After facing High Point and Furman in the Carolinas last week, the Michigan men's lacrosse team concludes their road trip in Louisville, Kentucky this weekend when they'll take on fellow ECAC member Bellarmine.
The Knights (4-1) are coming off their first loss of the season after falling to Air Force 13-9 in Colorado Springs. Although Bellarmine held a one-point lead in the first quarter of that conference match-up, they weren't able to hold onto said lead and allowed four consecutive goals by the Falcons. Scoring continued for both teams, but the Knights just couldn't get past the Falcons who are now 3-3 overall and 1-0 in the ECAC.
So, what will Michigan be facing this weekend?
Attack: Bellarmine's freshman attackman, Tucker Ciessau, is who Michigan will need to watch closely; Ciessau has 14 goals on the season, and a SOG % of .667. He has also scored 4 goals in three of the Knights' five games this year. Like Michigan, the Knights have also faced Furman; in that game Ciessau had only two scores, and none in the loss to Air Force. The attack position is led by freshmen, apparently, as the team's second leading scorer is fellow youngin' Austin Shanks' 9 goals. Juniors Dylan Gatt and Ben Charpentier each have 2 scores on the season.
Midfield: The Bellarmine midfield is led by senior Chad Mitchell, who has 7 goals and 8 assists, after scoring just one time in 2013. Rounding out the Knights' midfielders are Cameron Gardner (senior), Ryan Scinta and Brogan Hill (both juniors) who have combined for 13 goals. Junior Reid Wesley has picked up 11 ground balls from his midfield position.
LSM/Defense: The long poles are getting good production out of Sean Joyce who has 12 ground balls and 9 caused turnovers, while Bobby Schmitt adds another 14 GBs and 6 CTs. Schmitt's numbers from last year were 56 GBs and 26 CTs, so look for him to really get after the Wolverines.
FOGO: Stephen Soriano is a returning senior who went 49-98 at X as a junior and has won 31 of 65 opportunities so far this year. In a back-up role, freshman Tyler Nangle has gone 13-28 when he's gotten the opportunity.
Goalie: Will Haas is a senior who started in only one game last year, because Bellarmine had Dillon Ward who just so happened to be one of the best goalies in the country last year. You can read College Crosse's 2013 review of the Knights and read about Ward's performance. Haas has started all five games so far this year, has 50 saves, and a save % of .562 after facing 181 total shots.
Let's start with FOGO. Starting with the game against Detroit, in which he won 22 of 30 face-offs, Brad Lott won another 54 chances against Johns Hopkins and Cornell. Against High Point and Furman? He was successful only 10 times out of 28. Back up FOGO, Will Biagi, has gone 6-17 in the last two games. This will have to change if Michigan wants to get to .500 on the season.
Ian King is playing lights-out lacrosse right now...
Ian King is tied first nationally in goals for a freshman with 16 (Cole Shaffer, Drexel) #GoBlue— Michigan Lacrosse (@umichlacrosse) March 11, 2014
On top of the above info, he was also named the ECAC Rookie of the week. His team mate on the defensive side of the ball, Chris Walker, was named Defensive Player of the Week. Walker grabbed 10 GBs and caused three turnovers in last week's games.
That's all well and good, but the Wolverines have been outscored by Bellarmine 25-15 since Michigan joined the D-1 ranks. Both teams are relatively young at the attack, but Bellarmine probably has the upper hand on the defensive side of the ball. Seeing as how this is yet another road contest, I'm not sure if Michigan will be able to pull out the win in Louisville. Scoring will probably be somewhere in the teens for each team, but Bellarmine should have the advantage at home.
Saturday's game starts at 1:00 p.m. ET, and at this point I do not see any available audio or video.