By Jeramy Stover, SPORTS EDITOR
It wasn’t the way they wanted to go out. Especially after the way the game began.
The University of Michigan-Dearborn lacrosse team fell victim to Lawrence Tech 21-11 on Wednesday night – extending their losing streak to seven.
The Blue Devils (4-4) killed any hope for the Wolverines (2-8) making the playoffs and unfortunately it came on the annual celebratory senior night.
UM-Dearborn came out of the gate with plenty of energy. The home team scored the first two goals of the game. Then after the Blue Devils scored two quick goals to tie it, the Wolverines countered by scoring two more of their own.
A key to the Wolverines effective start was winning face-offs. Jake Harrison was nearly perfect through the first half of the first quarter.
But as soon as the Blue Devils began winning the majority of the face-offs, the momentum quickly shifted to their side.
Lawrence Tech would end the first quarter scoring three consecutive goals, the last one coming with just two seconds left.
The Blue Devils continued the bombardment in the second quarter by scoring the first five of the quarter taking a staggering 10-4 lead.
But a late surge brought the game to closer terms as Anders Rasmussen took a place from Matthew Rosteck and found the back of the net with 48 seconds left. The face-off following the goal, Harrison won the draw ran down the field and ripped a shot into the Blue Devils cutting the lead to just four.
But the third quarter would closely mirror the second as the Blue Devils came out and scored six of the first seven goals and took a commanding lead of the game.
Head coach Jason Watts said defensive issues were a key contributor to the Blue Devils grabbing control of the game.
“We came out with the intensity we wanted to and we kept it most of the game but we had our setbacks on defense. We wanted to get up early and set the tone for the game, I think we did that early but then unfortunately on the defensive side we had our setbacks that didn’t go our way,” Watts said.
The Wolverines struggled with the fast paced offensive game the Blue Devils brought. Something assistant coach Mike Wagner said his defense had a tough time containing.
Mitchell Stapleton and Brendan Salva each scored three goals for the Wolverines. Hannibal Roda contributed with two goals. Rasmussen, Harrison, and Rosteck scored one goal each.
Five seniors were honored at halftime of the game – David Stephanoff, Andrew Popp, Jeff Sabastian, Richard Nehring, and Andrew Dixon.
Only Popp and Dixon played in the game as the others had to sit out due to eligibility issues that have kept them out of conference games this season.
The unique fact about the group of seniors is when they came to campus the lacrosse program had not yet taken the step up to being varsity. Wagner said having the group of players be part of both eras helps make them a special bunch.
“This group of guys came out to play they weren’t recruited to play. They came out to play because they wanted to be here, they took a chance on us, they could’ve quit two or three years ago but they kept coming back even when we recruited players and were getting into our varsity routine they stuck with it and helped out and they knew their role,” Wagner said.
“(I’ll) miss them because you see them grow up from freshmen to seniors and they’ve matured a lot on the field and off the field and we’re really glad and grateful to be a part of their lives.”
UM-Dearborn will finish up the regular season April 17 when they travel to Siena Heights.