Denver, CO. �The #1 seeded University of Michigan Men's Lacrosse team won their second consecutive Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) National Championship on Saturday night (May 16) in Denver, Colorado at Dick's Sporting Goods Park, defeating the #3 seed Chapman Cougars by a score of 12-11. In a rematch of last year's Championship game, the Wolverines trailed 8-4 at the half, but battled back in the final 30 minutes to earn their second straight perfect season, going 40-0 in the past two years.
Chapman got on the board first under two minutes in with a low shot from the left wing that snuck just inside the near-side post followed by a transition goal just 50 seconds later as the Panthers took an early two-goal lead. Chapman kept up their solid play early on, finishing a pass from behind the cage to make it 3-0 under four minutes into the contest.
The Wolverines called a timeout to settle things down, and although they lost the ensuing faceoff, the Maize and Blue eventually earned possession and a man-up opportunity following an interference call on Chapman. Michigan was unable to capitalize however and still trailed 3-0 mid-way through the first.
Three minutes later U-M was nailed for an unnecessary roughness call at the 4:23 mark following a check at midfield, but Michigan was able to kill off the penalty and put together just their second offensive possession of the game. A slashing call on the Panthers soon after gave the Wolverines another man-up opportunity, and this time they were able to capitalize as junior midfielder Jamie Goldberg (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown) found junior attackman Kevin Zorovich (Massapequa, N.Y./Massapequa) just outside the crease for the quick-stick goal.
Chapman answered right back however, winning the ensuing faceoff and scoring quickly as they regained the three-goal lead. Sophomore Trevor Yealy (Pittsburgh, Penn./Upper St. Claire) responded for U-M, dodging from behind the cage and firing out front to cut the lead to 4-2 with 1:05 left in the first.
The Panthers regained the three-goal lead early in the second, scoring at 14:05 after scooping up a loose ball and firing from 12 yards out. The Wolverines were nabbed for a slashing call at 12:02, but were able to kill off the penalty, only to be called for a delay of game under two minutes later. The Panthers were able to capitalize on a shot from 12 yards out, building their largest lead of the game to that point at 6-2 with 10:17 left in the first half.
Chapman continued to dominate possession throughout the second quarter, and extended the lead to 7-2 with 6:44 left in the second following a scrum in front. Michigan had a solid chance the next time down as junior faceoff specialist David Reinhard (East Lansing, Mich./East Lansing) won the faceoff and fed Yealy right in front. Yealy's dunk attempt was thwarted however, as Michigan continued to have difficulty finishing.
The Wolverines finally got on the board in the second quarter on a transition goal as sophomore defenseman Justin Burgin (Farmington Hills, Mich./Catholic Central) carried the ball deep into the Panther zone and fed Zorovich right out front as Michigan cut into the lead with 4:07 left in the half. Michigan was unable to build any momentum however as Chapman responded just 48 seconds later on a dodge from behind the cage to make it 8-3.
The Wolverines wouldn't go away quietly however, as Zorovich finished a blast from the far right wing with 1:45 left in the second quarter to close out the first-half scoring with the Maize and Blue trailing 8-4 after 30 minutes of play.
It was imperative the Wolverines got off to a quick start in the third and they did just that, as senior captain Riley Kearns (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Brother Rice) finished a feed from senior midfielder Peter Vasher (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer) just outside the crease as Michigan clawed within three just over two minutes in.
Junior midfielder Jordan Kirshner (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer) made it 8-6 just over a minute later, dodging in from the left wing and firing low. The Panthers slowed the momentum at 9:45 to make it 9-6, and earned a 30-second man-up following a Michigan push deep in Chapman territory.
The U-M man-down unit was up to the task, and Michigan was able to put together a solid possession mid-way through the third. After multiple shots for the Maize and Blue, junior captain David Rogers (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills) dodged in from the right GLE and cut in before shoveling a shot in as Michigan once again drew within two goals.
Senior midfielder Anthony Hrusovsky (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) kept the momentum with the Wolverines, notching his first of the game at 4:55 of the third as Michigan made it a one-goal game late in the third quarter.
Chapman regained the two-goal lead on the transition at the 1:36 mark, but Rogers answered for Michigan with just 35 seconds left in the third quarter as U-M continued to trim the deficit, trailing just 10-9 going into the final frame.
Michigan earned the first solid possession of the fourth quarter, and Rogers continued to carry the load, firing from 12 yards straight out to tie the game for the first time since the opening minutes of the first.
Vasher earned the Wolverines their first lead of the game finishing from his trade-mark spot on the right wing, firing against the grain as Michigan led 11-10 with 11:49 left in the contest. Chapman earned the next possession of the game and was able to get a solid chance from 15 yards out, but sophomore goaltender Andrew Fowler (Grosse Pointe, Mich./Hotchkiss CT) closed off the bottom of the cage and kept Michigan in front with just over 10 minutes left in the fourth. Michigan successfully cleared the ball and increased their lead to 12-10 on Yealy's second of the game as the second-year player dodged from behind the cage and used his body to block off the defender before firing with exactly nine minutes left in the fourth.
Chapman put together a lengthy possession with roughly six minutes left in the contest, and eventually scored to cut the lead to 12-11 on a dodge down the middle. Chapman won the ensuing faceoff and earned another long possession, but this time the Wolverine defense made the play, scooping up a loose ball behind the cage and successfully clearing it into the Panther zone. The Wolverines called a timeout with 1:44 left in the game to set up their late-game strategy, but the Panthers quickly re-earned possession coming out of the break and called their own timeout with 1:22 left.
The Wolverine defense buckled down for the game-clinching stop however, eventually earning possession and charging up field as time expired. As the clock struck 0:00, the Wolverines rushed the field in celebration of their second consecutive title, this time in far more dramatic style than the previous.
Statistically, it was a mixed bag for the Wolverines. U-M was outshot 39 to 33, and lost the groundball battle, 41 to 38. The Wolverines were only 11-26 on faceoffs, and were 21-31 on clears while riding the Panthers to 10-17 totals. The Maize and Blue scored once on three man-up opportunities, and held the Chapman to only one goal on five chances.
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