Michigan comeback fails against Ohio State
On a three-game losing streak, the No. 14 Michigan women’s lacrosse team was looking for a chance to end its slippage Friday night against rival Ohio State.
After a slow start that led to a four-goal deficit late in the first period, Wolverines needed a spark. And with two captains injured, they found energy on their bench.
But the comeback led by freshman midfielder Jill Smith and senior forward Claire Galvin fell through as Michigan (9-5 overall, 1-3 Big Ten) lost to the Buckeyes (9-4, 2-1), 9-7.
After a disappointing loss to Southern California last weekend, the Wolverines were hoping to play four periods of consistent lacrosse – something that’s been a little tough lately.
“You can’t expect to play 45 minutes and win in the Big Ten,” Michigan coach Hannah Nielsen said. “Last game we started fast and ended slow, this game we started slow and ended well. The message is to understand what you need to do to maintain a consistent level whether it’s mental failures or physical fatigue.
That slow start was a first six-minute scoreless run until Ohio State opened the game and Michigan, looking lost, couldn’t match the Buckeyes’ production. The Wolverines were outshot 11-5 in the first period and they needed someone to step in.
It seemed to be Smith and Galvin.
After a goal from freshman midfielder Julia Schwabe put Michigan on the scoreboard, Smith added one of his own, waking up both the crowd and his team as momentum began to build. switch.
But down 5-2 early in the half, Wolverines needed more.
Smith scored his second goal three minutes into the half, and after Ohio State responded, Galvin added two of his own, cutting the Buckeyes’ lead to one.
As the Wolverines closed the gap, the tension on the pitch grew and the players started to get restless. In the final six and a half minutes of the third period, each team received a yellow card while trading a total of five fouls.
A Buckeye goal with 90 seconds left before the break cut Michigan’s deficit to two heading into the final period.
Wolverine’s intense defense kept Ohio State at bay for the opening minutes of the fourth period, but the Buckeyes scored another goal, widening the gap Michigan had been hoping to close.
Just three minutes later, Galvin scored his third goal of the game, his second hat-trick of the season and his first in a conference game, reducing the deficit to two. While another key goal from a bench player gave the Wolverines a much-needed spark, Ohio State called timeout, fearing a change in momentum.
Out of the timeout, the intensity for both teams increased as they traded shots, defensive positions and fouls.
The Buckeyes then struck with a man goal after a yellow card from Michigan, but the Wolverines responded two minutes later with a goal from senior midfielder Kaitlyn Mead, a consistent force for Michigan all season.
Wolverines played the final 100 seconds of the match with an intensity they had lacked before. They had a few good opportunities thanks to the free position, but they just couldn’t take advantage of them.
As Michigan hopes to regain the dominance they started the season with, their bench production provides a potential blueprint.
“(Galvin) is doing really well against the zone; she’s a very smart player, great off the ball player, sees the lanes and had a great day shooting today,” Nielsen said. “Jill (Smith) too, really in one of her first games playing two-way midfield, for her to step in when some key players were missing, I thought that was a positive sign. “
But for the team to get back into the win column, the Wolverines will have to go back to playing four regular periods of lacrosse.