The #1 Wolverines headed out to East Grand Rapids High School to take on their in-state rival, Michigan State. I did not think MSU would be much of a challenge, however, they played pretty well. The Spartans started off the game fast, and it seemed they caught Michigan off guard. MSU got out to an early lead, and it was starting to look dim for the Wolverines. However, John Paul’s philosophy is to never give up. The Wolverines did exactly what they needed to in order to take over the lead in the 2nd quarter.
Michigan was riding MSU hard, and put a lot of pressure on the Spartans when they were trying to clear the ball out of their defensive side. The Wolverines scored a couple goals with the pressure they put on MSU, and those goals showed to be exactly what won Michigan the game. The entire second half was nothing but defense. Both teams played very hard, and showed they truly wanted to come out on top. Each team’s defense caused many turnovers, but Michigan’s persistant riding allowed them to have enough possession’s to put the game out of reach. The Wolverines finished the season strong after losing to Colorado, and the post-season will start very soon. I anticipate Michigan will make a strong run through the playoffs, so stay tuned! [more]
Michigan outshot the Spartans 36-26, scooped up 56 groundballs to MSU’s 28. U of M was 15 of 22 on faceoffs, and cleared the ball easily, going 18 of 22. The Spartans had plenty of trouble due to Michigan’s riding, and only cleared the ball 16 of 34 times. The Wolverines will practice all this week before starting the CCLA playoffs over May 1st and 2nd at Saline High School. Their opponent has not been decided yet.
Some thoughts from Coach John Paul:
On his general impressions: “I thought the key tonight was about matching their intensity, especially at the start. You know they were going to come out with a lot of emotion and intensity; they always do in this game. We got behind a little early, but I thought we did a nice job of bouncing back and matching their intensity. We had to go blow for blow with them for a bit but we eventually created some space there in the second quarter once we started clicking. I thought Michigan State had the kind of team this year that was able to give us a lot of trouble if we didn’t come in with the right mindset or if we didn’t match their level of intensity, but the guys were up for it tonight.”
On the chance of playing MSU again this upcoming weekend in the CCLA Conference Tournament: “I think that’s what we want. Yes we always want to come out and beat them, but we would really like to see this rivalry become a fixture. I expect to see them again this upcoming weekend and hopefully we will come out with the same focus and intensity that we did tonight. If that’s the case, I think we have a chance of coming out on top again.”