BY JERAMY STOVER, Staff Reporter
After spending last weekend in Illinois, the University of Michigan-Dearborn lacrosse team returned home for a pair of important games.
The Wolverines dropped their conference opener against Lourdes, 19-13, on Saturday. They defeated Toledo 12-11 in overtime Sunday.
After a tough 14-point loss last season, UM-Dearborn was looking to get revenge on the Gray Wolves. The Wolverines found themselves in a man-up opportunity early and Dylan Hatcher took advantage of it by scoring the first goal of the game.
Throughout the first quarter, both teams went back and forth trading goals. UM-Dearborn would score five more goals before the period ended to give them a 6-5 lead.
The Gray Wolves came out flying in the second quarter. They scored the first three goals of the period and nearly the fourth, until it was waved off by the referee because of an illegal stick.
The Wolverines found themselves in a hole at halftime trailing Lourdes 9-7.
The lead would never change hands the rest of the way. Lourdes scored the last four goals of the game and sent the Wolverines home with a 19-13 loss.
“It’s a good measuring stick, we know we can compete with them,” Coach Jason Watts said. “It was a close game the whole way until they opened it up at the end in the fourth quarter, but it shows us we can be there. If we can fix the few mental gaps we had, when they got on a run and keep playing hard through that, I think if we can fix those and play a full 60 minutes, we’re right in it.”
A few costly turnovers in the defensive end helped contribute to the loss. Watts liked the way his team possessed the ball in the offensive end but stressed that his team needed to do a better job of clearing the ball out of the defensive end.
“On offensive we did a really good job of possessing the ball,” Watts said. “We had some costly turnovers on the clear. (We) had a couple times we were clearing the ball up field and we tried to pass it back to the middle and we dropped it, turnover right there, and I think they had one or two goals off that,” Watts said. “So we have to do a better job at the clearing game.”
Goal scorers for the Wolverines included Hatcher (five), Cabello (three), Hannibal Roda (two), and Joel Martin, Matthew Rosteck, and Mitchell Stapleton all with one goal each.
On Sunday the Wolverines looked to take one win away from the weekend as they took on Toledo.
A sluggish start by UM-Dearborn led them to be trailing the Rockets 7-4 at halftime. The Wolverine defense stepped up only allowing Toledo to score four goals in the second half. But the last one tied the game at 11 and ultimately forced an overtime session.
Exactly one minute into the extra period Rosteck ripped a shot past the Rockets goalie from 15 yards away giving his team a 12-11 victory.
“It’s a good win but it’s also tough, cause we expected to play a little higher level today. It’s good to get the win but we still have work to do,” Watts said.
Watts said his team might’ve had a little “hangover effect” from an emotional game the previous day, causing the slow start.
“Such a tough, emotional game yesterday. We knew coming into today it would be harder to get guys pumped for the game and come out with the energy we did,” Watts said. “There was a lot of mental mistakes today, it was hard to get guys motivated, they really didn’t start to come together until the fourth quarter.”
Rosteck led the team with five goals, and Watts explained how his freshman has been dominating as of late.
“He’s been dominating ever since probably the third game of the season. He’s started to take control and become a leader on offense,” Watts said. “He’s a matchup issue for a lot of guys out there. He has size and he has speed, he’s so tall, too. He can find guys easier than most guys have.”
Roda had a pair of goals on the day. Hatcher, Cabello, Stapleton, and Alex Fitzgerald each scored one goal apiece.
Hatcher became the all-time points leader in school history with his goal that came at the end of the second quarter.
Hatcher agreed with his coach that the team came out slow but was happy with the result.
“We came out really slow; we had a lot of adjustments to be made, but we fixed them,” Hatcher said. “We overcame and we finished.”