On Sunday evening, the NCAA announced the 18 team field for the men's lacrosse national championship. As could be expected, Marquette did not earn one of the eight at-large bids.
Once Marquette lost on the road to Bellarmine earlier this season, it was mostly a foregone conclusion that the Golden Eagles would need to secure the Big East's automatic bid to get into the NCAA tournament. I say "mostly," because there were chances for MU to balance out what amounted to a bad loss to the Knights. Unfortunately for Joe Amplo and his team, those chances came against three top 6 teams: Notre Dame, Duke, and Big East foe Denver. Marquette was outscored 47-26 in those games, so yeah, it's hard to say that there was a real shot of getting a high profile victory on the ledger.
On top of that, Marquette's bid at the automatic bid failed in the Big East semifinals when they lost to Georgetown, 12-8. A win over the Hoyas would have meant a second shot at Denver, and it's hard to truly believe that Marquette could have solved the puzzle of the Pioneers with another week to think about it.
With MU's own struggles to claim enough victories to earn an at-large spot, things were made difficult elsewhere in the country. The ACC is a ridiculous hotbed of lacrosse, as the four teams that didn't earn the automatic bid all qualified for the tournament. In fact, all five ACC teams earned seeded spots in the field. That left just four at-large bids for everyone else, and when Johns Hopkins won the inaugural Big Ten tournament after finishing the regular season 7-6, that swiped one more bid.
Still, it's exciting that we can even call missing the NCAA tournament news. The past two seasons, Marquette had absolutely no chance at a spot in the field. Moving to the point where MU finished over .500 for the first time in program history and was able to at least entertain long odds at making the NCAA tournament is quite the accomplishment for head coach Joe Amplo, the men who coach along side him and the ones that play for him, and the athletic department in general.
With the season officially over, we have to honor tradition here at AE, and say THANK YOU to Marquette's seniors: Jordan Greenfield, K.C. Kennedy, Travis Schelhorn, Pat Townsend, and Logan Tousaw. Each man has served the Golden Eagles differently. Kennedy and Schelhorn were team captains this season and have been with men's lacrosse since the first school year when players were on campus but not actually playing any live games. Townsend, Tousaw, and Greenfield all transferred to Marquette after the program's beginning, with Tousaw and Greenfield having the biggest impact. Tousaw has started on defense in every game that he's played in since transferring from Onondaga Community College, while Greenfield only played his final season of eligibility with Marquette but had one of the best offensive seasons in program history. Greenfield broke MU's single season points record with 52 this season, recording the second most goals in a season with 34 and the second most assists in a season with 18.
All five men have had a major impact on the explosive debut of Marquette lacrosse, going from not having a program to spending most of the third season ranked in the top 20 nationally. It's safe to say that MU lacrosse would not be where it is today without the daily hard work from each of those guys in their time in Milwaukee, and for that, we thank them and wish them the best as they leave Marquette.