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Fall Ball Notebook: Clash With the Bison

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.– This weekend, the men’s lacrosse team at the University of Minnesota will be scrimmaging North Dakota State University. The scrimmage is being hosted by the Simley Lacrosse Booster Club, and will be played at Simley High School. The event is free to attend and the concession stand will be open. Stadium gates will open at 11:00AM, with the scrimmage set to start at 11:45AM.

Minnesota’s Depth

One of the trends that continues to improve from year-to-year is the depth of the roster, and this fall it has shown. Minnesota had 11 different goal scorers in their last scrimmage against St. John’s. Leading all scorers was freshman attackman Sean Mark with 5 goals, 4 of them were scored in the first half. Another rising player for Minnesota is Ely Harel. The senior midfielder out of Hopkins, Minn. has developed into one of Minnesota’s top defensive midfielders over the past couple seasons. However, this fall, he has been showcasing his ability to play as a two-way midfielder as he scored 2 goals in their scrimmage vs St. John’s.

What to look for this weekend:

Freshman goaltender Micah Schultz will be getting the start in goal this weekend.

During this week’s practices, the team has been spending a lot of time on special teams. On the extra-man opportunities, the “power play” unit converted on 23.7% (15/55) of their chances in 2018. This was a drop from a season best 43.5% (30/69) in 2017. Meanwhile, the “penalty kill” unit on man-down situations held opposing teams to a 16.4% (10/61) conversion rate in 2018, which was an improvement from the 25.7% (19/74) allowed in 2017. Minnesota’s best penalty kill was during the 2016 season when they held opponents to a 7.7% (4/52) conversion rate on the EMO.

The Maroon and Gold so far hasn’t had any struggles with the new rules that were approved and adopted this fall. Teams now have a 80 second shot clock at the start of possession, with the first 20 seconds to clear the ball into the offensive half of the field (compared to 30 seconds to touch the ‘attack’ area marked by the offensive restraining line). The Bison are notorious for their 10-man ride which will challenge Minnesota’s clearing attempts. However, Minnesota has also been implementing a 10-man ride the past several seasons, which appears to have benefited from the new rules this fall already.

Alumni Game Rescheduled

Due to a schedule conflict, the Alumni Game this fall has been rescheduled to Saturday, November 3, 4:00PM. All alumni who are interested in playing should RSVP through the following link.

>> RSVP Link <<

Growth of Box Lacrosse

This past weekend, the Interstate Box Lacrosse Association had its Senior A national tournament in Lakeville, Minn. Five teams who have won their regional championships competed for the 2018 IBLA National Championship. Representing Minnesota was the Hastings Walleye who had several Gopher connections this season. Current players include senior Clay Diedrich and junior Thomas Swartout. Minnesota alumni include Matt Fox, Ryan Gillard, Steve Van Sloun, Luke Johnson, and Charlie Gee. In addition, former assistant coaches Aime Caines (2009-2016) and RJ Ancona (2011) are both forwards on the team.

The Walleye went 1-2 overall on the weekend. With a 10-8 loss to the Columbus Crows and a 14-7 win over the St. Louis Centurions in pool play, the Walleye secured the #2 seed in the tournament. They were eliminated in the semifinals by the Cambridge Nor’Easters with a 12-9 loss. The Nor’Easters then went on to win the national championship.

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