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2019 Men’s College Lacrosse Year In Review: #35 Detroit Mercy Titans

The Titans have posted winning seasons in three of Chris Kolon’s five years as head coach.

Detroit Mercy Athletics

With the 2019 college lacrosse season complete, it’s time to look back at how all 73 teams did during the season, along with an early look at each squad for 2020.

Note: These are not end of season rankings.

Here’s our last five Year In Review posts we’ve done:

To see all of our posts, check out the 2019 Year In Review section on the site.

Let’s continue our 2019 Year In Review!

#35 Detroit Mercy Titans

Conference: MAAC
2019 Record: 8-7 (5-2 in MAAC)
Postseason: Lost to Quinnipiac in MAAC Semifinals
Head coach: Chris Kolon (5th Season)

Statistical Leaders

Goals: Seth Mendell (37)
Assists: Matthew Vangalen (36)
Points: Matthew Vangalen (55)
Faceoffs: Alex Jarzembowski (213-of-355; 60%)
Ground balls: Alex Jarzembowski (82)
Caused turnovers: Alex Akins (18)
Goals against average: Logan Shamblin (11.93 GAA)
Save percentage: Logan Shamblin (51.2%)

Personnel Losses

Key seniors departing: A Matthew Vangalen (19 Gs, 36 As, 12 GBs, 4 CTs), D Sam Horton (9 CTs, 10 GBs), SSDM Brent Lubin (6 CTs, 30 GBs, 3 Gs, 3 As), SSDM Mike Sforza (10 CTs, 10 GBs), SSDM Emmett Green (6 CTs, 7 GBs, 1 A), A Connor Bennardo (3 Gs, 1 A, 2 GBs), G/D Michael Turnbull (12.00 GAA, 55.9% SV %, 3 GBs)
Senior scoring departing: 67 of 249 points (26.9%)
Senior starts lost: 31 of 150 (20.7%)

Season Summary

Since Chris Kolon took over for Matt Holtz as head coach prior to the 2015 season, Detroit Mercy has recorded winning campaigns in three of them and completed back-to-back above .500 records with an 8-7 mark in 2019. The team recorded zero winning records in their first six years of play, but did make an NCAA Tournament appearance, something Kolon has never had as UDM’s head coach.

The Titans’ season began with the team holding off a late Jacksonville rally to win by a goal. The team would be on the road for the next six games and would not have another home game until MAAC play came in late March. After falling to Notre Dame, Detroit Mercy recorded their first ever victory over a Big East program in a 15-12 win over Marquette. The team won the following week against Bellarmine thanks to a late goal by Matthew Vangalen with nine seconds left in regulation.

After a road loss to Air Force, the Titans opened up MAAC play by doubling up St. Bonaventure before falling to Quinnipiac. The following week, Detroit Mercy made their long-awaited return back to Detroit with a low-scoring 6-4 win over Monmouth. The success continued with a come-from-behind one-goal win over Marist which saw the Titans score the game’s final four goals. They scored a win over Manhattan before losing a lead late to Canisius in their home finale. MAAC play ended with a three-goal win over Siena.

While waiting for the MAAC Tournament, Detroit Mercy suffered setbacks against Cleveland State and Utah in a span of four days. The team was taking a toll in terms of injuries, as guys like Vangalen, Seth Mendell, Brett Erskine, and Alex Akins were all dealing with injuries. That showed in the team’s 19-10 MAAC semifinal loss to Quinnipiac, which saw the Titans go down 9-0 before scoring their first goal of the game in the second quarter. Those guys needed surgery in the offseason.

Vangalen, Mendell, and Erskine were the primary starters at attack for most of the season, with freshman Max Payton and sophomore Ryan Figueiras getting involved as well. Cam Kostus, AJ Van Voorhis, and Matt Turner served as the top midfield line.

Alex Akins was the team’s top defenseman with Sam Horton and Sam McClain flanking him at close. Paul Manuszak was a very underrated long stick midfielder as a sophomore, while Brent Lubin, Mike Sforza, and Emmett Green were all reliable short stick defenders as seniors. Logan Shamblin returned in goal, but saw his numbers get worse as a sophomore. Alex Jarzembowski won 60% of his draws and was one of the best FOGOs in the MAAC.

Looking Ahead

Detroit Mercy loses one of their top offensive talents in Vangalen. But despite his departure, the Titans return their next 11 leading scorers and 12 of their top 15 goal scorers from a year ago. Expect Payton and Figueiras to get looks at being the third starter at attack.

One guy to keep an eye on is redshirt freshman Kyle Waters, who’s had a career summer box season in the OJALL with the Orangeville Northmen. He recorded a career-high 97 points in the regular season and currently has 34 points in nine playoff games.

The defense will have some holes to fill with Horton graduating at close along with three shorties. There will also be some pressure on Shamblin to improve and have numbers similar to his freshman season.

The Titans had 4 home games in 2019, three of them on campus. The good news is that (3 on campus) and that number should be close to double at seven or eight. That should help the team as well. But Detroit Mercy has shown to be a contender in the MAAC, and they’ll look to capture the program’s second conference title in 2020.


How many wins will Detroit Mercy get in 2020?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    (2 votes)
  • 7%
    (3 votes)
  • 36%
    (15 votes)
  • 51%
    (21 votes)
41 votes total Vote Now