#1 Michigan Handles Texas in MCLA Tourney Opener

Denver, CO. On a blustery day in Colorado, the #1 seeded University of Michigan Men's Lacrosse team earned an 11-5 win over the #16 seed Texas on Tuesday afternoon (May 12) in Denver, Colorado at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in the opening round of the MCLA National Championship tournament. Despite controlling possession for the majority of the contest, U-M struggled to execute offensively, putting together their second lowest scoring output of the season.

Texas got on the board first one minute into the game on their first possession, but senior captain Riley Kearns (Bloomfield Hills, Mich./Brother Rice) evened the game just under three minutes later, bouncing in a shot from the far left wing to knot the game up at 1-1.

After a turnover in the Longhorn zone, Texas cleared the ball and found an open man 12 yards out as UT regained the early lead midway through the first. Texas increased their lead to 3-1 1:30 later after a lengthy possession followed by a shot from the far right wing. U-M slowed their momentum however, as junior faceoff specialist David Reinhard (East Lansing, Mich./East Lansing) won the ensuing faceoff, raced down field and attempted to feed sophomore attackman Trevor Yealy (Pittsburgh, Penn./Upper St. Claire) just outside the crease. The pass was deflected into the cage as Michigan drew within 3-2 midway through the first.

Michigan knotted the game up at the 5:05 mark after a nice clearing pass from senior defenseman Zach Elyachar (Upper Saddle River, N.J./Northern Highlands) found senior midfielder Peter Vasher (Ann Arbor, Mich./Pioneer) who received the pass, dodged two defenders and fired for the goal. Vasher added his second on another dodge and fire with under a minute left in the first quarter as Michigan took a 4-3 lead into the second.

Michigan got on the board first in the second quarter as Kevin Zorovich (Massapequa, N.Y./Massapequa) broke up a Texas clear and fed Yealy in front for the 5-3 lead at 9:01. Josh Ein (Potomac, Md./Bullis) extended the Wolverine to 6-3 just under three minutes later, firing a hard, bouncing shot from 15 yards out that snuck just inside the right corner.

The Wolverines failed to produce another quality scoring chance in the final minutes of the second, with the Longhorns drawing within two with 1:12 left in the first half as U-M took a 6-4 lead into the break.

Michigan continued to have trouble finding the back of the net throughout the first 12 minutes of the third quarter before Ein notched his second goal of the game on a quick stick goal from just outside the crease after taking a pass from junior midfielder David Rogers (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills). Following Ein's goal, the Wolverines put together their best stretch of the game, with Vasher notching back-to-back goals in the final minutes of the third on nearly identical goals from the right wing following hard dodges.

Senior midfielder Aaron Hodari (Bloomfield, Mich./Detroit Country Day) notched the first tally of the fourth on a shot from the left wing that found its way through a crowd of players and into the back of the cage. Texas scored just two minutes later, to cut the lead to 10-5, but were unable to make a game of it in the final minutes. Vasher closed out the scoring with his fifth of the game with 2:56 left as Michigan walked away with the 11-5 win, advancing to the quarter finals on Wednesday.

Statistically, Michigan won every major category. U-M out-shot Texas 41 to 28, and won the groundball battle, 59 to 34. The Wolverines were 13 of 20 on faceoffs, and were 22-32 on clears while riding UT to 15-28 totals. The Maize and Blue failed to score on their three man-up opportunities, but also held the Longhorns scoreless in six chances.

The Wolverines will be back in action tomorrow evening (May 13) at 7:00pm MST when they take on #9 Sonoma State in quarterfinal action in the MCLA National Championship tournament at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.


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