We already talked about the guys that Marquette men’s lacrosse has returning from the 2017 season, so that means that it’s time to talk about the new guys on the roster. We’ve got one transfer addition, three redshirt freshmen that we’ll talk about here instead of in the returning guys article (mostly just for space reasons), and a 15 man freshman recruiting class.
At the time that the transfer news came across the wires, I was pretty enthused about Kai Storrs joining Marquette. He was with Maryland for the past two school years, which means that he was a part of two Terrapin teams that reached the NCAA championship game, including winning the whole shebang in 2017. However, Storrs, the #36 defenseman in his recruiting class, missed his freshman season with an injury and played in just three games for the Terps last season. That can be attributed to depth issues, though, and also explains why Storrs was looking to transfer, especially since he hails from Plymouth, Minnesota. If he was good enough to get recruited to Maryland, then you’d think that he’d be a notable addition to the Marquette roster......
..... except he’s not even mentioned in the official Marquette preview. Part of this is that Nick Grill and Jackson Ehlert are returning starters from last season, and another part is that head coach Joe Amplo and defensive coordinator Jacob Richard are comfortable shifting Brendan Connolly from long stick midfield to close defense. Perhaps Storrs will be providing depth to the experienced Marquette defensive corps and will still play an important role.
THE REDSHIRT FRESHMEN
Two of MU’s three redshirt freshmen sat out last season as a mere victim of circumstance. Griffin Fleming and Colin O’Donnell, both attackmen, suffered knee injuries before the season started and thus ended up not playing in 2017. Nothing wrong with that, of course. Both guys could end up being in the mix for Marquette on the offensive end, partly because of their skills and talent, but also because Marquette desperately needs anyone to play minutes on attack. O’Donnell may be the more likely of the pair to end up contributing after assembling 209 points (145G, 64A) in his prep career.
Anthony Courcelle may also make a big contribution to Marquette’s season in 2018. Remember when I mentioned that Amplo and Richard are comfortable moving Connolly from LSM to defense? Well, Courcelle is part of the reason why they feel that way. Straight from the official preview:
Other expected contributors at LSM along with Richard are Jordan McKenzie and redshirt freshman Anthony Courcelle, whose emergence during his redshirt year allowed for the switch of the experienced Connolly back to close defense.
If you’re good enough to make the coaches say, “y’know, we’re going to move this guy here to fill this hole, which will allow us to give you a chance to play,” then you have to really have something figured out. This goes double for a team that is going to have to rely on the defense making great play after great play to keep Marquette in games until the offense figures six or seven things out.
THE BRAND NEW GUYS
Marquette has added five freshmen to their attack group this season. As we discussed in the look at the returning guys, the Golden Eagles have no listed players in the junior or senior class at attack. That could end up leading to opportunities for this group of players. Maybe it won’t be this year for some of them, but the chances are coming for them.
Two of them are mentioned in the official season preview from GoMarquette.com, which would seem to imply that they have the inside track on contributing this season. The first is Anthony Orsini, who hails from Maryland. Orsini was captain of his high school team for three straight seasons, a first team all-conference AND all-area honoree in every year of his prep career, and a two-time US Lacrosse All-American. That’s a pretty solid list of accomplishments. The other guy with a mention is Keaton Thomson, who does not have anything resembling those kinds of honors in his official Marquette bio. However, the aforementioned official preview labels him as “a talented freshman,” so you’d have to figure he’ll be getting his number called.
Garrett Moya is the only one of the five-pack that has high school career stats in his bio, and they’re pretty impressive: 244 points on 155 goals and 89 assists. A heavy majority of that came in his junior and senior campaigns, where he posted 89 points (60G, 29A) and 76 points (44G, 32A). You don’t get to those kinds of numbers without developing an innate sense of finding angles, both shooting and passing, so hopefully that can translate to playing time.
I don’t have much in the way of details on Brendan Alt and Cade Stratton, but I can tell you this: 1) Alt scored 23 goals his senior year, which is pretty solid, 2) Stratton was a 4 year starter in Morton, Pennsylvania, which is more than solid, and 3) Alt and Stratton were both part of the championship winning Big East team at the Inside Lacrosse Committed Academy. Moya was also on that squad, as were two more of MU’s freshmen class.
Marquette’s new crop of midfielders are a slightly confusing bunch, at least in terms of trying to assess what they can do. For example: Jacob Hallam doesn’t have all that much of note in his history file, but yet again, the official MU preview says he’s to contribute as a defensive midfielder. That’s pretty much the difficulty when it comes to evaluating what we have in freshman midfielders: If they’re defensive oriented guys, they’re not going to have a lot of stats to their name, purely by nature. Perhaps that’s also the case with Moey Lardy and Jace Whelan. Those two dudes don’t have much of note in their bios, but they’re also not mentioned in the official preview. We’ll have to wait and see if they can contribute this season.
On the flip side of that coin, Jordan Schmid and Aaron Joseph are clearly offensively minded middies, and they both present an intriguing possibility for the Golden Eagles. Joseph is the younger brother of former Marquette midfielder Noah Joseph, which continues head coach Joe Amplo’s ability to recruit siblings like nobody’s business. Joseph finished up his prep career in Pennsylvania as the 13th best scorer in team history, but probably could have climbed the ladder a little bit further if not for an injury shortened senior campaign. Schmid was a fireball for his final two years of high school lacrosse, winning two state titles and racking up 101 goals and 93 assists. Oh, and by the way: he’s from Kettle Moraine, Wisconsin, and when he makes his collegiate debut, he’ll be the first Wisconsin native player in Marquette men’s lacrosse history.
DEFENSE/LONG STICK MIDFIELDER/GOALIE
By default, it might be a little hard for these guys to get on the field this season. The Golden Eagles’ strength this year is going to be the defensive third, so they might not have to contribute all that much. Kyle Koch and Alex Malitas are the two straight up defenders in the group, and they’re also the most decorated prep players in the bunch. Koch attended Loyola Academy in the Chicago suburbs, where he was a three time all-state First Team honoree. That’s not easy to do. Loyola played in three title games during Koch’s tenure, winning a state title in 2016. He was also part of the Inside Lacrosse Committed Academy Big East team along with Alt, Stratton, and Moya. Malitas might be the best athlete out of the freshman class, as he earned five varsity letters in lacrosse at William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, as well as three letters in water polo while playing goalie. He had 28 ground balls and 15 caused turnovers as a senior and earned a call up to the Greek National Team in 2016.
I don’t really have much to tell you about long stick midfielders Zach Granger or Elliott Yacu. Granger has an older brother who is now an undergraduate student coach for Amplo after being on the roster last season, so he’s going to be very familiar with the Marquette program at this point. Yacu, who hails from Homewood, Alabama, was recognized as a Brine All-American during his prep career. Marquette is pretty loaded up at LSM, so these guys are going to get a chance to learn from the sideline for the most part.
The Golden Eagles have one freshman goalie on the roster, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him end up as a redshirt for this season. Nothing against Gabe Stein, mind you. It’s just that Cole Blazer is great and Chris Rolfing already has a season under his belt. In fact, Gabe Stein is the only freshman that has a recruiting ranking mentioned in his bio: #94 in the Inside Lacrosse Top 100 Young Gun Senior Rankings. That was at the start of his senior year, for whatever that’s worth to you. Even though Stein was a top 100-ish type recruit, he ended up as the defensive MVP of the Inside Lacrosse Committed Academy tournament event while playing for the Big East team that won it, and yes, that’s the team that also included Moya, Alt, Koch, and Stratton.