MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.– The Minnesota men’s lacrosse team is will be making a 3-game road trip to Michigan this weekend. This week, the first Under Armour MCLA Coaches Poll rankings were released and has Minnesota ranked No. 23. The Gophers (4-0 overall, 1-0 CCLA) will continue their conference play as they play No. 18 Michigan State in their season opener this Friday and Oakland University on Saturday. They will then finish the weekend with a non-conference matchup against Indiana.
Michigan State Preview
The No. 18 Spartans will be making their season debut vs the Gophers under their second-year head coach Cam Holding. The Spartans’ have won the last five consecutive CCLA Championships. Their 2016 campaign ended with a 7-10 loss to defending national champion Grand Canyon in the first round of the MCLA National Tournament. Michigan State returns with three of their top five scorers from last season, with All-CCLA attackmen Charlie Pistner (31g, 7a), Brett Braun (15g, 4a), and All-CCLA and All-American midfielder Stevie McKee (21g, 6a). They also have 2-time All-American defenseman Patrick Donovan anchoring their defense along with 2016 All-American defensive midfielder Sam Uecker.
#23 Minnesota at #18 Michigan State
Date/Time: Friday, Feb. 24 || 2:30 p.m. (ET)
Location: Schoolcraft College
The Grizzlies (1-1) are in their second year playing in the DI ranks and first under their head coach Eric Guy. Last weekend they kicked off their season in Texas, dropping their first game to UT-Dallas with a score of 3-8. They followed up with a battle against North Texas, which they won 7-6 in the second overtime. Oakland finished 2016 2-4 in the CCLA, leaving them just out of the four-team conference tournament.
#23 Minnesota at Oakland
Date/Time: Saturday, Feb. 25 || 8:30 p.m. (ET)
Location: Schoolcraft College
*Note game time and location change
The Hoosiers (1-1) will be meeting the Gophers for a neutral site matchup on Sunday. Last weekend Indiana defeated George Washington University 11-5 before losing to Pittsburgh 8-12 the following day. The Hoosiers have been one of the top teams in the GRLC and has remained at the top of the GRLC East standings during head coach Pete Nelson’s 4-year-tenure. The last time the Gophers and Hoosiers met was in 2014, which the Gophers won 9-6.
#23 Minnesota vs Indiana
Date/Time: Sunday, Feb. 26 || 12:00p.m. (ET)
Location: Detroit Country Day Fieldhouse (tentative)
This season we have watched senior attackman Nick Abbott surpass his 100-career point milestone. This weekend, fellow senior attackman Bodhi Engum has the opportunity to surpass his 100-career point mark as he currently has 97 points (64 goals, 33 assists).
In addition to Indiana’s head coach Pete Nelson, a Roseville, Minn. native and graduate of the University of Minnesota–Duluth, the Hoosiers have two Minnesotans on their roster. Peter Hildreth, a senior long-stick-midfielder who attended The Blake School, will be playing against his former high school teammate, Gopher attackman Grant Oie. Adam Grooms, a sophomore midfielder from Wayzata, was a high school teammate of Gopher defenseman Sam Hnastchenko and attackman Amar Batra.
Batra Leading the Way
Not only is Amar Batra leading the Gophers in goals (16) and points (23), he leads all freshman in MCLA Division I in scoring and points. He currently sits at 3rd in the nation in goals and points-per-game, with an average of 5.75 through four games. In addition, Nick Abbott ranks 12th in MCLA Division I averaging 5 points per game, and Bodhi Engum ranks 18th with 4.33 points per game.
Follow us on Twitter (@umnlacrosse) for game updates and scores.