Any discussion of the Marquette men’s lacrosse offense has to begin with Ryan McNamara. The senior from Minnesota begins his final collegiate campaign as Marquette’s all time leader in goals and shots, as well as the record holder for the most points, goals, and shots in a season. He needs just 24 points to tie Conor Gately for the career record in points, and after last year’s 57 points, McNamara might have the record by the time the calendar turns to April.
Three of Marquette’s seven best scorers in program history - Conor Gately, Kyle Whitlow, and Blaine Fleming - ended their collegiate careers with the 2016 NCAA tournament game against North Carolina. Understandably, this is probably not the best news you’d like to hear. I can give you something to make you feel better, though. Ready?
Four of Marquette’s 10 best scorers in program history return for the 2017 season.
See? You’re doing much better now, aren’t you? Obviously, McNamara’s on the squad. Kyran Clarke has compiled 51 points (30G, 21A) in three seasons, and Andy DeMichiei (17G, 20A) showed that he can single-handedly take over a game with his seven goal performance last year against St. John’s. The most impressive and most unexpected entry to the top 10 is Tanner Thomson. The now-junior midfielder entered the starting lineup last year after Whitlow went down with a season ending injury, and after getting very little playing time up to that point, Thomson exploded for 19 goals and two assists. That was good enough for the second most goals on the team last year behind McNamara, and thanks to Marquette still being a very young program, his 21 points were enough to push him into the #10 spot on the all time points list.
That four pack of dudes will be the ones expected to carry the load for the Golden Eagles this season, and with six guys cracking the double digit mark in points last year, they’ll go a long ways towards the majority of the scoring this year. There’s going to have to be guys stepping into the voids left behind by Gately and Fleming, though. Joe Dunn (7G, 1A in 2016) looks to play a role, as well as John Wagner (4G, 2A) and Grant Preisler (3G, 1A). Wagner is the most likely to take a step forward this season, as head coach Joe Amplo already trusted him to play in all 16 games last season, including two starting nods. Wagner scored his four goals in just two games, spread at either end of the season: two in Game #2 against Richmond and two in MU’s third to last game of the year. That happened to be the Big East semifinals, and you can’t really ask more from a freshman than to show up with two early goals in the program’s first ever postseason game.
As you might expect, all of Marquette’s offensive starters for their first exhibition game were all discussed above. The Golden Eagles got some firepower from some unexpected spots in their 15-14 win over Michigan, though. Redshirt freshman Josh Williamson opened the Golden Eagles’ scoring in the game and tacked on an assist in the fourth quarter. Noah Richard, the younger brother of assistant coach and former Golden Eagle Jacob Richard, also had a goal and an assist while seeing lots of time on the faceoff unit. Griffin Connor has taken over the elder Richard’s spot on the field at short stick defensive midfield, but still managed to get a goal in the second quarter. Redshirt sophomore midfielder Jack Zerillo had one of the biggest goals of the scrimmage, putting Marquette up 14-12 with 5:40 left to play.
There are, of course, newcomers to the team that could factor into the Marquette offense. Amongst Marquette’s 22 freshmen this season are two guys who racked up over 200 points in their high school careers. Ryan Fazio set a Cathedral Catholic (Solana Beach, CA) school record for assists with 110 to go along with 97 career goals, while Colin O’Donnell, who had an assist in the exhibition against Michigan, posted 209 career points for Xavier (CT) High School. Peter Henkhaus earned U.S. Lacrosse All-American honors as a senior after finishing his prep career with 101 points after being forced to miss his junior season at Palos Verdes High. Dylan Dobrosky had a 100 point prep career for Hunterdon Central in New Jersey as well.