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March 25, 2011

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Paras, Michigan Coast Past Boston College

from press release

ANN ARBOR, Mich.
–The No. 1 ranked University of Michigan Men's Lacrosse team defeated the No. 14 ranked Boston College Eagles at Oosterbaan Fieldhouse, 14-7. Momentum appeared to favor of the Wolverines in the first with a 5-1 lead, but the Eagles battled back in the second drawing within three goals of the home squad. After each team scored two goals in the third, the Wolverines persevered, scoring five in the final quarter, giving them their eighth win of the season.

The Wolverines found the net early as junior midfielder Alex Vasileff (Birmingham, MI – Seaholm) blew by his defender at the top of the right wing beating the goaltender high at 13:25 of the first quarter. Michigan continued to attack BC with offensive chances and solid defensive play keeping the Eagles off the scoreboard as transfer sophomore attackman Ryan Dutton-O'Hara (Mount Airy, MD – Urbana – St. John's) scored on an unassisted blast from straight out roughly halfway through the quarter.

Under a minute later, Michigan found itself on the clear as junior defender JD Johnson (Malibu, CA – Loyola) charged up the field and scored his first of the season at 5:47, on an undefended blast on a give-and-go play with sophomore midfielder Joe Hrusovsky (Lake Forest, IL – Lake Forest). Three minutes later, senior defender Matt Asperheim (Grand Rapids, MI – East Grand Rapids) capitalized on an Eagles turnover finding senior attackman Chad Carroll (Cincinnati, OH – St. Xavier High) for his first goal of the game.

Sophomore attackman Thomas Paras (Lakewood, OH – St. Ignatius) danced around the crease scoring his first after tucking the ball in low for Michigan's next tally. BC's efforts paid off though as they scored with eleven seconds left to close out the first with a 5-1 Michigan lead.

The man up unit moved through their plays as Carroll found Paras on a shot from the low wing on the first man up opportunity of the game just under two minutes into the second. Boston College quickly answered on their own man up opportunity followed by another goal at 7:59 to cut the lead to 6-3 midway through the second. Just over a minute later Vasileff helped slow the BC momentum as he muscled through his defender on the mid wing and scored on a shot low for his second of the game.

The back and forth scoring continued as Boston College quickly answered under a minute later to once again cut the lead to three. Neither team scored over the final 6:01 of the first half as Michigan clung to a 7-4 lead.

As they have all season, senior goaltender Mark Stone (Greenwood Village, CO – Cherry Creek) was replaced by senior goaltender Andrew Fowler (Grosse Pointe, MI – Hotchkiss, CT) at the start of the second half. The scoring slowed, but the gritty battle ensued in the second half as the teams fought for nearly half the quarter without a goal. Michigan finally broke through at 7:15 as Paras quick-sticked a Carroll pass, earning his third of the night and 20th of the season.

BC answered with a bounce shot to draw within three under a minute later as a result of the Wolverines' turnover. As Michigan's offense regained possession just over a minute later, Paras passed from behind the net to sophomore midfielder Willie Steenland (Minneapolis, MN – The Blake School) at the top of the box for a straight out blast to rebuild the four-goal lead. The Eagles scored almost two minutes later to wrap up the scoring for the quarter as the teams entered the fourth with U-M on top 9-6.

Michigan opened the scoring in the fourth, as senior midfielder Stephen Levitt (Alpine, NJ – Dwight-Englewood) scored while cutting through the middle following a pass from Steenland. The goal at 13:04, was his first of the season, and gave the Wolverines some much-needed momentum. Each team continued to battle until midway through the quarter when the Wolverines earned their fourth man up opportunity of the game. The special teams unit scored again on a blast from Hrusovsky from fifteen yards out with the assist going to Carroll. Junior midfielder Brent Kirshner (Ann Arbor, MI – Huron) ripping a shot out front after cutting down the middle.

BC answered on a failed Michigan clear to make it 12-6 in favor of the Wolverines midway through the final frame. As the game entered the final four minutes of play, senior attackman Trevor Yealy (Pittsburgh, PA – Upper St. Clair) bolted from X and launched an underhand shot beating the goalie low for his first of the game and team leading 23rd goal of the season. Soon after, Paras netted his fourth of the game dodging his defender before beating the goaltender with a high shot to lift the Maize and Blue to a 14-7 victory.

Statistically, it was a mixed bag for the Wolverines. The Wolverines were outshot 40-34, and were beaten on faceoffs, finishing 8-24. The won the groundball battle, 47-44, and rode slightly better, clearing the ball at a rate of 17-24, while BC finished 12-19. U-M finished 2-5 on the man-up, while the Eagles scored once on four attempts.

The Maize and Blue will be back in action at home on Saturday, March 26 at 7:00pm EST against the University of California – Santa Barbara at Oosterbaan Fieldhouse in Ann Arbor, MI. For all of your Michigan men's lacrosse needs, please visit mgobluelacrosse.com.

NOTES
- Paras (4-1-5) led the team in points with four goals and an assist. Carroll (1-3-4) was second with one goal and three assists.

- Carroll set a career high of three assists in a single game. Paras tied a season high with four goals in a game.

- After tonight's contest, Vasileff, Paras and Yealy have registered a point in every game so far this season.

- Senior faceoff specialist Brian Greiner (Grosse Pointe, MI – Grosse Pointe South/RPI) finished 7 of 15, junior faceoff specialist Edward Ernst (Washington, DC – Sidwell Friends) finished 1 of 8 and Hrusovsky finished 0 of 1 at the "X".

- Senior defender Harry Freid (Needham, MA – Needham) led the team with seven groundballs, a season high. Carroll came in second with six groundballs and Asperheim took third with five groundballs.

- Stone started the game, finishing with nine saves and four goals against. Fowler took over in the second half saving seven and letting in three goals.

- This was the second time Michigan was out-shot this season, the first was in their win over Chapman in early March.

- The Wolverines improve their overall record to 2-0 over Boston College after tonight's win.

QUOTES
Head Coach John Paul
On general impressions: "Well we won, and I'll take that. I thought Boston College played very hard, they worked as hard as any team we've played this year. That showed in groundballs and they dominated faceoffs which has only happened twice this year and that made a difference in the game. I thought we were rolling early in the game and then we had those string of penalties and that slowed our momentum down and gave them a little bit of momentum because they got to possess for the first time of the game. From there it was a battle, fortunately in the second half we started riding a little better and things started to go our way more."

On the impact of the change in momentum: "I don't think so, anytime there is a lot of penalties it slows the momentum of the game. No one can maintain momentum when there are a lot of penalties going on. We worked a lot this week on groundballs and I don't think we did a good job on those and that's something we take pride in and we're going to have to go back and work some more on this week.

On faceoffs and grounballs: "We ran into a really good faceoff guy, #8 for them was better than anybody we had today. He did a terrific job putting the ball wherever he wanted so there wasn't a whole lot we could do. There are some things that we're not doing on faceoffs yet that we just haven't put in to be a little more defensive but we've never had to be that so that might be something we'll have to tweak. We're really working with the guys to get through groundballs and be more aggressive and tough in there and there were times that we weren't doing that very well. There were moments in the game that they were working harder than us."

On what to take away from the game: "I've told the guys that we don't always have to win pretty, we want to be getting better every game and every week but every team is going to present a little different challenge. These guys are a skilled team, they've worked very hard and in that sense it presented some challenges for us that we haven't really faced yet this year. That's what the season is for, to learn from whatever challenges are presented and how we adapt to those challenges and in the end, we ended up winning. Ultimately, we're gutting these games out and that's what we need to do."

Sophomore attackman Thomas Paras
On overall impressions of the game: "I think for the most part, like coach said BC came out flying, playing really well and really hard. At times it was frustrating because we were throwing the ball away and playing pretty sloppy. At the start of the game we played well especially when we get in our groove but in between there we need to work on not letting them get any runs and just playing our own game."

On breakdowns and adapting: "It's always tough when you have two games in one weekend, your mind wanders a little bit and it's not that we weren't focused. It's always hard when you play back-to-back games it's always in the back of your head. They definitely came out and played hard and we had to play hard to win that's why the score came out the way it did."

On what the team can take away from the game: "We can't let down at all especially to a team like Boston College who comes to work. Whenever we play teams like ASU or Chapman again if we let up at all and they're capable of scoring just as fast as we are and getting huge runs, we just have to not let the game get away from us."

On what got the offense going towards the end: "I'd say ball movement. You could see in the third quarter that some of us, like myself, were holding the a little to long on dodges and not moving the ball as much. Once we started moving it around again some middies and attacks got some goals."

Junior defender JD Johnson
On his goal: "I was coming down, tossed Joey the ball he drew the slide and then he tossed it back to me. I was looking bottom right and that was it. It felt good."

On general impressions: "Defense was a little slow to slides but we all had each other's backs so we came around. We've had some lapses before and we got on each other positively. Usually we'll get on each other negatively, so staying positive after a couple really brought us back to our gameplan. We need to be tighter on the transition defense, less turnovers and cleaning up our clear."

On personal and team goals for the rest of the season: "For the team, obviously a national championship and always winning the next game. Personally, I want to get my groundballs number up and see if I can get some more goals and points."


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