Marquette needs to shake themselves out of a funk in the worst way.
The Golden Eagles are on a three game slide dating back to their second game of the Midwest Lacrosse Classic. Yes, the last two came against quality opponents, as Robert Morris now finds themselves ranked in the Maverik media top 20, and Michigan just hung a 13-12 road victory on #4 Notre Dame on Wednesday. Still, Marquette was essentially non-competitive in both games, as the Colonials jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, and Michigan led 7-1 after 16 minutes.
Yeah, that’s not good.
There are a certain amount of notable issues that were working against Marquette here. For starters, Zachary Melillo hasn’t played in the last two games. The faceoff specialist had won 59% of his draws in MU’s first four games, and that kind of immediate possession level can be a massive boon to a wildly inexperienced offense like Marquette’s. If there’s a three-in-five chance that you’re going to get the ball back after you score, or hell, after the other team scores, that takes a lot of pressure off of an offense that’s trying to turn into a coherent unit on the fly. It’s not exactly bad for the defense, either. Without Melillo, MU has won just 19 of 40 face-offs, which, if you haven’t noticed, is under 50%.
Things got ever so slightly worse in the Michigan game, as MU was without the services of leading scorer Anthony Orsini. Head coach Joe Amplo said before the game that the freshman was “banged up,” and that ended up being bad enough to keep him from playing against the Wolverines. Even after missing the game, Orsini is still leading MU in goals this season with 10 and tied for second in assists with three. He’s made a major impact on the offense in such a short time, and Marquette would be better off with him swinging away on the attack. We’ll see if he’s back in the lineup on Saturday, as Marquette kicks off Big East action with a pretty stern test.
While these are significant issues for the Golden Eagles, it shouldn’t be affecting them in as serious a manner as it has been in the first quarters of the last two games. After all, in the other six quarters, Marquette has only been outscored 11-8, and they matched Michigan evenly at six goals a piece. Under Joe Amplo, Marquette has earned a reputation as a tough, scrappy team. They have an absurdly fantastic record in games decided by one goal for a program in its sixth season. It’s shocking to see Marquette completely out of kilter straight out of the gate. Have they had big losses over the years? Of course. But it took a majority of 60 minutes for the Denvers and Dukes of the world to pull away from the Golden Eagles in those games. I wouldn’t expect to see a third straight bad first quarter from MU this week. We’ll see what happens.
Big East Game #1: vs #18 Georgetown Hoyas (6-1)
Date: Saturday, March 24, 2018
Time: Noon Central
Location: Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble, Valley Fields, Milwaukee, WI
Live Stats: GameTracker
Special Promotions: Faculty & staff get up to four free tickets with their university ID, and Boy and Girl Scouts in uniform get free admission, but it’s in the Bubble, so space is limited. ALSO: The first 100 fans in attendance get a FREE Marquette roll-a-banner
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax
Marquette is 3-3 all time against Georgetown. The Golden Eagles have won in the regular season in each of the past two seasons, while the Hoyas won in the Big East tournament in 2015 in the only previous meeting where the Hoyas were ranked.
Georgetown was riding high a week ago, sitting at 6-0 with quality wins against Robert Morris and Towson, both on the road. Their great start to the season had them sitting at #11 in the country in the Maverik media top 20 poll..... and then they got clapped on the road against Drexel. The Dragons scored seven straight, all in the second quarter, to turn a 4-2 Georgetown lead into a 9-4 Drexel advantage. The Hoyas pulled it within three, 10-7, late in the third, but Drexel scored twice in the final 64 seconds of the frame and then popped in the first two strikes of the fourth to take a seven goal lead and roll to victory.
The Hoyas have a pair of 20 goal scorers through seven games: Jake Carraway and Daniel Bucaro. Oddly, they’re both tied for the team lead in points at 32 as Carraway has 23 goals and 12 assists, while Bucaro has one fewer goal but one more helper. Those are the two guys that Marquette’s defense is going to have to worry about... and that’s kind of about it. They’ve got three guys averaging a goal per game, but that’s not exactly a list of major threats to hit the net. MU will have to watch out for Craig Berge, though, as he’s right in line behind Bucaro and Carraway with 11 assists so far this season.
Head coach Kevin Warne has used four goalies this season, but three of them have combined for 27 total minutes. Nick Marrocco is your primary netminder for Georgetown, and he’s wheeling and dealing. A goals-against average of just 8.55 is a very good number, and he’s swatting down 53% of shots on goal.