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Marquette Men’s Lacrosse Preview: The Midwest Lacrosse Classic

The Golden Eagles host their first two ever games in the Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble at Valley Fields.

NCAA Football: Tulsa at Ohio State Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

If nothing else, we can probably presume that head coach Joe Amplo has his team’s full and rapt attention at this point.

After running through Jacksonville like a scythe, Marquette got worked by Richmond last Saturday. The Golden Eagles scored with less than 30 seconds left in the first half, and then did not score again in their 9-2 loss to the Spiders. That’s a bad look for Marquette, particularly since that game was between two ranked opponents.

So now they have to regroup and figure a few things out. Neither performance this season is likely truly indicative of what Marquette is this season. They’re not a team that’s going to get a six goal quarter from a lineup of essentially freshmen, and they’re not a team that’s going to get just two goals in a game and only one from Tewaaraton Award nominee Ryan McNamara. They’re not a team that’s going to hold lots of teams to just one goal in 60 minutes and they’re not a team that’s going to give up four straight goals on the regular like they did in the second half against Richmond.

They have to find a middle ground on all of that. Marquette gets a very good opportunity to do that this weekend. After this weekend, they have just one more game - a road trip against Robert Morris - before Big East play starts. This weekend, Marquette gets to play two games as they host the Midwest Lacrosse Classic in Milwaukee. They’ll play one ranked team to recalibrate their systems against what should be one of the best teams in the country, and then on Sunday, Marquette tangles with an opponent that they should be able to beat. It should be a quality opportunity to hammer any kinks and irregularities out of the system and, because of the sheer amount of live game action, merely get the reps that the team needs to play as a more consistent group.

Game #3: vs #17 Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0)

When: Friday, March 3, 2017, at 7pm Central
Where: Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble at Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: GoMarquette.com has the free video stream and there’s live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

Marquette is 1-3 all time against Ohio State. The three losses came when the game was played in Columbus, but in 2015, when Bellarmine hosted the Midwest Lacrosse Classic in Louisville, the Golden Eagles swiped a 10-9 win over the Buckeyes. Go back and watch the video of Jimmy Danaher’s last second save to preserve the win and watch Ohio State go from “TIE GAME!” to “CRAP WE LOST” in a split second.

The Buckeyes are off to a rollicking start to the season at 4-0, but there’s a legitimate question to ask whether they’ve been particularly tested yet this season. With games against Furman, Detroit, Massachusetts, and Jacksonville, there’s not any particularly exciting names amongst their foes. Perhaps most telling, OSU needed to rally in the fourth quarter against UMass, scoring twice after the Minutemen had gone up 7-6 in order to escape with a one goal victory.

Ohio State was picked to finish fourth in the Big Ten this season, specifically, they were picked to tie with Rutgers for fourth. This isn’t that big of a snub, as Maryland and Johns Hopkins are almost always going to be 1-2 in the league. In a way, it merely means they finished second to Penn State.

Through four games, Ohio State has done a good job spreading their goals around. Five guys are averaging a goal per game, and eight guys are averaging a point per game. B1G preseason honoree Johnny Pearson leads the team in goals with nine and in points with 11. Eric Fannell, also a preseason honoree for the Bucks, has five assists on the year to lead the team in that column. Tom Carey has played a majority of the minutes in net for Ohio State, posting a goals-against average of 6.68.

One thing to watch out for is faceoffs. Marquette’s Zachary Melillo was injured late in the first half against Richmond and did not return. Ohio State’s Jake Withers was the Big Ten’s Specialist of the Year last season and he’s already winning 59% of faceoffs this season. If Melillo can’t go this weekend, the Golden Eagles are going to need someone to step up in a big way.

Game #4: vs Detroit Titans (1-4)

When: Sunday, March 5, 2017, at 3pm Central
Where: Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble at Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: GoMarquette.com has the free video stream and there’s live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

Marquette is 4-0 against Detroit. The Titans were the victim in the very first home game in MU lacrosse history, and last year’s 10-8 win was the closest contest between the two teams.

At 1-4 on the year already, Detroit is all too familiar with the struggle of a long season. They started things off with a 14-8 loss at Ohio State after trailing 6-4 after the first 15 minutes, lost in a fireball of a game to Michigan, dropped a 10-8 decision to Mercer with the Bears scoring four of the final five goals of the game, and got shutout for over 30 minutes against Robert Morris in a 15-6 loss.

In the middle of all of that, they did eke out a 12-11 over Jacksonville by scoring twice in the final six minutes to swing the victory. So they’ve got that going for them, which is nice.

Matthew Vangalen and Kyle Beauregard are tied for the team lead with eight goals so far this season, and Alec Gilhooly and Sean Birney aren’t that far behind them with seven. That’s a nice little four-pack of shooters that can cause havoc on defenses. Vangalen also has 11 assists on the season, accounting for nearly half of their 25 helpers, so he’s quite the lethal threat on offense. Goalie Jason Weber is back in net for the Titans, and while he’s allowing 13 goals per 60 minutes this season, he is stopping 47% of shots on goal this season.

Detroit was picked to finish sixth out of seven teams in the MAAC in 2017. None of their players qualified for the preseason all-conference team.