The Michigan men’s lacrosse team concluded its first season as a varsity program with a loss to No. 5 North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Saturday.

Tied at two a mere nine minutes into the game, the Tar Heels quickly gained control and never looked back on their way to a 19-5 rout of the Wolverines.

Michigan hung close to North Carolina through the first quarter thanks to strong performances from junior Zachary Dauch and fifth-year senior Trevor Yealy. After one period of action, Michigan trailed, 6-3, exhibiting signs of life heading into the second.

But the Tar Heels held the Wolverines scoreless in the second quarter, jumping out to a 9-3 lead heading into halftime. Yealy notched a second goal in the third quarter, but a seven-goal explosion by North Carolina left Michigan in a hole, down 12 goals with only one period to play.

Not surprisingly, Michigan found North Carolina’s lead to be insurmountable, as the Wolverines fell to the Tar Heels with the final tally standing at 19-5.

“You have to give credit to North Carolina,” said Michigan head coach John Paul. “They are the type of program that we’re aspiring to be, and in some ways it’s great to finish against a team like that because we got a close-up look of what top-10 lacrosse looks like and show them the work we need to do for them to get there.”

Despite the Wolverines’ poor offensive output, Yealy put forth his ninth multi-goal game this season. Nonetheless, Michigan’s five goals on Saturday tied their worst offensive performance of the season. Moreover, the Wolverines have allowed 10 or more goals in all but two games throughout the year.

Michigan finishes the year with a 1-13 record, with its lone win coming March 4 against Mercer. But despite the sub-par record, Paul and the team understand the significance of this first year as a building process.

Paul was especially pleased with the hard work put forth from the senior athletes.

“[The seniors] had a really tough task this year,” said Paul. “They did a great job establishing the foundation for what this program is going to become. We’re not going to get where we want to be without great senior leadership, and we got that this year.”

The athletes were also more than satisfied with the year as a whole.

“It’s been an incredible honor … to wear the winged helmet and represent the block ‘M’ on the varsity level,” said Yealy. “I feel incredibly privileged to have been a part of it, and I’m thankful to all the coaches, administration, athletic department and all the people around the program for what they have done to make this program possible. It’s been an unbelievable experience, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Fifth-year senior Brian Grenier, who notched his fourth goal of the season on Saturday, added: “It was awesome to be part of the first team. I’m really proud of coach Paul for leading us through this transition, and although our record didn’t show it, it was a great year. I’m proud of this team and what the team will become because of Team One.”

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