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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Michigan 16, BYU 6

The Wolverines faced by far their stiffest competition of the young season last night, and walked out of Oosterbaan with a 16-6 pasting of rival BYU - despite not having played that well.

Par for the course for your annual National Champions.


From the game notes, your tempo-free breakdown.

Brigham Young
BYU Michigan
Faceoff Wins 10 Faceoff Wins 16
Clearing 12-25 Clearing 16-26
Possessions 45 Possessions 55
Goals 6 Goals 16
Offensive Efficiency .133 Offensive Efficiency .291

Michigan played a good faceoff man, and Brian Greiner mostly owned him. There were many more scrambles for the loose ball than there were clean wins, but I would guess Greiner had a marked advantage on both kinds. Michigan's play on the wings (primarily by Yealy and A-heim) was outstanding.

In the clearing game, Michigan's ride continued to prove that nobody has "figured out" the 10-man ride, or any of the Wolverines' other riding schemes. Michigan's clear was shaky early in the game (both teams had trouble getting settled offensive possessions through most of the first quarter), but managed to get settled as the game wore on.

In efficiency terms, Michigan's offense was decent-not-great, which is very good when considering the quality of opposition. The BYU offense sputtered all game, and aside from a few times when Michigan's defense got a little sloppy with a big lead, they were going to get maybe 2 or 3 quality scoring chances.


The offense was led by the usual suspects, with Chad Carroll (3-1-4), Joey Hrusovsky (2-2-4), and Trevor Yealy (3-0-3) near the top of the leaderboard. A little more surprising was the presence of freshman Doug Bryant tied for the lead in points with 3-1-4. Bryant opened the scoring with a nice lefty bull dodge and a solid finish, and recorded his first hat trick as a Wolverine. Carroll and Yealy both showed off more speed than I'm used to seeing from them, with Carroll outrunning the entire BYU midfield and defense on an unsettled situation, and Yealy continuing to impress starting as a wing midfielder on faceoffs.

So, with all the talk about the attack, the lack of top-end talented depth in the midfield might stick out like a sore thumb, but... 16 goals against one of the nation's best defenses. Q.E.D. If the young midfield progresses over the course of the season, they should complement an already-potent Michigan offense by the time the tournament rolls around.

As for the defense... newsflash: it is really good. The 2nd- and 3rd lines played better than they did against Florida (in my opinion), though the top line wasn't the terrorbeast we know it's capable of being in any given game. I'm willing to bet, based on 3+ years of evidence, that it was just an aberration. For all the (deserved) accolades that Harry Freid gets, I actually thought Austin Swaney was the best player on the field for either team. The fact that Michigan gets to have both on their team is just unfair.

I mentioned above that the faceoff performance exceeded my expectations, and it's worth pointing out again that I think Brian Greiner is rounding into really good form. Michigan isn't going to dominate like they have in the past, but any worries I had about faceoffs being a liability are completely gone. Trevor Yealy and Matt Asperheim are exceptional at picking up the GBs in traffic, as well.

I mentioned earlier that Michigan struggled early on clears - though both teams did in the first quarter, due to some seriously physical play. A couple unforced turnovers hurt the numbers quite a bit, but Michigan should be able to clean those up. Making smarter decisions under pressure is where further improvement will come from.

BYU had a midfielder who was easily the biggest lacrosse player I've ever seen in person. He was listed on the roster as 6-6 235, but I wouldn't be surprised if his actual weight was closer to 260. As for other observations of the Cougars, it was definitely interesting to see a team totally unused to struggling do so. It was clear they hadn't faced any serious level of adversity in 2011 yet. If they had, maybe Michigan's opening run would have been more like 3-0 or 4-0 than 9-0.

Up Next

Pitt Panthers. 7PM tonight. Oosterbaan Fieldhouse.

Get it.

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