#1 Wolverines Rely on Defense to Down #20 Illinois

Lake Forest, Ill. The #1 ranked University of Michigan Men's Lacrosse team earned a 12-5 win Saturday afternoon (April 11) over #20 Illinois at Lake Forest High School just outside Chicago. In frigid April temperatures, the Wolverines relied on steady defense and their ride to secure their 13th victory of the season.

Illinois opened the scoring on a shot from the far right wing two minutes into the contest, but sophomore attackman Trevor Yealy (Pittsburgh, Penn./Upper St. Claire) answered for the Wolverines at 7:29 of the first on a feed from junior attackman Kevin Zorovich (Massapequa, N.Y./Massapequa). Yealy added another two minutes later, finishing an assist from hometown player Anthony Hrusovsky (Lake Forest, Ill./Lake Forest) on the man-up as Michigan took the early 2-1 lead.

Illinois evened the scoring on the man-up at 4:54 of the first, but Yealy kept up his torrid early pace, burying another feed from Zorovich from just outside the crease to regain the 3-2 lead going into the second quarter.

Zorovich gave Michigan a two-goal advantage early in the second, dodging through a number of defenders and firing low, against the grain for his first goal of the game. Illinois immediately answered on their next possession however, burying a high shot from the right wing to cut the lead to 4-3.

Yealy extended the Wolverine lead to 5-3, finishing an initial rebound shot from senior midfielder Peter Vasher (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer), before senior captain Riley Kearns (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Brother Rice) scored on a dodge from behind the cage to give the Wolverines their largest lead of the game to that point.

The Wolverines scored their third unanswered goal their next time down, as Zorovich scooped up a loose ball to the right of the cage and fired low after faking high for the 7-3 lead with 5:36 left in the first half. Neither team scored in the remainder of the half as Michigan took a four-goal lead into the locker room.

Both teams struggled to score in the third quarter, with Zorovich eventually breaking through at 3:35 on a shovel shot from just outside the crease as Michigan notched their four unanswered goal and led 8-3 after three quarters.

After the Illini scored the opening goal of the fourth quarter, Michigan responded with back to back goals from Yealy and junior transfer Michael Bartomioli (Pleasantville, N.Y./Pleasantville) with just over 10 minutes left to quell any Illinois momentum. Zorovich added his fourth of the game just over a minute later.

After an Illini goal late in the fourth, Bartomioli scored his second of the game after scooping up a loose ball at midfield, racing down field and firing low for the final goal of the contest as Michigan walked away with the 12-5 victory.

Statistically, Michigan won every major category. U-M out-shot their opponent 36 to 31, and won the groundball battle, 54 to 44. The Wolverines were 11 of 21 on faceoffs, and finished a solid 21 of 25 on clears, while riding Illinois to 19-34 totals. The Maize and Blue finished 2-3 on the man-up, while the Illini scored once in eight opportunities.

The Wolverines will be back in action two weeks from now when they take on #14 Michigan State on Saturday, April 25 in Birmingham, Michigan at Birmingham Seaholm High School in the annual Great Lakes Lacrosse Classic.


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