When the University of Michigan men’s lacrosse team played its first-ever varsity game at the Division I level in 2012, Doug Bryant got things started with a bang.
The former Princeton High standout scored the first two goals for the Wolverines against Detroit as they made the jump from the club level.
“That was pretty crazy; I was in the right place at the right time,” said Bryant, recalling those historic tallies in the 13-9 loss.
“It was like my whole career, coming to Michigan and walking on to a club team and then the club becomes a D-1 program.”
While Michigan predictably struggled in its first D-I campaign, going 1-13, Bryant showed the right stuff, scoring 16 points on 13 goals and three assists.
But the 6’2, 199-pound midfielder ran into some tough times in the latter stages of the campaign.
“I was injured my sophomore year and that carried into fall ball,” said Bryant.
“I had a torn PCL in my knee. I injured it in the middle of my sophomore year and I kept playing on it which made it worse. I had to take time off in the fall to let it heal.”
The lost time doomed Bryant to a tough junior campaign in 2013, as he scored just one goal in five appearances.
Entering this spring, Bryant was determined to end things on a high note.
“I was excited to be coming back,” said Bryant. “The coaches emphasized that whoever worked hardest in practice would get to play. I worked my way up to the second line.”
Bryant enjoyed a solid start to 2014, picking up seven goals and two assists in Michigan’s first eight contests, highlighted by a goal against perennial lax powerhouse Johns Hopkins.
“That was definitely special,” said Bryant, reflecting on the tally at Hopkins. “It was something I had been working for; to get it at Homewood was great.”
Bryant, though, got hit by the injury bug once again, rupturing his spleen in a March 15 win over
While Bryant did return to the field, he wasn’t 100 percent going down the stretch.
“I came back for the last couple of weeks,” said Bryant. “I was a little behind; it is tough to be out for a month in the middle of the season.”
With Michigan going 5-11 this spring after posting a combined 2-26 record over the previous two seasons, Bryant believes the squad will be tougher to beat in the future.
“We had a really good group of underclassmen guys, they followed our lead and they were very coachable,” said Bryant.
“I am excited to see how things go in the future; things are starting to turn around. Five wins wasn’t great but it was a lot better than one win in two straight years. It was great for the underclassmen. There is going to be a Big 10 lacrosse league next year with Hopkins, Maryland, Rutgers, Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan.”
Bryant led the way in terms of conditioning, earning the program’s 2014 Weight Room Warrior Award.
“It was for the guys who trained the hardest,” said Bryant, reflecting on the honor. “I was in Argentina last summer and I had access to a great gym. Lacrosse is a year-long thing for me.”
Playing lacrosse at Michigan gave Bryant some great lessons on battling through tough times.
“It was definitely about sticking with things and being persistent; I went through ups and downs,” said Bryant, a cellular and molecular biology major who is planning to apply to medical school after taking a gap year.
“Junior year was a downer. I had a lot of injuries but I persevered. It was incredible to play for Michigan athletics, particularly for someone who wasn’t even recruited for the club team. My closest friends were on the lacrosse team. It is definitely a great sports environment. We played our home games this spring in the Big House (the 110,000-seat Michigan Stadium).”