staff, March 31, 2015

In my weekly, season-long Stick Check feature covering Big Ten men's lacrosse, I look at the results from opening play in the conference, one specific area of improvement for Ohio State, and Michigan's overall athleticism. Don't forget to check out the BTN TV schedule for lacrosse as well as the BTN Plus live streaming schedule, too.


Conference powers hold serve

The much-anticipated start to Big Ten lacrosse conference competition finally kicked off this past weekend. All of the ?favorites? prevailed. Hopkins withstood a four-goal Rutgers run in the third quarter to come back and win 9-7. Ohio State rebounded from a loss to Notre Dame to earn a hard fought victory at Penn State by a final of 10-8.

In the final game of the weekend Maryland?s stout defense took center stage as the Terrapins subdued Michigan 13-4. Aside from the great action between the lines there was a palpable sense of excitement in the air at each venue. It was a proud weekend for every team that competed.

Ohio State strong up the middle

A year ago the Buckeyes had inconsistency in the goal and struggled on faceoffs. These two areas helped contribute to a record of 6-8 and no berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes are currently 8-3 in large part to the outstanding goal tending of Tom Carey and the face-off work of Christopher May. Carey is saving 55 percent and only allowing 7.51 goals per game (7th in the nation).

May is winning 65 percent of his draws – that's 8th best in the NCAA – and that gets the patient Buckeye offense extra possessions. Both areas of improvement have led to better results for Ohio State and are a big reason they are in a prime position to contend for the Big Ten title and perhaps even grab an at-large berth in this year?s NCAA Tournament.

Michigan has athletes

I had the opportunity to cover the Maryland-Michigan game on the Big Ten Network (see the highlights in this post). While Maryland ultimately cruised to the 13-4 win I walked away very impressed with the speed and athleticism of the Wolverines. Michigan featured several swift offensive players in Kyle Jackson, Mike Francia, and Mikie Schlosser.

Long stick midfielder Chase Brown was all over the place, chasing down groundballs and leading what transition opportunities the Wolverines had. Michigan is a very young program with unlimited potential, and their best days are ahead of them. But in the meantime, this team may just pull off some upsets and continue to turn heads.


Mark Dixon, a former Johns Hopkins lacrosse player, contributes to Inside Lacrosse and calls Big Ten men's lacrosse games on BTN. On Twitter follow him (@dixonlacrosse) and BTN's lacrosse crew (@BTNlax).