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Marquette Men’s Lacrosse Preview: vs Jacksonville

The Golden Eagles take to the field looking for their third straight win to start the season.

A common bottlenose dolphin is seen during a show at the... Photo by John Milner/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

And now, for a fun game I like to call “It’s Only Two Games, BUT.....”

And yes, I’m stealing this from JE Skeets and the guys at No Dunks.

It’s Only Two Games, BUT..... I think two games is about time that we start to take a look at what kind of changes we’re seeing with Marquette Golden Eagles men’s lacrosse under Andrew Stimmel. Sure, there’s a lot of ways we could go about doing this, but I think, at least for now, the best way to go about this is just goal efficiency. Goals scored or allowed per possession. Stimmel and offensive coordinator Peet Poilion come from systems that racked up goals in a big way over the past few years, and it was very clear from the home opener that “Grit City” is the official mantra of MU lacrosse under Stimmel’s direction.

So, let’s see what we have through two games.

Using the Great Lax State calculation for lacrosse possessions, here’s what we get for Marquette’s offense both last year (MU was not great) and this year.

2019: 0.32 goals per possession
2020: 0.31 goals per possession

That’s... not.... ideal. Marquette was offensively challenged last year if you wanted to be friendly about how they put the ball in the net. Through an overtime win over Cleveland State and a “oh wow, they just barely held on” win against Bellarmine, Marquette is trailing ever so slightly behind last year’s offensively challenged pace. It’s not what you want, but then again, Marquette is in a position where they have to replace essentially every major cog from last year’s scoring. There’s going to be some bumps and bruises along the way, and so far, that’s clearly happening.

Let’s move to defense, shall we?

2019: 0.32 goals per possession
2020: 0.27 goals per possession

Well! That’s pretty good! Marquette’s defense is in almost as bad of a place as the MU offense in terms of replacing the major contributors, and so far, Mason Woodward and friends are figuring it out better than last year’s squad did. That’s pretty good news, even if the results have been two very close lacrosse contests when the final horn sounded. It’s probably not going to stay this low all season, especially as Big East play gets started and things start ramping up in a big way, but for now, defensive coordinator Jake Richard has things working out well.

Game #3: vs Jacksonville Dolphins (0-1)

Date: Saturday, February 15, 2020
Time: Noon Central
Location: Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble, Valley Fields, Milwaukee, WI
Streaming: GoMarquette.com
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

Marquette is 4-2 all time against Jacksonville. The Dolphins won the first two meetings in series history, and the Golden Eagles have won the four since then, including last year’s 14-12 decision in Florida.

As you can see, Jacksonville is 0-1 on the season after falling 15-14 to Detroit Mercy at home in their first game of 2020. It’s actually worse than that, because JU scored the first five goals of the game and also led 14-11 with nine minutes left to go in the fourth quarter. Yikes. The ‘Phins then took another L of a more esoteric variety when their second game of the season, another home date with Vermont, was cancelled because 1) The Catamounts couldn’t travel to make the game and 2) The Catamounts were unable to make a date work with JU to postpone the game. As such, Jacksonville comes into Saturday after sitting on the shelf for 12 days. We’ll see if a bit of unexpected rust comes into play and whether or not that’s beneficial to the Golden Eagles.

Jacksonville was picked to finish fourth in the eight team Southern Conference this season, and seeing as that includes Richmond, High Point, and Air Force in front of them, that’s not really that insulting or anything. The Dolphins had four guys make the preseason all-conference team: Senior midfielder Evan Tyler, junior midfielder Jack Dolan, sophomore defender Jordan Young, and short stick defensive middie Zack Deaken. Tyler and Dolan lived up to the hype in the first 60 minutes of action this season. Tyler led the team with six points on two goals and four assists, while Dolan added a goal and four assists. That’s strong stuff. Young (1 caused turnover) and Deaken (2 ground balls, 1 caused turnover) weren’t quite as productive on their end of the field, but they still made an impact even in the loss.

Hunter Sells was the starting netminder for JU in the opener, so I figure he’ll get the go ahead here as well. He played all but the final 21 seconds of the game, and I’m not entire sure why Adam Baker played the last few there. I suppose it’s possible that’s because of an injury to Sells at the last moment, but it’s unclear at this point. In any case, Sells was a top goalie prospect coming out of high school and started his collegiate career at Johns Hopkins before transferring to JU. He started 13 of 15 games in 2018 and all 15 games last year. Sells is the clearly more experienced option in the net for Jacksonville if nothing else, so anyone else minding shop would, in theory, be a good news for the Golden Eagles.