A whole hell of a lot happened in 61 minutes in Cleveland on Saturday morning, but the big headline is that Andrew Stimmel is 1-0 as Marquette head men’s lacrosse coach after his squad rallied from down three at halftime to pull off an 11-10 overtime victory over Cleveland State.
The 2020 season started out very well, with Peter Henkaus firing the first shot of the year past Cleveland State’s Gareth Haigh for a 1-0 Marquette lead just 54 seconds into the game. Things went less well from there. The two teams traded goals in the first quarter, although Devon Cowan’s first collegiate goal with 2:33 left in the quarter had the Golden Eagles up 3-2 after 15 minutes. The second quarter went completely sideways on Marquette as four of CSU’s nine shots found their way past MU’s John Hulsman. The Golden Eagles couldn’t answer on the other end at all, and thus the Vikings had a 6-3 lead at the half.
MU decided to respond with volume, ripping off 16 shots in the third quarter, three more than they had in the entire first half. Chris Kirschner opened up the scoring with 10:57 to go, and Holden Patterson scored his first and second goals of the game just 53 seconds apart to pull Marquette within one, 7-6, with four minutes left in the frame.
That score held through to the start of the fourth quarter, and Cowan’s second of the game knotted the match at seven. It was already pretty wild at Krenzler Field, and that just kept on going. Ryan Haigh answered Cowan less than 30 seconds later to put Cleveland State back out in front, but then goals from Henkhaus and Cowan 90 seconds apart had Marquette up 9-8 with 6:09 to go.
That’s a lot of lacrosse, obviously. Marquette’s Luke Anderson took a cross-checking penalty late in the frame, which led to Tristan Hanna scoring the game’s only man-up goal to tie things at nine each. It looked like Connor McClelland had won the game for Marquette with a goal with just 47 seconds remaining, but CSU was able to gather up the ensuing faceoff, and after a timeout, Hanna scored again to lock the game at 10 each with 13 seconds left to go.
Thankfully things went to overtime, honestly, because CSU did win the faceoff after that, but Anderson pulled up the ground ball on the opening faceoff of overtime. For whatever godforsaken reason, Cleveland State went into a 10 man ride while Marquette was in the process of clearing in overtime..... and, uh, well, Chris Kirschner said, “You wanna go home? Let’s go home,” and potted the game winner into an empty net just 25 seconds into the extra session.
No, really! Look!
CLEVELAND ROCKS!!!— Marquette Lacrosse (@MarquetteMLax) February 1, 2020
Chris Kirschner puts one in an empty net against a ride. win 11-10 in OT!#WeAreMarquette pic.twitter.com/PtlC5Qlam0
Here’s Kirschner talking about what led to his shot:
Freshman Chris Kirschner with the heady play in overtime to lift the Golden Eagles to a 11-10 win at Cleveland State in Saturday's opener. #WeAreMarquette pic.twitter.com/IZPUs5xPoW— Marquette Lacrosse (@MarquetteMLax) February 1, 2020
It was a big day for Marquette freshmen all over the board, with Kirschner getting the game winner and Cowan recording a hat trick. Cowan also tallied two assists to lead the team in that column, which is nice. Fellow freshman Mason Woodward led the team with eight ground balls, and he had a team high three caused turnovers too.
John Hulsman ended up making 10 saves on Cleveland State’s 20 shots on goal, which is pretty good. Marquette put only 17 shots on goal to get to 11 goals, so that’s a pretty solid job of efficiency, even if they had 20 goals miss the cage all together. Marquette won the ground ball battle overall, 32-30, but they struggled on face-offs, winning only nine to CSU’s 14. In addition to fixing that for next time out, MU is also going to need to take a look at their clearance process. It worked very well in overtime, obviously, but the Golden Eagles only successfully completed 20 of their 26 clearance attempts. That’s six failed possessions. It’s one thing to end up with a turnover before you get a shot off, it’s another thing to get it ripped away from you before you even get set up on offense.
Up Next: Time for the 2020 home opener! Marquette will be at Valley Fields for the first time this season next Saturday, February 8, to host Bellarmine. The Knights lost their opener at Utah on Saturday by a score of 16-10. Bellarmine has a new head coach this season and were picked to finish seventh in the eight team Southern Conference this year.