(Photo Courtesy of Detroit Mercy Athletics)
Welcome to the Fall Snapshot series. Throughout the fall I will be taking an early look at all 75 DI men’s college lacrosse teams and giving a snapshot of where each is heading into the 2023 season.
Head Coach: Chris Konlon (Ninth season, 2015-Current)
Detroit Mercy 2022 Record: 2-9 (1-4 ASUN)
Key Departures: Brett Erskine (A), Will Edell (M), Conor Baratta (FO), Paul Manuszak (D)
Key Returners: Luke Majick (M), Ryan Birney (M), Aidan Bishop (A), Noah Martin (LSM), Jacob Hemme (G)
Transfer Additions: Ethan Pattinson (M, Bellarmine), Gabe Sucevic (D, Montevallo), James Conlon (A/M, Hope), Masen Powless (D, Marian)
In its first season in the ASUN, Detroit Mercy went 2-9 overall and 1-4 in conference play. It marked the worst season for the Titans since 2016 (2-10, 2-4). It was also the first time in which the Titans failed to reach at least five games in consecutive seasons in program history.
Detroit Mercy’s two wins came against VMI, 16-11, at home and against ASUN foe Cleveland State, 13-12. Both were home victories.
Heading into the 2023 season, Detroit Mercy will be looking to build back towards the winnings ways the program saw in the late 2010s. And it will be doing so in an expanded ASUN as Jacksonville and Mercer join the league from the SoCon while Queens and Lindenwood make the jump from DII.
Can Detroit Mercy Possess The Ball?
One of the biggest issues last season for this Detroit Mercy squad was just simply possessing the ball. The Titans ended the season second to last (71st) in clearing percentage in DI as they went 75.5% (191-for-253) in that aspect of the game. The Titans also had trouble creating possessions off the faceoff as they went 42.6% on the year in team win percentage and ranked 63rd nationally in that category.
Additionally, Detroit Mercy had trouble holding onto the ball as it finished the year with an average of 20.55 turnovers per game and had 226 turnovers on the year. The Titans ended the year 70th in DI in average turnovers per game last season.
To win games you have to possess the ball. It’s one of the simplest facts in lacrosse. If Detroit Mercy is going to improve its success in the win column, it will have to find ways to get more possessions and opportunities for the offense to put up points.
What is The Faceoff Situation?
Speaking of possessing the ball, Detroit Mercy will be undergoing a wholesale change at the faceoff dot as both its top options from last season are now gone. Connor Baratta went 66-for-143 (46%) as the primary option last spring. Mason Kamminga went 21-for-53 (39%) as the third option at the dot.
The only returner at the dot for this Titans squad is sophomore Billy Hart. He went 37-for-94 (39%) last spring as the second option at the dot.
During the 2021 season, the Titans went 60% as a team at the dot and ranked 11th nationally in faceoff win percentage with Alex Jarzembowski (59%) as the primary option. Detroit Mercy will very much want to trend back upwards in that regard after the season they had a year ago at the dot.
How Much Can Jakob Hemme Progress?
One of multiple younger players who took on a big role for this Titans squad last season, Jakob Hemme assumed the position of starting goalie. The Michigan native made 134 saves with a 47% save percentage as the anchor for a defense that struggled overall, allowing an average of 15.5 goals per game.
Despite the overall struggles of the defense, Hemme made much headway. His 13.40 saves per game is the third best in program history. His 134 overall saves on the year barley leaves him off the school’s top 10 saves list for saves in a season. Hemme ranked eighth nationally and was first among freshman in DI in saves per game. He was fifth among freshman in saves on the year.
Following a freshman season which saw Hemme have his fair share of ups and downs before eventually finding his footing and battling as the anchor of the Red Storm defense, things can only go up. And as far as the approaching 2023 season is concerned, how much improvement should be expected from the shot stopper.
Potential Breakout Player
Noah Graalman, Attack, Sophomore
A key reserve for the Titans last season, Graalman scored six goals and dished out one assists for seven points on the year and played in all 11 games. He was the team’s sixth leading scorer. With the holes this Titans team has on offense, Graalman could be one of those guys who steps up and takes on one of those bigger roles in 2023.
Detroit Mercy brings in a 14-man freshman class with its 2022 recruiting efforts.
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