February 26, 2011

Escape from LA: Michigan Wins in Double OT

from press release

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - The University of Michigan Men's Lacrosse team earned a 9-8 double-overtime win over the Oregon Ducks on Friday night (February 25) in Los Angeles, California at Harvard Westlake High School. Each team endured unfavorable weather conditions, yet showed even play throughout the first quarter with Oregon taking over in the second frame to take a 7-3 lead at halftime. The Wolverines rallied in the final two quarters to tie and went on to win in double overtime advancing Michigan's record to 2-0 overall.

The first goal of the game went to freshman atackman Jeff Chu (Berwyn, PA – Conestoga) who capitalized when the Ducks failed to clear the ball at 11:15 in the first quarter. Shortly after, the Wolverines had their first man up opportunity but were unable to convert and Oregon eventually tied the game at 1-1 at 8:08. Under four minutes later, senior attackman Trevor Yealy (Pittsburgh, PA – Upper St. Clair) scored on a dodge in front of the crease on an assist from junior midfielder Alex Vasilef (Bloomfield Hills, MI - Seaholm) with 4:20 left in the quarter. The boys in blue carried the momentum throughout the rest of the first quarter and closed out with a lead of 2-1 over the Ducks.

Momentum changed teams in the second as Oregon struck back after two unsuccessful Michigan clears to tie the game. The Ducks scored on their first man up opportunity off the faceoff to take the lead and went on to score four more unanswered goals on the Wolverines to take a 6-2 lead. At 4:46, the Michigan squad answered Oregon's onslaught as senior attackman Chad Carroll (Cincinnati, OH – St. Xavier High) scored on an unassisted blast from the mid wing. OU called a timeout with 31.6 seconds left in the quarter and scored with three seconds left in the period to end the half with a 7-3 lead.

With their platoon plan in place, Michigan changed goaltenders at the beginning of the third replacing senior goaltender Mark Stone (Greenwich Village, CO – Cherry Creek) with senior goaltender Andrew Fowler (Grosse Pointe, MI – Hotchkiss, CT). The Maize and Blue struck first in the third quarter at 13:40 on a blast from Yealy, his second of the game. Oregon was able to score on the lone man up opportunity of the quarter almost ten minutes later on a fast break. The third turned out to be a duel for possession as each team had opportunities on both sides of the ball as the Ducks held their 8-4 lead after three.

The final quarter picked up where the battle for possession left off at the end of the third. Michigan began to gain momentum and was awarded three man up opportunities only one of which was successful on a goal from Carroll, his second of the night. As time wound down, the Michigan squad stayed poised as both sophomore attackman Thomas Paras (Lakewood, OH – St. Ignatius) and Vasilef scored to bring the Wolverines back to life and within one to tie the game. With only 2:41 left to play, Paras assisted Carroll on a backdoor blast, his third, to tie the game and force overtime with the game knotted at 8-8 after 60 minutes.

The first overtime quarter didn't provide a winner as neither team scored on multiple possession and the game continued to a second overtime period. Following a faceoff win to open the second extra frame, Carroll took a pass from sophomore midfielder Joe Hrusovsky (Lake Forest, Ill. - Lake Forest) on the left wing and fired high, just inside the left elbow for the game-winning goal as the Wolverines rushed the field following the 9-8 win.

Statistically, Michigan tied Oregon in man-up opportunities but won every other category. U-M outshot the Ducks 33-26, and scooped up 54 groundballs, more than double UO's 26. The Wolverines were 14 of 20 on faceoffs, and cleared the ball 20 of 28 times while riding Oregon to 13 of 24 totals. Each team finished 1-4 on the man-up.

The Wolverines will play their next game against Loyola Marymount University on Wednesday, March 2, at Leavy Field in Los Angeles, California at 3:00pm PST. The contest against LMU will be their second of three games during their trip in Southern California. For all of your Michigan men's lacrosse needs, please visit mgobluelacrosse.com.

- Carroll (4-2-6) led the team in points with four goals including the game-winner, along with two assists, while Yealy (2-0-2), Vasilef (1-1-2), Paras (1-1-2), andHrusovsky (0-2-2), tied for second in points with two apiece.

- Junior faceoff specialist Brian Greiner (Grosse Pointe, MI – Grosse Pointe South/RPI) finished 14 of 20 at the "X".

- Greiner led the team with nine groundballs and junior defenseman Austin Swaney (Grand Rapids, MI – East Grand Rapids) was next with six.

- Stone started the game finishing with five saves and seven goals against. Fowler took over in the second half saving six and letting in one goal.

- With the win, Michigan extends their overall record to 2-0.

- Michigan improves to 5-0 all-time vs. Oregon. Michigan's last game vs. the Ducks resulted in an 5-4 over-time win at Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas in 2010 at the Patriot Cup.

Head Coach John Paul
On feelings before the game: "Just kind of frantic before the game, a little bit. Because with the traffic we ran into, the weather, getting there so late, and really not having any warm up. We got there, changed, got the guys through treatment, went through warm up, stretched and went. So I kind of had a feeling we would be pretty shaky to start the game, and unfortunately we were."

On thoughts from last year's game and what to expect: "No, we were pretty confident going into the game. We're not a very good bad weather team, given the fact we're always in perfect weather indoors. You know, I thought we'd be fine tonight. I liked our game plan, and I obviously liked the way we played last week. But I was worried about dead legs you know, since it'd been a long week of practice. We certainly respected Oregon, despite their poor start in their first couple games. We saw a much better team than that on film, and certainly have a lot of respect for them. They gave all we could handle last year as well, and every time we play them they give us a great game. So we didn't expect this to be an easy game by any means, but we were pretty confident going in."

On what changed in the second half: "You know, I think we just started playing a little more desperate. We made a planned goalie change, and Fowler just happened to have a great second half. Stone had a pretty good first half too. But Greiner started winning faceoffs consistently, and we stopped turning the ball over unforced, or at least limited those. Every game comes down to possessions, and we were getting better quality possessions in the second half, and that was the difference."

On his feelings of the progression and comeback of the game: "I think it was really just our guys bearing down and gutting it out. We didn't change anything we did in the fourth quarter, we just had guys step up, and you know, they've been there before. We've had close games, we've had games where we have to come from behind. I think the key is that, and you see this on the sidelines the whole game, the guys never lose their confidence. For a period there in the second quarter, we were getting dominated. But they never lose their confidence, they felt like if they gutted it out, and took it a play at a time, a possession at a time, that we would have our chances, and we did."

On Carroll and his production so far this season: "You know, he came back in the fall after not having played lacrosse since his freshman year, and not having played a season of lacrosse since high school, so it's been four years for him. So he was just really rusty. But we recruited Chad to Michigan for a reason, we thought at the time he'd be one of the best players we ever had here. I kind of had a feeling in the fall, even though things were coming kind of slowly for him, that he was getting it. But now as the season's getting here now, he's starting to click, he's starting to get a lot more confidence in his game, and he's really starting to click with his teammates on the field, and it's showing. He's an incredible talent, and it's starting to show."

On being in L.A.: "We're taking a break tomorrow, it's going to be a fun day tomorrow. It's our one day off from lacrosse this week. You know, we generate a little bit. It's been a long week, you know, we've had a lot of practices this week, and the travel, and practice yesterday, it'll be a good day for us to regenerate a little bit. Then we'll get back after it on Sunday and start getting ready for Loyola Marymount, but we'd like the weather to turn! We'd like the weather to get a little nicer, but it's nice for us to get on the road. This is a time when the guys really bond and this is a really important week for us."

Senior attackman Chad Carroll

On his general impressions: "I think that the first half we didn't play as well, or produce as well as we would have liked to have. I think it might have been a number of factors, you know, playing the first game in California, and also we only had 15 minutes to warm up. But in the second half we realized that we're down for the first time this year, and we had a much greater sense of urgency than in the first half."

On scoring four goals and the game winner: "I think that sense of urgency to end the game; I know everyone was chomping at the bit to get a good, quality shot off. Coach Paul told us to keep running our offense, you know, and keep doing things we'd been doing. He was really positive about the things we were doing on offense, we just weren't necessarily capitalizing on our opportunities. I think Joey had a good dodge coming down the right side, and I just popped up like we typically do, and I was just put in a position. I think anyone who would have been there could have done that same thing, but it just happened to be me at that time."

On producing: "It feels pretty good. Freshman year was a little bit more difficult, coming back has been great, it's been awesome, everyone on the team's been great. I think I've had success because guys on the team have put me in the right position to be able to do that. I've had some unassisted goals, but a lot of them have come off good passes from the other guys. I think our offense is clicking right now, and hopefully we can keep it up."

On being in L.A. for Spring Break: "Like LA a lot, first time out here, hopefully we have some more free time in the next few days so I can experience it a little more."

Junior defenseman Austin Swaney
On the first half and changes for second: "It started out not having the second slide come in our relatively new defense, but just one goal after another we just started to get down a little bit, we just weren't totally in it the first half. After the halftime talk, we got our heads back into it and really came out strong. We stuck to our basics, we got more intense; during halftime we went over what exactly they were doing and what we needed to do. We kept it a little more tight on defense, so they just didn't get as many opportunities."

On his general impressions: "It looked hard for the offense to score at first, until the fourth quarter. At defense, we had a lazy first half but in the second we came out pretty strong as a team, knew what we had to do and got it done."

On his big plays: "I had a feeling he was going to pass it so I tried to be in the right spot to make the play without sliding and giving up position on him. It helped having my reaction skills on point as well. We actually have a drill where we practice moving the ball on the ground so I moved it to the side and the two guys ran into each other allowing for an easy pick up."

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