Michigan’s men’s lacrosse team entered on Saturday afternoon with the most productive attack in the Big Ten – 21.5 goals per game, which took third place in the country. The question was whether they would be able to continue this hot strip against the Holy Cross.
The answer? Loud yes.
Wolverine (3-0) defeated the Crusaders (0-3), 20-3, scoring the third game in a row with 20 goals or more. Michigan’s strong attack was characterized by extremely selfless play and a willingness to move the ball quickly. By the end of the game, five different Wolverines had scored four or more points, and nine more had joined them in the record.
“Part of our identity is just (being) a selfless band, and I think we were able to really count on three guys in the first two games,” Michigan coach Kevin Conry said. “Today, we seem to have scored more points around.”
In the first half of the quarter, “Wolverines” took the lead with a score of 5-0, setting the tone for the game. Sophomore striker Michael Bohm opened the scoring on the right goal from behind the goal. Thirty seconds later, junior midfielder Jake Banami scored a goal while dodging in the right lane, and the transfer was given by second-year midfielder Isaac Aaranson.
Sophomore midfielder Jacob Jackson would then turn a left downhill shot from a beautiful cross-field pass by freshman striker Ryan Cohen. Banami and Cohen scored the next two goals: junior striker Josh Zawada fed Banami and Banami fed Cohen.
Wolverine’s goals were fast approaching, and there were no signs of withdrawal on the horizon.
During the break, “Michigan” led 8-0, for the first time in the history of the program got an out-out in the first half. This trend will continue in the second half, which will eventually lead to a 20-3 victory, which is the lowest number of goals ever allowed in the game Wolverine.
One important goal was scored at the end of the third quarter. Senior defender Zach Johnson turned the ball into an attack on the net and found Zavada on the flank. The plant hooked, causing his defender to lean in the wrong direction, enough to drive to the middle of the field and finish through contact.
Zavada, the nation’s top scorer – and now just two points behind him to become the fastest Wolverine in history, scoring 100 points – again topped Michigan with six points with four goals and two assists. It was followed by Banami with five points, and Jackson, Cohen and freshman midfielder Aidan Mulhaland scored four points each. An impressive 14 of the team’s 20 goals scored. Jackson, who was recently transferred from the first midfield to the second, played a breakthrough game, scoring an effective four goals in five shots.
“It’s nice to see how Jacob can score four goals, he’s been a bit on the schneid (lately),” Conry said. “He put a lot of time and effort into the shooting range to get hit, so (we) are definitely excited to see him back in the points column.”
Banami served as the main catalyst for Wolverine’s dynamic attack, beginning many offensive possessions by dodging from above. He often either created a dissociation to free his hands and shoot, or controlled the slip from the aid defender, opening up opportunities to score for his teammates.
“Jake always does a great job,” Conry said. “We took him out of the box last so he could come out hard. When he comes out of the box, he comes out with his hair on fire. He does so many little things for this program that too often (remain) unrecognized. ”
In defense, Michigan has conducted its matches exceptionally well, rarely allowing scores to fall from above. The Crusaders, led by midfielder Killian Morrissey with two goals, were able to strike just 11 shots on goal. In a handicapped freshman goalkeeper Shane Carr was strong, making eight saves, while sophomore defender Jack Whitney did three times in the team from Holy Cross players.
It should also be noted that Wolverine trusts his defensive midfielders with a short stick so that they operate on the island and do not slide down to them unnecessarily.
“We have a very good D-middie band,” said senior defender Andrew Darby. “I think D-Middie is probably the hardest position in lacrosse, so these guys have to work on themselves. They do extra leg work, they’re always going to shoot. It pays off, and having them is really helpful. “
Intensity is the highlight for Michigan, and despite a strong start to the game, there was a moment in the second quarter when Conry felt his team let go of the gas. He urged his players to respond.
“(Our brand) is very selfless, very detail-oriented, the group is serious,” Conry said. “I pay tribute to our guys, they came together and put together a really strong game in the second half. So (I) am proud of the band. ”
Sustainability remains the hallmark of this Michigan team and will undoubtedly be the key to extending this historic series early in the season.