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Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Preview: Michigan

The NCAA D1 season is now underway! During the first couple of weeks of lacrosse season we’ll be finishing up the Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Previews! Like last year, we are going through all of the D1 men’s teams for 2014 (there are 67 this year!) and we are now moving on to the Michigan Wolverines, located in Ann Arbor, MI.

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan

Michigan has two D1 seasons under their belt, which is good. They also have a 2-26 record over those two season, which is not as good. Will 2014 be the year that the Wolverines string together a couple of wins and make their presence truly felt at the D1 level for men’s lacrosse?

Although the wins haven’t exactly piled up for Michigan, I do love their scheduling over the last three seasons. The Wolverines play a solid mix of super tough and lower ranked teams out of conference. There are winnable games and games where they are looking to really test themselves. Coach John Paul has been consistent with this approach, and I’m a big fan of that.

This year Michigan will still play in the ECAC, and they face some good teams there. Penn State, Hopkins, Cornell, Maryland, and Yale will all be stiff tests. Mercer, Detroit, High Point, Furman, St. Joseph’s, and Robert Morris are more winnable games. It’s a good mix, and it prepares them well for the move to the Big Ten in 2015.

No one put up crazy numbers for UM last year, but of their top ten scorers from 2013, all ten return. Basically, if you scored more than 1 point for Michigan last year, you’re back. That’s a good start, especially for a new team that was competitive in stretches last year. Kyle Jackson, Matt Hernandez, and Thomas Paras led the way last year, and will carry a lot of the load again in 2014. Will Meter, David McCormack, Mike Francia, Peter Kraus, and David Joseph add some offensive depth and experience. Three freshman play attack and have good size. Look for one or two to step in and see some time.

Brad Lott took the majority of the team’s face offs last year, and won 98 of 208 draws. He could see competition this year from Kevin Wylie and two freshman F/O specialists with good size. Chase Brown, Paxton Moore, and Dakota Sherman all saw time last year and all return with the ability to play LSM. Jeff Chu provides some experience to an improving d-mid squad, and Thomas Orr could see an increased role.

Defensively, Michigan should be led by Gerald Logan, who would be returning after a solid freshman campaign as the starter. Logan saved about 56% of the shots he faced, and let in under 12 goals per game, playing very well at times, but could be out this year with an injury. I like freshman Robbie Zonino to compete for some time though. He’s another good option in net.

Charlie Keady and Mack Gembis played in 13 games last year and when you combine them with all the talent listed as LSMs, Michigan has decent depth. JD Johnson saw time in 10 games last year, and Chris Walker played in 7 contests. There are also some freshman with size and potential.

Overall, Michigan brings back a lot from a team that was competitive at times last year. Things are definitely looking up in Year 3, but I don’t see this team winning more than 5 games, and even that could be a stretch. If Michigan can win 3 or 4 games and compete in the majority of the rest of their games they will have taken another step towards the big time.

For more NCAA D1 Lacrosse coverage, check out Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview: Air ForceAlbanyArmyBellarmineBinghamtonBostonBrownBryantBucknellCanisius,
Colgate,  CornellDartmouthDelawareDetroitDrexelDukeFairfieldFurman,
GeorgetownHartfordHarvardHigh PointHobartHofstraHoly CrossJacksonvilleJohns HopkinsLafayetteLehighLoyolaManhattanMaristMarquetteMaryland, Massachusetts, and Mercer.