The Michigan men’s lacrosse squad suffered a tough defeat in the newly minted varsity program’s first home game Wednesday night.

The 15-8 loss against No. 9 Loyola (Md.) leaves Michigan coach John Paul and the Wolverines at 1-6 approaching the halfway point of the season.

Despite the loss, Paul was pleased by the effort from his team.

“We came in knowing that this was going to be a really challenging season, with what we had coming in, to get wins,” Paul said. “And so we didn’t make that our goal. Our goal is to set the stage for what our program is going to be.”

Michigan jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, but Loyola, led by a five-goal performance from junior Mike Sawyer, quickly reclaimed control. The Greyhounds went on an eight-goal run after initially trailing, and led, 8-2, at half.

Re-energized by an offensive upsurge in the third quarter, the Wolverines brought the game within five goals on a strike by midfielder Willie Steenland early in the fourth.

But Loyola’s 42 shots — and two goals coming in 50 seconds as the clock wound down — proved overwhelming for freshman goalkeeper Emil Weiss.

Loyola certainly dominated the stat sheet, outclassing the Wolverines in every major category, including faceoffs, ground balls, turnovers, and an impressive 4-for-4 on man-up opportunities.

Michigan has faced a tough schedule so far this year, comprising six consecutive road games to start the year.

The Wolverines finally had their first official home game as a varsity program in front of a crowd of nearly 500 at the Oosterbaan Fieldhouse.

“It felt good to play in front of the hometown crowd,” said junior Thomas Paras. “It was a great turnout tonight. It’s been a little different being on the road for over a month now, but yeah, it felt good to be back out here.”

Paul has continuously reaffirmed that his aim for the first few years of the program includes building culture and laying a foundation for the future of the team.

That culture incorporates leadership and success on and off the field.

“It’s about trying to be excellent in everything we do,” Paul said. “It’s about wanting to be a champion and doing everything you can to be a champion. That’s what we are trying to build.”

The Wolverines square off in an afternoon matchup with Bellarmine on Saturday, March 17 at Michigan Stadium.

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