MSU California Bound after Fifth Straight CCLA D1 Title!
#13 Michigan State (9-4) Men's Lacrosse team defeated #11 Davenport (17-2) 11-6 Saturday to claim their fifth consecutive Central Collegiate Lacrosse Association (CCLA) Division 1 title.
The Spartans received an automatic bid to the 20th Men's Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) National Championship in Orange County California May 9-14. MSU received the #14 seed from the MCLA tournament selection committee and will play #3 seeded Grand Canyon University, the defending MCLA D1 National Champions, at 4:15 PDT (7:15 pm EDT) on Monday, May 9. Michigan State will be making their seventh consecutive trip to the MCLA national tournament.
Michigan State played well in all phases of the game and neutralized Davenport's face off prowess and their high powered offense that had averaged an eye-popping 19 goals per game during the season. The Spartans controlled time of possession from the middle of the second quarter through the end of the game; effectively neutralizing the Panther face off fast break and explosive offense. Freshman long stick midfielder Conor Lynch took face offs for the Spartans all night and he and the face off unit were instrumental in the Spartan victory.
Davenport jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first quarter and would lead 3-1 before Kevin Horton scored the first goal for the Spartans with a 10 yard shot from out front to pull the Spartans to within one, 2-1. Steve McKee scored with 40 seconds remaining in the quarter by rolling the crease from X to bring the Spartans to within one goal, 3-2 at the end of the first quarter.
MSU gained momentum in the second quarter as they tied the score 3-3 with an off-hand goal by Kevin Horton at 12:45 as he substituted all alone from the mid-line. Mark Tratt put the Spartans up for good, 4-3, with a dodge to the goal and a five yard shot at 8:59 in the quarter. Steve McKee picked up a ground ball in front of the goal caused by a deflected shot off a Davenport defender by Mitch Newton to put MSU up 5-3 with a 12 yard shot with 5:35 in the quarter. Kevin Horton scored his third goal of the game with 3:00 remaining bouncing a 12 yard shot past the Davenport goalie.
After half time intermission, the Spartans were unable to convert on a 30 second man-up to start the quarter but shortly thereafter Mitch Newton threaded a pass to Brett Braun on the high crease and he buried a five yard shot at 13:25 to put Michigan State in control 7-3. Charlie Pistner rifled a 10 yard shot off a nice pass from Tyler Vanschoick from below goal line extended to provide the Spartans with a 8-4 lead. Steve McKee drifted across the high crease and got his hands free from 10 yards for his third goal of the game to lead 9-4 with 8:00 left in the quarter. McKee scored again from the on the crease to extend the lead to 10-4 as the Spartans were two men up due to four penalties on two Davenport players with 3:00 in the third quarter. Brett Braun completed the scoring on the day for the Spartans on a 10 yard bounce shot that the Davenport goalie originally stopped but could not control. Braun caught the loose ball in the air in front of the crease and he converted the goal that proved to be the dagger that sealed the Panther's fate.
Freshman Joseph Catanese (Wheaton IL) starred in goal for the Spartans in the championship game as he helped secure the victory with numerous outstanding saves that frustrated the Panther offense.