By JERAMY STOVER, Sports Editor
The night was chilled and the wind was brisk.
But it was a colder night for one team, and that was evident quick.
The University of Michigan-Dearborn lacrosse team was blown away Friday night, losing to Grove City 14-3.
It didn’t take long for Grove City to get going, and once they did, there was no stopping them.
Around five minutes into the first quarter, Grove City’s leading scorer David Hall found the back of the net. The visiting team would go on to score two more in the next three minutes to get a quick 3-0 lead.
With just one second remaining in the first quarter, Grove City would strike again on a shot from Daniel Casselli. This raised their lead to 6-0.
It took until nearly three and a half minutes left in the second quarter for the Wolverines to get their first goal of the night.
As the Wolverines gained possession of the ball and entered Grove City’s zone, they called a timeout to set up a play and try and spark the offense. It worked perfectly.
Shortly after play resumed following the timeout, Mitchell Stapleton ripped a shot past the Grove City goalie to get his team on the scoreboard.
But as the second half began, it was apparent the goal wasn’t going to spark enough magic for UM-Dearborn.
Grove City scored three straight goals near the halfway point of the third quarter to spring the team out to a nine goal lead.
Shortly after the three goal run, Matthew Rosteck would record the Wolverines second goal of the evening. But just thirty two seconds later, Grove City would strike again – jumping their lead back up to nine.
Brendan Salva would score in the fourth quarter for the Wolverines, but at that point the game was all but over.
Head coach Jason Watts didn’t waste any time giving credit to Grove City, who is the ninth-ranked team in the country.
“[Grove City] is a very talented team from top to bottom; we knew they were going to be tough. They have a very potent offense. They’re very disciplined on defense. They didn’t make many mistakes today,” Watts said. “We knew we were going to have to play at a high level to compete with them today.”
With his goal in the second quarter, Stapleton extends his goal streak to six games. Salva recorded his team leading 14th goal.
Assistant coach Mike Wagner was impressed by how fundamentally sound Grove City played. Their discipline and rare mistakes were something that definitely caught Wagner’s attention.
“[Grove City] played boring, fundamental lacrosse and they scored 14 goals. That is lacrosse as a way it’s supposed to be played. They didn’t get cute they didn’t do anything silly; they just went down, were very disciplined, got into their sets, ran it and it worked, and that’s it that’s all there is to it. They are just a very sound team, top to bottom,” Wagner said.
Casselli led all scorers with four goals during the contest. Lukas Toburen followed Casselli’s lead recording three goals of his own.
Wolverines’ goalie David Stephanoff took a shot to the upper chest and was taken out of the game after getting shaken up. He would return to the field later in the quarter. Stephanoff would record 10 saves on the evening.
Benjamin Dumm was critical for keeping the Wolverines’ offense quiet most of the night. The Grove City goalie stopped 10 of the 13 shots he faced, including a few impressive saves.
As the season passes the halfway point for the Wolverines, Watts isn’t worried about their record. He said he looks at progression in his team from week-to-week and that is the top priority.
“Can’t dwell on this. I’m happy with how we played today… few things we have to clean up. We’re still a young team. We’re going to make some mistakes. We’re still learning. It’s all a teaching moment for the next game,” Watts said. “Every week we’re just looking for progression. We just got to keep grinding through and improve every week.”
UM-Dearborn will look to get back on track March 26 when it takes on Aquinas from the Detroit Country Day Fieldhouse.