesting to see how we adapt on the road,” Logan said. “A lot of young guys haven’t had the experience, and we have to be all business if we can get the win on such a short time to prepare.”
The Wolverines do have to be all business if they want to handle their first away match, but if they can find consistency through all four quarters, then they will have a lot to celebrate.