We’re getting LIVE GAME ACTION from Marquette men’s lacrosse on Saturday, so we should probably take a look at what the Golden Eagles have on their roster this year, huh? We’ll start here with all of the returning players on the roster, aka the guys who were recruited by and played for Joe Amplo, but will have to be the foundational building blocks for new head coach Andrew Stimmel. We’ll break it down by position as we go, and we’ll start with the offense, as that seems to be where the Golden Eagles will experience the biggest changes this season.
At just 10.8 goals per game last season, I think it’s safe to say that Marquette was offensively challenged. That’s the good news, believe it or not. The bad news is that MU lost their top three point getters from last year due to the end of their eligibility, as well as about 50% of all of their offense for that same reason.
So, yeah, that’s probably not great for Marquette’s overall chances this season. With that in mind, it’s probably a good thing that Andrew Stimmel and offensive coordinator Peet Poillon are coming from programs where they were guiding explosive offenses. In 2018 and 2019 combined, Stimmel’s Yale offenses compiled the third most two-year span goals in NCAA history. Poillon’s Hobart team had the 9th best offense in the country last year and averaged nearly 14 goals per game. These guys know how to get their players to put the ball in the net, and while MU’s reliable names are gone, the hope here is that the schemes will carry the day.
At 7 goals and 6 assists a year ago, Ryan Fazio is MU’s leading returning attackman. He appeared in 12 of MU’s 14 games and started nine times. Holden Patterson is the most experienced guy from last year’s team in the attack corps, appearing in all 14 games and adding six goals and one assist. Redshirt junior Griffin Fleming got five goals and four assists in 11 appearances a year ago, while Anthony Orsini chipped in four goals and two assists in just 8 outings in 2019. None of that jumps off the page, obviously, but that’s at least a starting point for Stimmel. The key here might be keeping guys on the field more than anything else, given that Patterson is the only one to notch 14 games last season.
Below these chaps is a pretty decent crew of guys who at least understand what it’s like to strap on the pads and pull on a helmet at the Division 1 level. Garrett Moya got into six games a year ago and got his first career goal and four assists. Colin O’Donnell has only appeared in six career games after missing his first season on campus due to injury, but he had four of them a year ago and did score a goal against Detroit. Keaton Thomson, Brendan Alt, and Dylan Dobrosky are in their junior, redshirt sophomore, and senior seasons respectively, and while they saw a combined four games of action a year ago, they know what it takes to get on the field, and if Stimmel is going to be looking for bodies for a high energy style, they could get a chance to contribute. Thompson is a fascinating name to watch, as he went from starting on opening day as a freshman to only playing because Amplo had to suspend a dozen guys for a game in 2019. No, seriously, that was Thompson’s only appearance last year. Dan Shay and Jett Leonard-Bedier are redshirt freshmen on attack this season, and Shay has an interesting connection to Stimmel: He is the nephew of Andy Shay, Stimmel’s old boss at Yale.
UPDATE [1/29/20]: Thanks to the always on the ball staff at the Marquette Tribune, we know that Griffin Fleming will likely miss the 2020 season due to a leg injury suffered during fall ball. Given that he was going to be a redshirt junior this year, that might be the end of his collegiate career, unless he files for a medical redshirt.
Officially, Connor McClelland and Peter Henkhaus are listed on the roster as midfielders. However, we’ll have to see how long that actually lasts, as they count as Marquette’s experienced returning scorers. McClelland had 12 goals and seven assists in 13 games last season, while Henkhaus started in 12 of his 13 games, putting up 17 goals to be MU’s leading returning scorer this year, and he added four assists, too. No matter what their positions officially end up as this year, expect both of these guys to do more scoring in 2020.
Stimmel has talked about taking advantage of transition opportunities, and if that’s a goal for the Golden Eagles, then that could mean big things for senior Luke Anderson. The 6’3”, 210 pound senior from Minnesota played in all 14 games a year ago, recording nine goals, three assists, and a returning field player high 28 ground balls. Anderson seems to have a knack for finding seams when things are unsettled as teams flip from one side of the field to the other, so it’s possible that we could see a big final year in blue and gold for him.
Aaron Joseph and Logan Kreinz didn’t put much up in way of stats last season, but they were regular rotation guys for Amplo. Joseph tallied six ground balls and two caused turnovers in 11 games, while Kreinz scored twice and had five ground balls in nine appearances. Jack Devine got six games of action as a freshman last year, feeding two balls for goals and scooping three ground balls. Jordan Schmid is a redshirt sophomore this year who got his collegiate career off to a modest start last year with four appearances, although he didn’t record any stats worth recording.
Connor Campbell and Tommy Van Den Benken are both seniors this season, and Jacob Hallam is a junior. Not much in the way of on field in game experience there, but they can provide depth to the midfield if needed. Jace Whelan is a redshirt sophomore who hasn’t played in a game yet, and Trevor Peay and Patrick English are redshirt freshmen.
UPDATE [1/29/20]: Thanks to the always on the ball staff at the Marquette Tribune, we know that Aaron Joseph will most likely miss the entire 2020 season due to a leg injury suffered in fall ball action. It seems that he could have earned solid amounts of PT this season as a short stick defensive middie, but the coaching staff will have to fill the role elsewhere.
Okay, let’s be honest about things here: Even if Nick Grill hadn’t transferred to Maryland, this would not be a position of strength for the Golden Eagles. Marquette will have to replace all three regular starting defenders from last year’s team as a result, as Jackson Ehlert and Brendan Connolly were seniors last season. PJ Cox is the only notable returning name after playing in 11 matches last year as a junior. He had two starts, which is something, and recorded two ground balls and three caused turnovers. That doesn’t seem like much, but if his role was to stay at home and not make mistakes that lead to shots, then he’s not supposed to be scrambling around, either.
Behind Cox are a pair of fellow seniors in Ben Allen and Cole Froemming, who have appeared in a combined 12 games in three seasons. Veteran hands experienced in the ins and outs of a season, to be sure, but stuck behind the reliability of Ehlert, Connolly, and Grill and thus not in-game experienced. Quintin Arnett got into one game last year as a freshman, while Kyle McNeill sat out for his first year on campus.
I don’t know where defensive coordinator Jacob Richard is going to go with what he wants to do here, and without Marquette publishing any interesting information from their exhibition outings, I can’t even begin to guess. The good news is that Richard is a hold-over from Amplo’s staff, so he’s well aware of what everyone can and can’t do, and in theory, that makes his decisions a little bit easier. The flip side of that coin is that if there are freshmen who are standing head and shoulders above the other guys in the defensive group, they’ve got a chance to crack the lineup right away.
LONG STICK MIDFIELDERS
While MU’s close defense is a nebulous cloud of questions heading into 2020, the LSM department is looking pretty solid to start. Sure, replacing Big East Defensive Player of the Year Noah Richard won’t be fun, but Moey Lardy and Anthony Courcelle know what they’re doing out there. Both men played in every game last season, with Courcelle averaging a ground ball per game and a caused turnover in every other outing. Lardy wasn’t quite as productive, at least on the stat sheet, but seven ground balls and a caused turnover is also nothing to sneeze at, either. Both guys are in their junior year of eligibility this season, although Courcelle is a redshirt junior, so there is the potential to create multi-year stability at this position with the two of them.
Who steps up into Richard’s spot in the lineup is anyone’s guess. Zach Granger is a redshirt sophomore who played in five games as a freshman in 2018, but sat out all of last year. Elliott Yacu saw one game of action last season as a redshirt freshman, while James Amorosana didn’t get on the field in his first year on campus. Presuming that the coaching staff doesn’t change much about what they’re doing out there — after all, Stimmel used to be the Marquette defensive coordinator under Amplo, and won a Big East tournament title doing it — someone is going to have to step up big time for the Golden Eagles to replace the departing Richard. They’re not going to replace what he did — again, he was DPOY in 2019 — but they’re going to have to be a reliable cog in the machine at the least.
Well, the good news is that all three of MU’s face-off guys are back. Thomas Washington and Jared Hershman got the primary work last season, although Washington missed five games during his freshman season. Hershman won nearly 53% of his draws, which is good enough for me, honestly. Washington just barely missed 50%, but hey, he was a freshman, so I’m willing to cut him some slack. Having two guys who can win you a face-off is a good thing for Marquette, as they can just flip back and forth based on who’s having a good day on any particular Saturday. Hershman is a senior, so I presume the coaching staff will lean towards letting him play the most as long as he’s winning draws for the Golden Eagles. John Underwood is back after seeing action in two games as a freshman as well, but he only ended up taking four face-offs last season.
Marquette had three different goalies start at least one match last season, but that’s a wildly misleading statement from how the stat sheet ended up looking at the end of the season. Junior John Hulsman started 11 times last year, but ended up appearing in all 14 games. He finished with the best goals-against average of the three netminders at 11.32, which is good. It was third best in the Big East last season amongst regular full-time goalies. He also was the only goalie to play more than 70 minutes for Marquette, so he had a lot of time to level that average out as the season went on. However, Hulsman’s save percentage of .456 wasn’t as good, so there’s a certain amount of helping effect from pace of play at work in his GAA number.
Chris Rolfing is back for his senior season with Marquette after appearing in six matches with two starts as a junior. He had a save percentage of .520 a year ago, but that’s while making 13 saves in just over 58 minutes. Right now, you’re doing the math on “six appearances, two starts, 58 minutes, 60 minute game,” and that’s a pretty solid point by you. That definitely explains how Hulsman didn’t start three games but appeared in all of those. Same goes for junior Gabe Stein, who played in four matches, started one, and finished with 65 minutes played. Rolfing ended up with the worst GAA of the three at 12.31, while Stein had the worst save percentage at .409. I presume that the job is Hulsman’s to lose for 2020, but I thought that at the start of last year, and look what happened. Who’s to say for certain what the new head coach has to say about things?