Wednesday night provided an opportunity for two fledgling programs, Michigan (0-4, 0-1 ECAC) and High Point University (1-5), to capture a win early into their struggling seasons. The Panthers, playing their inaugural season of lacrosse, had defeated only one opponent prior to the game, Towson, in a 9-7 victory. Meanwhile, the Wolverines’ “Team 2” had yet to acquire their first win, and only the second win in program history.
But Wednesday’s competition would provide no solace for Michigan, who dropped their fifth straight game to the Panthers, 10-13.
High Point opened the scoring early in the game, with 13:43 left in the first quarter. Still, Michigan was poised for a fight, as sophomore attacker David McCormack responded immediately, putting the Wolverines’ first point on the board less than a minute later.
From there, the first quarter became an even struggle between the two unseasoned teams, who ended the first 15 minutes of play with the score tied at 4-4.
High Point dominated the second quarter, outshooting the Wolverines 14-3, but a stellar performance by freshman goalkeeper Gerald Logan kept the Wolverines close. Logan made six saves, allowing Michigan to end the half down by only by a point, 6-7.
The Panthers began to pull away in the second half, though, recording two quick goals in the middle of the third quarter to extend their lead to three goals.
But Michigan took advantage of a power play with 5:35 left in the quarter, as freshman midfielder Kyle Jackson assisted McCormack for his second goal of the night, keeping the Wolverines in the game with the score at 7-9.
Michigan tried its best to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter, outshooting High Point 12-7. Yet the Panthers took advantage of their few opportunities, tallying four more goals, while the Wolverines were unable to convert as efficiently, scoring just three more goals, leading to the final score of 10-13.
Despite failing to record their first victory, the Wolverines’ double-digit performance was their best offensive output of the season, and two Wolverines made program history on the offensive end. Freshman midfielder Mike Hernandez tied a program high with four goals in one game, and Jackson had four assists on the night to set a new program record.
“They’re both great athletes,” said Michigan coach John Paul. “They never quit. Those guys are good enough to capitalize on the opportunities that they get and that they create.”
Added Hernandez: “I think our new offense was a huge key. We were moving it around a little bit better than we have been, and it makes it easier for me to dodge, as well as (for) other people. I just happened to be open four times for some good shots.”
But despite the Wolverines’ high scoring night, Paul believes there is still work to be done offensively.
While proud of the standout performances, he hopes to see more players, especially those on the second midfield line, become more involved in future games.
“For all the good they did, we need more out of more guys,” Paul said. “We’re not going to make it through a season with three guys providing all of our offense.”
While fine-tuning the offensive is essential for future success, it’s equally as crucial that the Wolverines continue their strong play in other areas of the game.
“Our clear game was going great in the last two games,” Paul said. “Now it’s not. And there’s really no reason for that other than mental errors.”
The Wolverines will have a day off to recover from injuries and fatigue in preparation for their next road test against Hobart on Saturday, and while the Wolverines have a long way to go in building a successful lacrosse program, the coach credits his team for continuing to move forward.
“Our team as a whole doesn’t really get down and get into a shell,” Paul said. “We’re still working.”