Late in the second quarter of Saturday’s men’s lacrosse game, bodies collided in a scramble to recover a small rubber ball. Upon dispersing, sophomore midfielder Andrew Hayden, in obvious discomfort, stayed on the ground. The crowd in attendance quieted as a stretcher was wheeled out to remove him from the Michigan Stadium field.

“I anticipate he’ll be done for the season,” said Michigan coach John Paul. “It was his ankle, and it wasn’t good.”

Hayden’s day of lacrosse was over. For the rest of the Michigan lacrosse team, the battle with Mount St. Mary’s was only halfway through.

And so they fought on.

Freshman goalie Emil Weiss had tonsillitis all week, and played through Saturday’s game with a fever. Compounding Weiss’s heath issues was a broken right thumb, forcing him to wear a cast that prevented him from properly gripping his stick. Team doctors patrolled the sidelines to monitor his health throughout the game, and team officials indicated that he was too sick to provide a postgame interview. Still, Weiss made ten saves on Saturday.

Michigan coach Paul stated after the game that Hayden and Weiss weren’t alone when it came to injuries.

“(Junior midfielder) Sean Sutton has barely got an ankle left right now,” he said, adding that freshman midfielder Thomas Orr also played through an ankle injury. “There’s not a lot of guys who play a lot who aren’t pretty banged up right now.”

So, “pretty banged up,” the Wolverines continued their game against the Mountaineers.

After conceding the game’s first goal, Michigan responded with three goals of its own. In the last minute of the first quarter however, Mount St. Mary’s quickly scored two more to tie up the contest at 3-3.

Scoring in the second quarter was lopsided in the Mountaineers favor, but outside of the scoreboard, neither team was dominant. The Wolverines were barely edged out in both shots on goal and faceoffs won, and committed only two turnovers in the second quarter. But Mount St. Mary’s was able to convert on more of their scoring opportunities, and Michigan trailed 8-4.

From there, the game followed a familiar refrain for Michigan — following a reasonably strong first-half performance, the team collapsed in the second half.

The Mountaineers were able to monopolize possession for the majority of the third quarter, and it wasn’t until the quarter was mostly complete that the Wolverines were able to advance the ball into an attacking position.

Hemorrhaging goals, Michigan was unable to recover. The Wolverines ultimately lost, 16-5, to fall to a 1-8 record — a rough, though not unexpected, initiation to Division-I lacrosse.

“It would be really easy for things to crumble, and guys to get down on themselves and down on the team,” said senior attackman Trevor Yealy. “It’s our job to make sure everyone stays focused, stays positive, and we keep moving forward, keep taking steps forward instead of taking steps back.”

Juxtaposed with demoralizing loses are stories that suggest that Michigan has not crumbled. They may be deteriorating physically, but they haven’t crumbled.

Through sickness and injury, the Wolverines’ goalie performed solidly for his team.

“Emil was a warrior today to get in there and do what he did,” Paul said.

And when Andrew Hayden went down, there were teammates ready step up to fill his role.

“We have guys stepping up all over the field,” Paul said. “It’s the kind of team they have. They have a lot of pride.”

Unfortunately, pride wasn’t enough for the Wolverines to win their game against Mount St. Mary’s. But it is a positive sign.

In the program’s inaugural Division-I season, Paul has been focusing on building culture. While the results on the scoreboard against the Mountaineers and other teams this year have not been favorable, the results in the locker room have been.

“It’s encouraging to see younger guys step up, battle through pain or sickness,” Yealy said. “And then other guys fill in for injured guys. That’s been encouraging.”

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