The #3 UCSB men’s lacrosse team suffered its second defeat of the season Saturday, dropping an 8-5 decision to #4 Michigan.

In a rematch of last year’s Men’s Division Intercollegiate Association (MDIA) National Championship semifinal game in which UCSB prevailed, the Wolverines scored three goals in the first period and never trailed en route to the win. The Gauchos (5-2 overall, 2-0 Western Collegiate Lacrosse League) allowed a season-high eight points, though the game turned into a defensive battle after Michigan took a 6-3 lead into halftime.

Played on Rob Field in front of a large crowd that included a significant number of Michigan fans who made the trip, the game had a playoff atmosphere. The Wolverines got on the board first, scoring on a pass from behind the net, making the score 1-0. UCSB answered quickly, as senior Nick Stratton scored after the face off to tie the game at one.

After a Michigan goal after a Santa Barbara turnover, the Gauchos had several scoring opportunities but could not find the back of the net. UCSB found itself in a 3-1 hole to end the first period as Michigan scored in the closing moments of the quarter.

A goal in the first minute of the second quarter brought UCSB within one, but Michigan quickly answered to go up 4-2. At the 11:00 mark sophomore George Granelli closed the gap again with a goal to make the score 4-3.

Michigan responded two minutes later and played tough defense through the rest of the period, adding another goal with 2:20 remaining to take a 6-3 lead – and momentum – into halftime.

Scoring for both teams slowed considerably in the second half. The Gauchos got one past the Wolverine defense with five minutes remaining in the quarter to get to within two goals 6-4. Just when the Gauchos looked to have turned the momentum, Michigan again had the answer, scoring with three minutes remaining to take a three-goal advantage into the final period.

The defensive struggle continued for both clubs, making scoring chances few and far between in the fourth quarter. As the clock started to become an enemy for UCSB’s comeback effort, Michigan added one more goal at the 7:30 mark.

Despite several chances for the Gauchos to claw back into the game, Michigan’s defense continued to be up to task. Although UCSB put in a goal with 2:20 left which cut the lead to three and pressured the Wolverine defense in the closing minutes, the efforts were too little too late.

Up next the Gauchos hit the road to face UC San Diego on Saturday.