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Weekend Preview: Rivalry Week

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.–This weekend one of the top lacrosse rivalries in Minnesota will play out as the men’s teams from the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities (UMTC) and University of Minnesota–Duluth (UMD) are set to play in the new dome at St. Michael–Albertville High School. Both teams have played each other each year since the formation of the former Upper Midwest Lacrosse League (UMLL) in 1991. UMTC has become a steady top-25 team in the MCLA DI rankings over the past several years–sitting at No. 22 heading into the weekend. Meanwhile, UMD has established itself as one of the top MCLA DII teams since their move from DI to DII in 2016.

Top Dogs

UMD (1-0) opened their 2019 season last weekend with a 13-11 win over the then No. 1 ranked NDSU in Fargo. That win moved them into the No. 1 ranked team in Division II. This year, they bring back an older, and much more experienced team including 7 of their 8 All–Americans from last season. Duluth has only lost 6 players to graduation while returning the majority of their offensive and defensive core. Their top offensive player, Scott McNamara, returns for his senior season after finishing last year as one of only 3 players in the entire MCLA to score more than 100 points. After being eliminated in the semifinals of the national championship tournament last year to NDSU, Duluth is now one of the favorites to win it all this season.

Maroon and Gold

UMTC (3-1) split last weekend with a 15-5 loss to No. 1 Michigan State and a 12-4 win against Pittsburgh. This week they have risen to No. 22 in the division I rankings. Amar Batra currently leads the team offensively with 17 points (11 goals, 6 assists). On the defensive end, Mitch Grengs and Aaron Peterson have been leading the defense. Through 4 games, Grengs has recorded 11 caused turnovers and leads the team with 23 groundballs. Peterson has made 37 saves while allowing 27 goals for a 6.81 goals against average. He also has 2 assists through 4 games this year.

Freshmen Impact

After a strong showing in the fall, two Gopher freshman, attackman Ian Obert and defenseman Alex Napgezek, find themselves in the starting line up for the Maroon and Gold. Obert, a graduate of Cretin–Derham Hall, has 6 points (1 goal, 5 assists) through 4 games. Napgezek, who hails from White Bear Lake, has scooped up 7 groundballs and recorded 3 caused turnovers through 3 games.

A couple freshmen goaltenders, Micah Schultz and Jake Rosenow, will have to step up moving forward, as a significant lower body injury forced Senior goaltender Aaron Peterson to exit late in the game against Pittsburgh last weekend. It was Schultz who answered the call against Pitt. However, as Peterson is likely unable to play against his former team, heading into this weekend a starting goaltender has yet to be named.

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