March 6, 2011

No. 5 Chapman Fall Short Against Michigan

from press release

ORANGE, Calif. – The No. 1 ranked University of Michigan Men's Lacrosse team defeated No. 5 Chapman University in an 11-8 battle at Ernie Chapman Stadium in Orange, California. The first three quarters belonged to the Wolverines as U-M jumped out to an 8-3 lead, but the Panthers battled back in the fourth, eventually drawing within two. It was too little, too late however as the Wolverines improved to 4-0 on the season.

The game started with a Michigan faceoff win leading into a lengthy possession for the Wolverines. The Panthers struck just short of midway through the first to take a one goal lead but junior midfielder Alex Vasileff (Birmingham, MI - Seaholm) answered at 7:49 on a low roll dodge and shot on the crease. U-M added another unassisted tally by sophomore attackman Thomas Paras (Lakewood, OH – St. Ignatius) as he ran from behind the net and took a low shot to beat Chapman's goaltender. Three minutes later the Panthers scored only to be washed out by freshman midfielder Jeff Janer (Novi, MI – Detroit Catholic Central) on an unassisted blast, his first as a Wolverine, on the mid wing ending the first quarter with a 3-2 lead for U-M.

Michigan continued to find the net with two unanswered goals in the second quarter as Vasileff scored his second of the game with an unassisted shot on the crease. Senior attackman Trevor Yealy (Pittsburg, PA – Upper St. Clair) netted his first off a shot on the crease assisted by freshman attackman Jeff Chu (Berwyn, PA - Conestoga) at 10:46 into the second. The boys in blue continued to show poise and control throughout the quarter and led the Panthers 5-2 at the end of the first half.

At the start of the third quarter, the team executed a planned goalie change replacing senior goaltender Mark Stone (Greenwich Village, CO – Cherry Creek) with fellow senior Andrew Fowler (Grosse Pointe, MI – Hotchkiss, CT). Chapman came out strong controlling possession as they scored at 10:55 on an unassisted goal. Two minutes later Paras scored his second goal on nearly an identical play to his first tally.

Continuing the Wolverine attack was Yealy as he scooped up a groundball off the Michigan ride and faked out the Panther's goalie on a breakaway for his second of the game. The game then became a tradeoff of possessions for each team as both sides tried to capitalize on offense. With 0:54 left in the third, Paras assisted Vasileff on a blast from straight out for his third of the game giving the Wolverines an 8-3 lead going into the final quarter of play.

Chapman was awarded a man-up opportunity eight seconds into the fourth and converted twenty seconds later. Paras responded on a drive to the cage finishing with a dodge and low shot for his third of the day. CU then scored three unanswered goals and grabbed the momentum to cut the Wolverine lead to 9-7 with 6:54 left in the game. Tensions were high but U-M was able to break Chapman's run when Vasileff rolled away from his defender and launched the ball into the net off a crease dodge just over a minute later for his fourth of the game.

The back and forth scoring continued as Chapman scored at 4:43 to cut the lead to 10-8. Paras responded for his fourth on a mid wing blast with the assist going to Vasileff. Both teams had possessions over the final 3:14 of the game but CU wasn't able to draw closer as the Wolverines earned the 11-8 win to improve finish 3-0 on their west-coast swing.

Statistically, it was a mixed bag for the Wolverines. CU outshot U-M 35-26 and were successful 1 of 4 times to Michigan's 0 of 2 on man-up opportunities. The Maize and Blue scooped up 32 groundballs to the Panthers 29 and were 8 of 23 on faceoffs with Chapman winning 15 of 23. Rides and clears were a major factor in the game with Michigan finishing 18-19 on clears while riding the Panthers to 13 of 20 totals.

The Wolverines will now travel to Athens, OH to take on Ohio University this Saturday, March 12 at 2:00pm EST. This will be the fourth consecutive road game for Michigan having played their last three games in Southern California.

- Vasileff (4-1-5) and Paras (4-1-5) tied for the points leader with four goals and an assist, while Yealy (2-0-2) came in second with two goals.

- Paras and Yealy continued their streak of scoring in every game this season

- Senior faceoff specialist Brian Greiner (Grosse Pointe, MI – Grosse Pointe South/RPI) finished 6 of 15 and junior faceoff specialist Edward Ernst (Washington, DC – Sidwell Friends) finished 2 of 8 at the "X".

- Vasileff set a career high of four goals breaking his previous record of two goals.

- Junior defender Austin Swaney (Grand Rapids, MI – East Grand Rapids) led the team with five groundballs and senior defender Matt Asperheim (Grand Rapids, MI – East Grand Rapids) was next with four groundballs.

- The Wolverines had a season low of 17 turnovers on the game.

- Stone started the game finishing with four saves and two goals against. Fowler took over in the second half saving four and letting in six goals.

- The Wolverines improve to 5-0 against CU.

- With the win, Michigan extends their overall record to 4-0.

Head Coach John Paul

On his Chapman's late scoring run: "They're a great team. It's not unexpected that they're going to go on their runs especially at home. Every time we stopped or had a break we would talk to our guy's about handling their run and they did just that. I'm proud of the guys for just closing it out against a really good Chapman team. You don't really have time to be nervous when you're coaching, you're just trying to figure out what the next thing to do is so we're just trying to coach. I think that if there's one thing about this team the last few years is the guys know how to win, they know how to close games out. We've had a few teams come back on us before but we've done a great job these past few years closing these games out at the end of the day."

On faceoffs: "Ultimately we knew going into this year that we weren't going to have the same kind of consistent faceoff success that we've had the last few years. We're going to be hot and cold there, Chapman is an outstanding faceoff team and they showed it. The positive I take from it is that we were able to win against one of the top programs in the MCLA without winning the faceoff battle. We haven't had to do that before and we showed we could."

On the big scoring from a few of the players: "I think one of the hallmarks of this team the past few years has been the number of guys who can score. It's really hard to beat us trying to stop just one or two people and we still have that. Vasileff stepped up and had a great game, that's been kind of the story of our team the past few years was every time we've needed people to step up they have."

On the importance of the win: "We look for these; we want to play games like these anywhere we can on the road, at home, wherever. Our attitude has always been the more we challenge ourselves through the year the better off we'll be in May. Most of the top teams do the same thing, they try and schedule as hard as they can, and we've always done that. We believe everything we're doing now is setting us up for our potential in May."

On what to take away from the game today: "We did a great job for most of the game offensively being patient and that's something we always talk about. We didn't come into the game wanting to possess just for the sake of possession, but we want offensive efficiency which means we want to score on a high percentage of our possessions. The guys for the most part until late in the game when I thought we got a little tired did a great job doing that. One thing I want to work on is us generating offense a little bit quicker. Not taking anything away from Chapman they played great defense, one of the better defenses we're going to see, but sometimes we took a little bit longer to get into our offense that we want to get into. One of the lapses we had when they came back on us, caused by just a few little mistakes such as missed groundballs or failed clears, are the things that the guys need to take away from this. There's always little things that we can clean up and get better at."

On his thoughts of the California trip as a whole: "We finally got California weather at the end here and as far as playing lacrosse goes I think we accomplished our mission. We wanted to come out here and get better every game as well as feel good about our team and I think we did. Now we're ready for the next stage of the season which is all in the Midwest or at home and we'll have to get ready for that. Our job now is to put California behind us and start to really focus on this next section."

Junior Midfielder Alex Vasileff
On general impressions of the game: "They locked off Joey [Hrusovsky] so Doug [Bryant] or I had to step up and the defense gave me a lot of opportunities on dodges when they wouldn't slide and luckily I put them in. The rest of our offense played well, our defense stepped up big only allowing two goals in the first half which was huge for us and really let us put a few goals in and get ahead with a nice margin."

On the offense moving the ball well: "I'd say our defense played very well which allowed us to possess, with possessions come shots and with shots come opportunities which lead to goals so kudos to our defense allowing us to hold onto the ball. Our attackmen moved really well and took the chances that the Chapman defense gave them."

On his personal offensive production in the game: "It felt great, you know a breakout game after two years of being here. I stepped up, being a leader and one of the older midfielders on the team and it felt great."

Senior Defenseman Harry Freid

On general impressions of the game: "Coming in I thought we had a really good game plan, the coaches had seen them play and it's always good to a team play someone you already have on film. We came out, worked hard early to build a lead and be up the first half. They came out to score early in the third and we answered so it was nice to keep them from going on a little run there, but overall it was a great game. Our team came off that win very satisfied because we felt that it was a game that we can measure ourselves against one of the better teams and it felt good to come out on top."

On the causes of defensive lapses late in the game: "They had the man-up goal, a minute in or a little less, and anytime you give up a goal that early in the fourth you're going to start second guessing yourself, not playing the ball as much and possibly change your intensity. We had the early lead, but the big thing was that we stop their run and we did that, we withstood their goals and were able to answer, clear the ball with a high percentage of success. Those little things make a huge difference when things are going wrong but it's lacrosse which is an very offensive sport, they went on their run but we were glad we stopped it."

On his time playing against Chapman: "Since I've been at Michigan they've been the team, them and BYU, have been the two teams that you judge yourself against. We've been number one during my time here and there's no one like us in that sense but they are like the west coast version of us. They have great skill position players, they've always had a kid who's been looked at as one of the better players in the league and when you play a team who has players with a face, you get excited about that and it adds something to the match up. Those are the games you really judge yourself on and how you perform, we've been fortunate enough to come out on top so it's been a great feeling to come out on top of our rivalry."

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