The No. 8 Michigan State lacrosse team has a chance to take second place in their division with a win over Pittsburgh on Saturday.
Michigan State currently sits second in the CCLA with a 4-1 division record, 10-3 overall. Pittsburgh (6-6, 3-2) is close behind at third in the division.
The winner of the matchup will earn the number two seed in the CCLA conference tournament.
If MSU loses, they will play Pittsburgh again in the first round of the tournament.
With a MSU win, Pittsburgh will drop to fourth place in the division behind Ohio (5-4, 3-3) and will play division-leader No. 19 Davenport. MSU would then play Ohio in the first round.
Pittsburgh is led by senior captain defenseman Max Carlson and Eric Bulgarelli. Carlson and Bulgarelli were both named to a CCLA All-Conference team last season, with Carlson on the first team and Bulgarelli on the third team.
Carlson leads the CCLA with 86 groundballs, while also adding two goals and three assists. Bulgarelli checks in with a total of 51 groundballs.
The Panthers offense relies on underclassmen attackmen Matt Higgins and Chris Wetzel. Higgins, a freshman, leads the team with 45 points and 25 goals. The sophomore Wetzel averages 3.25 points a game, netting 19 goals and 20 assists on the season.
The all-time series between the two teams stands at 8-0 in MSU’s favor. The Spartans beat Pittsburgh 10-9 twice last season, with the second win coming in the CCLA conference tournament title game.
The matchup will be an away game for the Spartans, playing at Pittsburgh at 1 p.m. Saturday.
Justin Sienkowski is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.
Photos: Hannah McEnroe/Impact Sports