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#18 Marquette Men’s Lacrosse Preview: vs Robert Morris Colonials

The Golden Eagles return to action with an eye on bouncing back from their first loss of the season.

Robert Morris v Duke Photo by Bob Leverone/Getty Images

Okay.

So.

Last weekend, Marquette beat the #6 team in the country in overtime in a highly competitive game. That was pretty great.

However, it wasn’t the only game of the weekend for Marquette. The win over Ohio State was on Friday in the front end of the Midwest Lacrosse Classic. They had to come back on Sunday morning for a contest against Bellarmine.... and, uh. Well.

The Golden Eagles couldn’t make use of a massive shot advantage over the Knights in the first quarter and let Bellarmine back in after leading 4-1 before falling 7-6 in double overtime. Not great!

The good news, such as it is, comes to us from the newest Maverik media top 20 poll, where Marquette actually moved up one spot from last week, going from #19 to #18 right now. The weird part is that the Golden Eagles ended up earning one fewer point in the polling, meaning they lost votes but their total was still good enough to move up one spot. Weird! I guess it’s a good thing that the voters elected to somewhat ignore the double OT loss to Bellarmine for some combination of “second game in three days” and “weird crap happens in overtime.” Of course, they needed OT to beat Ohio State in the first place, soooo....

Through four games, Marquette’s defense has proven to be pretty adept. They’re allowing fewer than eight goals per game, which is seventh in the country. Where they get into some problems, and I suspect that Marquette’s pace may have something to do with this, is that the offense is ranked 45th in the country in goals per game at 9.5 per outing. That’s 45th out of 69, by the way. The margin between the two is good, as MU ranks #22 in the country there, but the degree of difficulty in the schedule is going to ramp up in a major way very quickly. The Golden Eagles are going to need to find away to score goals in bunches in order to not depend on the defense to continue to be so stout. Look no further than the Bellarmine game to see what happens when you give an opponent enough tries to beat you.

Game #5: vs Robert Morris Colonials (3-2)

Date: Saturday, March 10, 2018
Time: 1pm Central
Location: Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble, Valley Fields, Milwaukee, WI
Streaming: GoMarquette.com
Live Stats: GameTracker
Special Promotion: The 1st 100 fans get MU lacrosse gloves, which is presumably not the same style that the players wear. ALSO, according to the PA from the Jacksonville game, this game is SOLD OUT already, so plan accordingly.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

Marquette is 2-0 all time against Robert Morris. The Colonials have been on the schedule each of the past two seasons, with Marquette coming away with an eight goal win in Milwaukee in 2016 and a seven goal win in Moon Township last season.

I’m not telling you that anyone’s super excited in Moon Township about the Colonials 3-2 record on the season, but I can tell you that they’re not that far from being ranked ahead of Marquette. They lost 11-7 to then-#7 Rutgers and 12-11 to a Georgetown squad that was earning votes at the time. The reason why RMU is earning votes in the most recent media poll is because of their 12-9 victory over then-#16 Penn State. The Colonials won that one on the back of a 6-2 fourth quarter advantage. The Nittany Lions led 7-6 after scoring the only goal of the third quarter, but RMU laced in the first four strikes of the fourth quarter to snatch a 10-7 lead with five minutes left and hold on for the W.

The Colonials, who are picked to finish third in their league this season, return seven all-NEC players from last season and also bring back nine of their top 10 scorers. So far this season, it’s been a lesser utilized guy in that top 10 leading the way for RMU. Jimmy Perkins has cashed in 10 shots for goals, which is second on the team, but that’s not what makes him dangerous. Perkins has already eclipsed his assist total from last year (11) with 13 helpers in 2018. While MU will have to watch the pass and the shot from him, they’re also going to need to quiet down Matt Schmidt, who leads the team in goals with 11.

Junior netminder Alex Heger did big things for Robert Morris last season, finishing in a tie for the national lead in saves per game at 12.75 per contest. There’s upsides and downsides to that, if you think about it. Sure, he made the saves, but that also meant he had to make the saves for RMU. He’s averaging 11 per game this season while allowing more than nine goals per contest, so the chances for Marquette to score are going to be there. They’re just going to have to make the best use of them.