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Marquette Men’s Lacrosse Preview: vs Air Force

The Golden Eagles return to the Valley to host the Falcons in a Tuesday afternoon matinee.

NCAA Basketball: San Diego State at Air Force Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Things always have to be interesting for Marquette Golden Eagles men’s lacrosse, don’t they?

The Golden Eagles jumped out to a 5-0 lead on Georgetown through the first 15 minutes, but had to fight tooth and nail for an 11-10 victory at the final horn. That’s probably not the way that head coach Joe Amplo wanted that one to shake out, but hey, a win is a win, especially in Big East play, right?

Those first 15 minutes made things look an awful lot like Marquette was a high quality lacrosse team that just happened to get sandblasted by two good teams. Check out the brand new top 20, where Ohio State is ranked #5 in the country and Richmond is #11 in the country. Did MU look kind of bad while struggling to score against the Buckeyes and Spiders? Sure. Is it that bad when they’re both that good? Not really. Even after those struggles, Marquette is still picking up a few points in the poll, which just goes to show you how smart those voters are.

There is the final 45 minutes of that game to consider, though. I mean, getting outscored 10-6 is not good. On the flip side, Georgetown never scored more than two goals in a row and it didn’t turn into a one goal game until Devon Lewis threw one in 51 seconds into the fourth quarter. MU tallied three of their six post-first quarter goals in the final frame to maintain their advantage on the Hoyas and open up league play 1-0.

If that’s the first step on the road to Marquette turning up the volume on their season and laying waste to their very difficult remaining games (would you believe they have four top 25 RPI teams left, including #1 and #2?), then so be it. Let’s see if they can work out the details needed for another win on Tuesday.

Game #7: vs Air Force Falcons (6-3)

When: Tuesday, March 28, 2017, at 12pm Central
Where: Valley Fields, and, based on the forecast for Tuesday, probably in the Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble.
Audio/Visual: GoMarquette.com will provide a free video stream, and there will be live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

Marquette is 1-0 all time against Air Force, and that one win is pretty significant. See, when these two squads hooked it up on March 2, 2013, that was the second match that Marquette ever played and, as you can guess from the result, yes, that was the first victory in program history.

Air Force comes in as winners of five of their last six games and each of the last three. Two of the last three games came against teams that Marquette is already familiar with this season. The Falcons got a 13-8 win over the Detroit team that MU beat 8-6, and then in their most recent contest, they needed an overtime session to get a 10-9 victory over the Jacksonville squad that got blasted 17-1 by the Golden Eagles. If we’re lucky, Joe Amplo will be able to snag a few tricks from Air Force head coach Eric Seremet, as the Falcons started off the year with an 11-10 win over Duke, who will be coming to Milwaukee later this season.

Austin Smith may have scored the game winner against the Dolphins in the dying seconds of the overtime session, but he’s not one of the guys that MU’s defense will need to focus on during Tuesday’s game. Chris Walsch tops the scoresheet with 32 points on 23 goals and nine assists. All three of those numbers are a team high total, although Nick Hruby isn’t exactly that far behind Walsch with 21 goals and seven points. There is a big drop off from Walsch and Hruby’s point totals down to Grant Gould’s 13 points in 3rd place, but Gould still has 11 goals on the year.

Freshman Paxton Boyer has been the primary goalie for Air Force this season, but the game against Jacksonville put a little bit of a bump in his road. Boyer allowed five goals in the first 19 minutes, and while I can’t track down a play-by-play, I can tell you that Jacksonville only had four shots in the first quarter and scored on three of them. That definitely helps explain why Seremet moved to senior Mitch Rose for the rest of the game. That was Rose’s first action of the season and he’s only played in nine games for Air Force before this season. I presume we’ll see Boyer and his 8.27 goals-against average and .432 save percentage on Tuesday, but who can really say.