Game Preview: Men’s Lacrosse vs. Michigan
Nothing quite says Big Ten lacrosse like a Penn State and University of Michigan matchup.
The Nittany Lions of Penn State will take on the Wolverines of Michigan Friday in Happy Valley.
This marks the third game of conference play for the two teams, both entering 0-2 in the Big Ten.
Michigan is favored to win this game as they have a 7-4 record on the season despite its four game losing streak. Penn State is looking to improve its 2-8 record and end its five game losing streak.
In program history, the Nittany Lions are 8-2 against the maize and blue, including an overtime victory in the latest meeting.
Ann Arbor is home to the Big Ten’s leading goal scorer, Josh Zawada, with 36 goals on the season so far. He leads the conference in goals per game (3.27), shots per game (9.18), and points per game (5.73), while ranking third in assists per game (2.45).
Right behind Zawada is Michael Boehm, with 31 goals and 24 assists. He finds himself fourth in goals per game with 3.27, points per game with 5.67, and assists per game with 2.18.
While putting up impressive numbers on offense, Michigan’s defense is where the magic happens.
Michigan coach Kevin Conry is in his fifth season with the Wolverines. He formerly spent time as the defensive coordinator for Maryland, which is the best team in the country. He spent his time building the foundation of the Terrapin defense and is currently doing the same in Michigan.
The defensive unit is anchored by sophomore Shane Carr in goal for the Wolverines. He has the second highest save percentage in the Big Ten with an astounding .588 on the season. Carr is currently ranked 15th in the nation in goals against average, with 10.15.
Ryan Schrieber, Jack Whitney, and Andrew Darby will be working to protect Carr, each of which come in at 6’1” or taller, with 58 ground balls on the season between the three of them.
Justin Wietfeldt and Nick Rowlett will be taking the faceoff for Michigan, both of which have had exceptional success on the dot this season. Wietfeldt has a win percentage of 62% with 48 ground balls while Rowlett has a 57% win rate and 51 ground balls.
These two will face off against redshirt freshman Hudson Bohn for the Nittany Lions, who is looking to improve his 48% win percentage on the season.
Putting up big numbers for Penn State on the offensive end of play is Jack Kelley with 16 goals on the season in 11 starts. Working alongside him is freshman Will Peden who has adapted beautifully to the Nittany Lions offense, leading the team with 15 assists, and nine goals.
Penn State has been trying to fill the gap on attack after suffering an early loss of Jack Traynor, who is third on the team in goals scored after only appearing in five games on the season. Jeb Brenfleck had no trouble getting acquainted with his teammates and is now second on the team in goals scored with 15.
The defense led by Kevin Parnham, Grant Haus, and Brayden Peck accounted for 57 ground balls and 23 caused turnovers between the big three. They will be working to protect junior Aleric Fyock in goal. Fyock has a save percentage of .498 on the season in 10 starts.
The defense will need to play hard man on defense to stop two of the biggest offensive threats in all of the NCAA, if they want to beat Michigan out for the last seed in the Big Ten.
Molly White is a second-year majoring in kinesiology, to contact her, her email is email@example.com