By GEOFF MEHL, Staff Reporter
The University of Michigan-Dearborn’s lacrosse team is off to a great start at 4-1, and junior Andrew Dixon’s return from injury is a contributing factor.
“Losing Dixon for the 2014 season was really tough,” said coach Jason Watts.
In 2014, Dixon suffered a knee injury, tearing his anterior cruciate ligament skiing just two games into the season. The injury sidelined him for the rest year.
“I really didn’t think it was a torn ACL at first,” he said. “I was just kind of in shock, I tried to ski down the hill at first but then I had to call the ski patrol.”
After arriving home, Dixon found out about a week and a half later that he had torn his ACL. He was then redshirted by the team, allowing for an extra year of eligibility.
“Finding out that I had been redshirted for the year made it a lot better,” he said.
He rehabbed for about three months and found a new hobby in the process: cycling.
“I’ve been biking pretty often as the biggest form on my recovery,” he said. “I found that I enjoy cycling more after my injury.”
The injury was hard on Dixon. Having to stand on the sideline and watch his teammates play made him want to get back on the field.
Now that he is back on the field, Dixon has been an integral part of the success for the Wolverines. He plays long stick middle and helps control the momentum and pace of the UM-Dearborn attack.
“Dixon is perhaps our most versatile player,” Watts said. “He has always been an exceptional defensive middie, but with a long stick he presents a more opposing threat on defense.”
Dixon is fourth on the team in ground balls with 21 and is behind the leader, attacker Dylan Hatcher, by only two. He attributes it to just being part of his position.
“You should win all of those neutral zone scrums,” Dixon said. “The physicality of the game is really fun.”
Along with Dixon’s strength with ground balls, he is also a team leader taking face-offs. He is currently second on the team with face-offs won and is 56 percent on the year. He attributes his success to more than one reason.
“Forearm exercises,” he said, jokingly. “Having good challengers in practice helps a lot, I also watch YouTube videos.”
Watts has been happy with the way Dixon is coming along and helping in the face-off circle, even though he uses the long stick.
“Usually when you see a long stick facing off it’s because a team is losing the face-off battle and it’s a strategy to stop fast breaks,” Watts said. “However, Dixon is very good and is actually winning over 50 percent of his draws.”
As the season moves along, Dixon is positive about how the team is progressing and the opportunities they have going forward.
“It’s been really exciting,” he said. “Getting the new talent and having the guys who have been with the program step up has been great.”
Dixon is still recovering, but all is going well. He looks to continue his rehab and do great things as the season reaches the meat of the schedule.