By JERAMY STOVER, Staff Reporter
After playing their first two games of the season in North Carolina, the University of Michigan-Dearborn lacrosse team finally got a chance to showcase their talent in front of the home crowd. And they did not disappoint.
The Wolverines defeated Saginaw Valley State 12-5 in Saturday’s contest played at the Detroit Country Day Fieldhouse.
Senior Dylan Hatcher led the way for the Wolverines, scoring five goals and adding one assist. It was Hatcher’s second goal that was recognized after the game. It marked his 100th point of his career.
According to coach Jason Watts, Hatcher is on pace to break the all-time points record in the program’s history. His 104 career points rank second behind Chris Cascadden’s 122 points totaled from 2005-2008.
“Hatcher dominated,” Watts said simply.
Hatcher got the opening goal of the game scoring near the right side of the net after receiving a nice pass from Ruben Cabello. The Cardinals would tie the game in the final minute of the first period mostly dominated by the Wolverines.
The start of the second period would appear more even. Both teams would score near the halfway point with UM-Dearborn’s goal coming off the stick of freshman Mitchell Stapleton. Stapleton would score later in the second period after his team added two more goals being scored by Hatcher and Alex Fitzgerald.
Saginaw Valley would regain its composure at halftime and score the first two goals of the third period cutting the deficit to just one. But with 49 seconds left in the period, Joel Martin would rip one past the Cardinals’ net minder to give the Wolverines a 6-4 lead going into the final period.
This is when the floodgates would officially open.
UM-Dearborn scored three goals in a 1:52 span that was capped off by Cabello getting his first goal of the game on a wraparound opportunity.
Hatcher and Fitzgerald combined for the final three tallies that were separated by just 1:02.
Saginaw Valley would end up scoring the final goal of the game as the final buzzer was about to sound to make it 12-5.
“Saginaw brought their game today. (In the) second half, we started to open it up a little bit, guys started to stick with the fundamentals a little bit, moving their feet, sticking to our offensive sets and the goals started falling at that point,” Watts said. “The win is always great, (we’d) still like to see us perfect our game. We still have a few areas to improve on but it’s a good stepping stone.”
The Wolverines were nearly perfect in the face-off circle. Fitzgerald won 11 of the 15 face-offs he took, while Andrew Dixon won five of the six face-offs he attempted.
Cabello recorded one goal and three assists during the contest. He now is the all-time leader in assists in program history. Hatcher is now tied with Cascadden for number one on the all-time goal’s list with 90 goals.
While a couple records had to be changed after the game, Watts still feels there’s a lot of work left to be done especially in the mental side of the game.
“There was a couple times we called a certain set and one person, if they are on the wrong page, it doesn’t work. That happened a couple times, we tried running the set three or four times and 75 percent of the time we didn’t run it correctly,” Watts said. “We got to fix that, whether it be through more repetition in practice, but we’re improving game by game but we still have to work to perfect those issues.”