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Marquette Men’s Lacrosse Preview: at Michigan Wolverines

The Golden Eagles have some questions to answer.

BYU v Michigan Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

When Marquette lost in double overtime to Bellarmine less than 48 hours after beating then-#6 Ohio State, I thought this was bad. I had thought this before that game, pointing out in my preview that regardless of what happened in the OSU game, Marquette needed to take care of business against the Knights. After the 2OT loss, I had a few people who know and understand waaaaaaaaay more about lacrosse than me tell me that Marquette would be fine. The Midwest Lacrosse Classic leads to tired legs for the Sunday games, they did beat Ohio State, so that’s a good sign, etc., etc., and so on.

Okay, so that’s fine, then. Things happen in sudden victory rules situations, especially when you hit double overtime.

And then Marquette went out and fell behind 7-0 after 15 minutes against a very good Robert Morris team before losing 12-2.

Losing to Bobby Mo, even at home, is fine, in a vacuum. That’s a good team that was earning top 20 votes last week, and that’s ranked now following their win over Marquette. Losing in that manner, though, by 10 goals and by essentially never having a chance over the final 45 minutes? Eeeeeep.

This is, perhaps, the way this season was destined to go. After all, head coach Joe Amplo did not win back to back Big East tournament titles on accident. The guy knows what he’s doing when it comes to coaching lacrosse. However, rough patches were bound to pop up this season as Amplo and assistant coach Stephen Brundage were tasked with essentially rebuilding the MU offense from the ground up after last season. With Tanner Thomson out for the year with injury rehab, Marquette had no tried and true scorers coming into the year, and that’s going to cause problems eventually, even for very talented collections of players and even for coaches with proven track records.

Maybe the Robert Morris game ends up being a turning point for the season, even if it doesn’t end in a third straight NCAA tournament appearance. Maybe it ends up being a new launching point for the Golden Eagles going forward, as there’s a ton of young players getting a ton of experience on offense. Maybe it will all work out okay.

One final note: Something working against Marquette in a big way in the Robert Morris game was the absence of face off specialist Zachary Melillo. The preseason all-Big East honoree missed that game, and MU went 2-for-8 on draws in the first quarter before finishing 9-for-17. Melillo is capable of altering that aspect of the game all by himself, so hopefully he’ll be back on the field on Saturday.

Game #6: at Michigan Wolverines (4-2)

Date: Saturday, March 17, 2018
Time: 2pm Central
Location: UM Lacrosse Stadium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Streaming: BTN2Go Plus, which is going to set you back $10 for a month of Michigan access
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

This is Marquette’s third trip to the state of Michigan this season, but it’s the first time that the Golden Eagles will face the Wolverines in a regular season contest. Michigan has regularly appeared on the exhibition schedule, but never in a game that counts. This will also be Marquette’s first visit to Michigan’s brand new lacrosse-only facility, which opened this season.

Michigan has been a binary team this season. If they play a team that’s ranked at the time, they lose; but if the opponent is not ranked at the time of the game, the Wolverines win. Even the losses weren’t all that bad, falling by three against #18 Penn and by four against #11 Yale, with both coming on the road. UM actually led Yale with seven minutes left in the third quarter after Kevin Mack posted them to a 10-8 lead, but the Elis tossed in the next six goals to run away with it. Even without a win over a ranked foe this season, Michigan’s performance against those two teams was good enough to get them a vote or three in the most recent Maverik top 20 poll. They’re not ranked, not quite, but they’ll be aiming to get another win to push them a little bit closer.

You can say that Michigan’s leading scorer has a real nose for goals, as Brent Noseworthy is tops on the scoring chart with 18 goals this season. He has four helpers as well to top the team in points with 22. Mack is the best Wolverine passer, tallying 12 of their 38 assists this season. Rocco Sutherland is the only other UM player with more than four assists, so the Golden Eagles are going to be best served by tightening down lanes for Mack and Sutherland to feed. Decker Curran and Alex Buckanavage are going to require attention as well, as they have 11 and 10 goals this season so far.

Matt Trowbridge is the goalie of choice for first year head coach Kevin Conry. He’s allowing just 9.39 goals per 60 minutes, and stopping just under 50% of shots on goal. Both numbers are fine, relative to the rest of the country, so if Marquette can get their offense on track, they’ll have chances to score.