Michigan State looks to rebound vs Pitt Sunday night
The Spartan's Men's Lacrosse (1-4) team hits the road Sunday for a 5:00 pm EDT CCLA conference game with the University of Pittsburgh Panthers (2-2). The game will be broadcast live on Periscope & Twitter via "@Msu_Lacrosse"
#19 Michigan State hopes to rebound from Thursday's home opener loss to conference rival #26 Davenport 12-11 and even up their conference record at 1-1.
First year head coach of the Spartans, Cam Holding, feels Michigan State is "close" to putting it all together. "Overall, our effort and team attitude have been positive, but we've been having short stretches where we'll commit unforced turnovers, miss a defensive assignment or we'll not be patient enough during a flag-down situation to get the type of premium shot that we want; those type of errors add up and can affect the outcome of a game". The Spartans have lost their last two games by one goal: the Davenport game Thursday and the final game of their four-game road trip over spring break to #11 Virginia Tech 8-7 in overtime on March 13.
The Spartan's game Thursday was the debut for sophomore goalie Kevin Boland (Notre Dame HS, Millstone Township, NJ) after freshman goalie Joe Catanese (Wheaton, IL) started the previous three games. "Joe was not feeling well health-wise during the week leading up to the Davenport game, and we felt Kevin had earned the opportunity to play". Assistant Coach & Defensive Coordinator, Dan Catzere, added "We're fortunate to have four goalies who are all talented and want playing time and we're looking for the strongest leader to emerge who not only plays the position well but also quarterbacks the entire defense". Coach Holding explained "Although we have played five games, it's been less than two calendar weeks of the season and we're still finding what works best for us and who works best together to do the types of things we want to do. We are building our team with a season-long view to win the CCLA championship and hopefully a deep run in the MCLA national championship tournament in Los Angeles in early May."
A bright spot for the Spartans Thursday was an improved face off win percentage vs Davenport's All American candidate midfielder, Jimmie DeJaeger. Spartan senior Trevor Sabo (Detroit Catholic Central, MI) has been taking face offs exclusively the past four games and freshmen JT Hudson (Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, MI), Hunter MacDonald (Orchard Lake St Mary's, MI) and Sam Uecker (Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central, MI) have split time at the two wing positions. "The face off crew is starting to gel. They executed our game plan against Davenport very well which resulted in more possessions for our team and slowed down the Panther break" said Holding.
The Spartans will add to their already large mileage total for the month of March during the trip, passing the 3,000 mile mark and having spent more than 50 hours together on their motor coach.