MINNEAPOLIS, Minn–This weekend the Minnesota Men’s Lacrosse team will be traveling to Michigan for a pair of games versus their former CCLA opponents Michigan State and Pittsburgh. Minnesota and Michigan State are set to clash at 2:00 PM (ET) on Friday at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, Mich. Minnesota will then take on Pittsburgh the following day at Detroit Country Day Stadium in Beverly Hills, Mich at 2:00 PM (ET).
This past weekend, the Minnesota men’s lacrosse team got off to a strong start to their 2019 campaign by defeated the defending MCLA Division II National Champion, North Dakota State, in their season opener Friday evening 8-4. Highlighting the win was the strong effort by Minnesota’s defense, holding the Bison to only 4 goals, the lowest goals scored in a game for NDSU since 2013. Senior goaltender Aaron Peterson’s 5 saves in the first half were pivotal as he and the Minnesota defense were able to shut out the Bison offense through the first half and much of the third.
Following NDSU, Minnesota played their UMLC foe Iowa State in an early Sunday morning game. A slow start for both teams as a pair of goals were traded halfway through the first quarter before the Maroon and Gold began to pull away with a 6 goal run during the last 6 minutes of the first quarter. The Cyclones were able to tuck in a goal shorthanded at the end of the first and score on an extra-man opportunity early in the second. However, Minnesota was able to maintain control for the remainder of the game and finishing with a final score 18-4.
Michigan State Preview
This Friday will be the opening to Michigan State’s 2019 campaign. The Spartans are currently ranked No. 1 in preseason rankings. They made waves last season rising to the top of the polls and winning the MCLA Division 1 national championship in Salt Lake City, Utah. Defensive coordinator DJ Lubs was named the head coach this past summer following the departure of Cam Holding who stepped down due to his professional commitments with the NLL.
The Spartans have graduated goaltender Kevin Boland, face off specialist Hunter Stephans, defenseman Patrick Donovan, and their leading offensive scorer Brett Braun. However they still return 6 of their 11 All-Americans from last season. Four of their top 5 scorers return, and their defense is expected to still be one of the top in the MCLA.
Pittsburgh will also be opening their season up against Minnesota. Last season, they finished 5-10 after going 12-5 in 2017. This year, they will be looking to rebound as Zach Wilfong was named head coach this past summer. Wilfong has spent the previous 2 seasons as the offensive coordinator at Seton Hill University, one of the top ranked teams in NCAA Division II.
Pittsburgh’s top midfield and attack units from last season all return. Their only major loss was goaltender Kevin Hudson to graduation. However Sean Tiereny returns as the most experienced goaltender this year after recording 89 saves (.549 save percentage) in 8 appearances last season as a freshman.
MCLA Weekly Award Honor Roll
Minnesota’s Amar Batra and Aaron Peterson each were named to the weekly Under Armour Commanding Performance Honor Roll for the past week. Batra recorded 1 goal and 1 assist in Minnesota’s win over NDSU before exploding for a 9-point (7 goals, 2 assists) effort against Iowa State. Peterson meanwhile made a combined 16 saves on 24 shots (.667) and recorded an assist through Minnesota’s 2-games last weekend to help the Maroon and Gold get off to a 2-0 start.