Alrighty, kids, time for the rubber to meet the road.
Marquette men’s lacrosse has had their fair share of weirdness to this point of the season, but they come in on a two game winning streak. One on the road where they needed to fend off Robert Morris, and then at home where they maintained their distance from Michigan as the clock wound down. It was two quality performances from the Golden Eagles after a three game losing streak that can only be described as either “off-kilter” or just “weird as hell.” Whatever strikes your fancy.
We’ve talked about all of the oddity of the first seven games of the year enough already, though. It’s time to look forward. Let’s all pretend that Marquette has gotten all of their business ironed out, and it’s all sunshine and lollipops going forward.
Why? Well, because Marquette needs to be playing their best lacrosse right now. As you can see, their first Big East opponent is the #14 team in the country. Just a few weeks down the road, it’s #11 Notre Dame, #2 Duke, and #13 Denver. That’s three of the last four games of the season, which appears to be some sort of weird tradition at this point. Head coach Joe Amplo believes that the Golden Eagles are capable of postseason damage, but the obvious key is that they need to get there first. As you can see, Marquette is going to get their fair share of cracks at proving that they belong in the NCAA tournament. However, they have to take advantage of them, and with so many ranked teams on the slate, Marquette will get their chances.
The question is: What Marquette team will show up? Is it the squad that tallied more than 15 goals in each of the past two games? Is it the one that had a whole mess of dudes agitate their way into getting suspended and the team and beaten by Cleveland State? It could be either one! Hopefully it’s the former, and we get an amazing lacrosse game out of the whole deal.
Big East Game #1: at #14 Georgetown Hoyas (7-1)
Marquette is 4-3 all time against Georgetown. After last year’s 9-8 victory in overtime in Milwaukee, the Golden Eagles have won three straight against the Hoyas, all by one goal margins. In fact, all four Golden Eagles victories have been by just one goal, and one of the losses was as well. MU is 4-2 against Georgetown in regular season meetings.
The Hoyas come in on a five game winning streak and quite honestly, can’t even feel slightly bad about their one loss on the season. Sure, Towson scored seven of the final nine goals of the game for a 14-8 victory, but 1) it was a one goal game with less than a minute to go in the third quarter, 2) Towson was ranked #9 in the country at the time, and 3) Towson would end up ranked #1 in the country 10 days later. These things happen.
Since the loss, the Hoyas have edged out wins against Mount Saint Mary’s and Drexel as well as won fairly easily against Hofstra, Furman, and Fairfield. The Drexel game was the most recent one, and Georgetown had to hold off the Dragons to a certain extent. GU had taken a 9-5 lead in the second quarter, but it was just 9-8 at the half. A 3-1 third quarter tilted it back towards them, and Drexel would score just once in the fourth as the Hoyas won 13-10.
A lot of what the Hoyas do is generated through their defense. They’re getting beat on faceoffs 118-95 this season, but they’ve created nearly 40 more turnovers than their opponents have on the season. That’s a really solid way to wipe out a faceoff deficit. Gibson Smith and Patrick Aslanian are the two defenders to watch, as Smith is averaging two caused turnovers a game, and Aslanian is just barely behind him.
As expected, Daniel Bucaro and Jake Carraway are the primary scorers for the Hoyas. Bucaro has a three goal advantage on Carraway, 29-26, and with the two knotted up at 16 helpers on the year, Bucaro holds the points advantage as well, 45-42. Lucas Wittenberg also has to be checked, as he has 16 assists, too. Georgetown makes excellent work of their passing, putting up 71 assists on just 112 goals this season. That passing is probably a big component as to why they’re #6 on Lacrosse Reference in offensive efficiency this season. Marquette will need to take care of the ball on their own end as well as not get caught ball watching on defense. Cutters need to be turned away from their lanes and balls in the air need to be contested.