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Marquette Men's Lacrosse Preview: vs Robert Morris

Hey, we've never played these guys before!

It kind of looks like the RMU mascot is a hypnotist.
It kind of looks like the RMU mascot is a hypnotist.
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Marquette comes into Saturday's game with a 3-1 record on the season.  They picked up the lone loss last Friday night, when Ohio State downed them, 12-8.  In the big picture, the loss is mostly okay.  With two games against Duke and Notre Dame looming on the non-conference slate, you really don't want to be taking losses to unranked teams.  With that said, the Buckeyes started the season ranked in the top 20, so it's not the worst thing in the world to lose to them from the perspective of trying to assemble a NCAA tournament caliber resume.  This is even more so the case in a season where things like "lost to Marquette 7-2" Richmond figures out a way to beat Duke, 12-10 in Durham.

While Marquette might be able to absorb a loss to a quality Buckeyes squad, they won't be able to take on a loss to a sub-.500 team like Robert Morris.  Marquette is only averaging 8.5 goals per game this season, and have largely been getting by on their defense, which is allowing 7.25 goals per game.  That doesn't make for a spectacular goal differential, as you can obviously tell.  Depending on Liam Byrnes & B.J. Grill to combine to force nearly four turnovers a game in order to keep the opponent in check far enough to win is kind of working for Marquette, but it's not the best game plan in the known universe, either.

Ryan McNamara is averaging three points a game for Marquette, and doing it nearly entirely through goals, since he has just one assist on the season.  Conor Gately is right behind him with 11 points on the year.  I don't know what the fix is for Marquette's offense, because those two guys are doing a pretty good job on their own.  Either the secondary scoring needs to step up (guys like Kyran Clarke & Blaine Fleming) or the surrounding pieces on attack need to start clearing out more space for McNamara and Gately to just go bananas.

Game #5: vs Robert Morris (2-4)

When: Saturday, March 12, 2016, at 1pm Central
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: Only live stats.
Special Promotions: 1st 200 students in attendance get a pair of MU lacrosse tech gloves, which appear to be gloves with the thumb/index/middle finger tips missing.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

For the first time this season, Marquette is playing a team that they've never played before.

With only 70 teams in Division 1 lacrosse and five games set in stone by the Big East schedule, Marquette has fallen into a pattern of playing the same handful of non-conference games every year.  Bellarmine, Ohio State, Detroit, Duke, Notre Dame.  The Colonials are new, though, as Marquette hasn't had them on the schedule through the first three years of the program's existence.

RMU might be new to MU's schedule, but they're not new to Division 1.  They've been at it since 2005, but it's been an uphill battle for them.  They have an all time record of 62-88 including their start to the 2016 season.  The record hasn't been great to this point, but the record doesn't show everything.  After a 20-7 loss to Penn State to open the season, two of Robert Morris' losses this season have been by just one goal: 11-10 on the road against Bellarmine and 11-10 at home against Air Force.  They got their second win of the season back on Tuesday night on a trip down to Georgia to face Mercer.  They got the OT winner with 1:47 remaining to win by a score of.... wait for it..... 11-10.  Bet you saw that coming.

Luke Laskiewicz leads the Colonial attack, and he's a hurricane of goals.  He's scored 20 times already this season, meaning he's averaging more than a hat trick every time out and that's after being held to only one goal against Mercer.  Laskiewicz also has six assists on the season, which is second best on the team to the eight from James Rahe.  RMU's goalie situation has been all over the place this season with two guys already playing more than 160 minutes each.  Matt Bukovac has played more with 185+ minutes of action, but he's been the worse goalie.  His goals-against average is 17.14 with a save percentage of .442, while Alex Heger is allowing just over seven goals per 60 minutes in 165 minutes of action.  Heger is also stopping over 60% of the shots on frame, and for what it's worth, he did play every minute of the win over Mercer.