On a bright and sunny day in Ann Arbor, the 1,636 people who decided to hang around after Michigan football's spring game were treated to quite a game of lacrosse, hopefully creating some new fans and supporters along the way.
Michigan was down 2-0 early in the game, but was able to use Mikie Schlosser and David Joseph to tie things up before Fairfield's Dave Fleming put the Stags back up by one with 24 seconds to go in the first quarter.
Taking a little inspiration from the defensive performance by the football team in the spring game, the lacrosse team played what may have been their most solid outing in 2014. Prior to Saturday, the Stags were held to single digits only twice; Saturday's game would be the third time.
Where the defense really came through was in the second half. After a pretty clean first half, Michigan was called for a couple penalties, but were able to hold Fairfield scoreless on those man-up chances (and 0 for 3 for the entire game). It wasn't only man-up situations where things looked good for the defense; Michigan was able to hold the Stags scoreless in the second half until Fairfield's Drew Federico finally scored with 2:12 to go in the game...a goal that would ultimately prove to be the game winner.
Michigan's Mack Gembis should be considered the defensive player of the game, with four caused turnovers on the day.
David Joseph was the offensive output, scoring a hat-trick, while Mikie Schlosser tallied another two goals. Kyle Jackson, Dan Kinek, and Thomas Paras each had one assist. After being down by four scores to start the second half, Paras, Jackson, and Schlosser were able to bring the Wolverines to within one goal before the Federico goal. In addition to the scores, it was the solid defensive play gave Michigan the opportunity to score those goals and a chance to complete the rally. But it was only a chance, not a guarantee, and Michigan would fall in a valiant effort.
The face-off X was a huge concern once again, with Brad Lott winning only three of thirteen chances in the first half, getting beat early and often by Michael Roe's 10 of 13. However, Lott was able to redeem himself by winning four of seven chances in the second half, putting Michigan in a position to come from behind.
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For the second time this season the Wolverines were able to stay within one goal of a ranked opponent; the first time being against Cornell on March 1st. Saturday was a wonderful game to watch, and Michigan came very close to beating a very good opponent. Or is Fairfield really that good? College Crosse brings up a couple points about the Stags this year. You are what your record says you are, and Michigan came very close to beating a team that is now 9-2 and moving up the polls. The loss aside, Michigan lacrosse is in a pretty good place.
Next up for the Wolverines will be the Ohio State Buckeyes in the Showdown at the Shoe on April 12. The game is scheduled for an 11:00 ET faceoff.