Michigan's (4-5, 0-1) first game as a Big Ten lacrosse program didn't go quite the way they had hoped, but perhaps it went the way that everyone expected.
Maryland (8-1, 1-0) went into Sunday evening as the No. 3 team in the country overall and first in defense. After the final whistle, there was nothing disputing those rankings. The Terrapins, scoring an average of just over nine goals per game, ripped off nine goals before the 4th period even started. Michigan, on the other hand, was able to find the back of the net only twice in that same span of time.
Matt Rambo did what Rambo does and scored a hat-trick in the first half, while the rest of the Terps' scoring was spread around to five other players (although eight players other than Rambo would score throughout the match). Even LSM Matt Neufeldt got in on the scoring action, with a scoop-and-score off the face-off just 17 seconds into the final frame.
Speaking of face-offs, the ever-dominant Charlie Raffa was so once again as he won 11 of 14 chances at the dot. Michigan's Brad Lott was able to muster only two wins out of eleven before Chase Brown filled in and went 3 for 8.
With 12 turnovers in the first half, the Wolverines were not doing themselves any favors, even if Maryland had committed nine of their own. Michigan did settle down enough in the second half to turn the ball over only twice the rest of the way.
If a ball hit the ground, you could bet that the Terps were going to pick it up. In the first period alone Maryland grabbed 11 GBs. By the end of the day they had 30 to Michigan's 19.
Maryland's Kyle Bernlohr was simply fantastic in cage, when Michigan did get some looks, that is. Bernlohr played all but five minutes of the game and allowed only three goals. Overall, the Terps were allowing 4.88 goals per game, so they were right on track with a smothering defense once again.
Maryland was every bit as impressive as advertised, and when they can get seven players to come off the bench and score as they did on Sunday, then I'm not sure as to who it is can really challenge them for the Big Ten title.
Is there anything positive to take away from Michigan's performance on Sunday? Actually, yes:
- Gerald Logan had 12 saves on the day, which is just off of his season average of 13.25 saves per game.
- The defense, at times, really stymied the Maryland offense. There were some impressive moments in the second period, and holding Maryland to only one goal is something to hang your hat on.
- EMOs--Michigan was 0-1 on the EMO, but they were solid enough to deny any goals on Maryland's two chances.
- Freshman Pat Tracy scored his first goal and tallied his first assist as a Wolverine.