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Marquette Men’s Lacrosse 2021 Season Preview: The Newcomers

We have to say newcomers because the Golden Eagles have a pretty notable transfer to go along with their freshmen.

Andrew Stimmel Facebook.com/MarquetteMLax

Hey!

We’re getting closer to getting actual game action from Marquette men’s lacrosse! We’ve already done some season previewing when we talked about who is returning from the 2020 roster for head coach Andrew Stimmel. There’s a lot of them! Marquette is pretty deep all over the place on the roster, so that’s going to make it hard for any new guys to crack their way into the lineup.

But we’re still going to talk about those new guys, because we don’t want to get caught with our pants down when Stimmel and his staff suddenly start leaning on a freshman right out of the gate. Besides, Marquette has a transfer on the roster this year, and, well, based on his history, he should probably make a pretty big impact for the Golden Eagles this season. Let’s dive right in, shall we?

ATTACK

Our conversation about who is new on the roster has to start with Morgan Macko. The Michigan native is a grad transfer from Bellarmine. He compiled 94 points in 45 career games for the Knights. The six-foot tall Macko had 12 goals, seven assists, and 10 ground balls for Bellarmine in 2020 before the season was cut off by the pandemic after just eight games. As a junior in 2019, he had 21 goals and 15 assists.

Marquette has a ton of scoring back from 2020 as we talked about in our discussion of the returning guys. All of the top 10 point scorers are back and all but one guy who even recorded just one point as well. Macko expands the field of available attackers and adds a veteran presence as well. MU’s top three scorers a year ago were all freshmen, so having an extra veteran hand with more than 10 games played at the collegiate level is beneficial, no matter how many points Macko actually puts up.

Macko is joined as a new guy in the offensive corps by three freshmen. I’m trying to decide between Russell Melendez (#31, 6’1”, 195 lbs.) and Justin Mintzer (#71, 5’11”, 180 lbs.) as to which freshman has the most notable bio notes. Melendez is only one of the three to have any information about his scoring abilities, as we know that he led his Maryland high school team in goals and assists in each of his last two seasons of competition. However, Mintzer won Maryland state titles at Calvert Hall in 2017, 2018, and 2019, and while we don’t know anything about his contributions to those titles, that still sounds pretty impressive. Hudson Thomson (#80, 6’4”, 185 lbs.) rounds out the new attackers. The big Canadian is the third Thomson brother to come to Marquette after Tanner was a part of Marquette’s two NCAA tournament teams and Keaton who is a redshirt junior on this year’s team.

For what it’s worth, Stimmel gives a nod to Melendez in the official team offense preview. It’s an incredibly deep group of attackers, though, so any of the three freshmen are going to have to be very impressive in order to make it onto the field much less make an impact this year.

MIDFIELD

This can be a confusing section for freshmen. Are these guys attacking mids or short stick defensive midfielders? Well, at least for now, all five of the freshman midfielders are listed as part of the official team offense preview. We’ll presume that’s where Stimmel is intending on using them, but hey: if a spot opens up or a guy makes a name for himself in the direction of SSDM, run with it.

Jordon Celeslie (#55, 5’11”, 195 lbs.) jumps off the page at me, as he broke his high school’s all time scoring record with 201 career points.... and he had just one game in his senior year due to the pandemic. He was an all-state performer in all three full seasons of high school lacrosse in Missouri, and tallied 73 points as a junior. Ellison Burt-Murray (#16, 5’10”, 165 lbs.) is the only one of the five that had a note in his official Marquette bio as to his recruiting ranking, so we know he was a three-star prospect according to Inside Lacrosse. He played four years of high school lacrosse and then did a post-grad year at IMG Academy, and they don’t let goofs attend IMG. Burt-Murray was a two-time all-Georgia first team honoree in his prep career, and that’s pretty good stuff.

Charlie DiGiacomo (#10, 6’0”, 190 lbs) posted 73 goals and 32 assists in the only two years of high school lacrosse that he was able to play due to injury. One of the years he lost was his senior year, and since the injury is unspecified, we have to hope that he’s 100% now. Pierce Washburn (#12, 6’2”, 200) seems like a big body to have around, and he might be a pretty great athlete, too. Not only did he letter three times in lacrosse in high school, but he also played three seasons of soccer and hockey. That speaks to a multitude of developed skills both with and without his hands. Jack Nolan (#23, 6’0”, 200 lbs.) hails from Chicago, and he was a First Team all-state performer as a junior in 2019. That seems pretty good.

DEFENSE & LONG STICK MIDFIELDER

I’m going to smush these two groups together because MU has two defenders, one defender/LSM combo, and one true LSM listed on the roster amongst the freshmen. Since they’re all new to the team, if we’re being honest, these roles can be kind of interchangeable until Stimmel and assistant coach Jake Richard figure out where they fit in best.

We’ll start with the combo guy, David Lamarca (#30, 5’11”, 180 lbs.) if for no other reason that he was singled out by Stimmel in the official team defensive preview as making an impression on the coaches already. Here’s what he said:

“David Lamarca has done a phenomenal job,” Stimmel said. “He’s great off the ground, he knocks down passes, he’s got a really great IQ. There’s certainly a lot of room for him to grow, but he’s really stood out on the defensive end.”

Does that turn into minutes? Who can say, but Lamarca was a three-star prospect in Inside Lacrosse’s eyes and he led all Maryland LSMs in ground balls as a junior.

Jack Kinney (#89, 5’9”, 170 lbs.) was second team all-Colorado as a junior and averaged 2.5 ground balls per game for his high school career. Was that high end Division 1 physical gifts that let him do that or a skill for scooping balls up cleanly? Billy Rojack (#88, 6’0”, 185 lbs.) was first team all-New Jersey as a junior and led his team in caused turnovers that year. Ryan Kilcoyne (#41, 6’2”, 185 lbs.) rounds out the group, and we don’t have much interesting to share about him..... other than he was on those Calvert Hall title teams with Justin Mintzer.

FACE OFFS

Just one freshman added to the team here, and that’s Luke Rios (#34, 5’9”, 170 lbs). He won over 72% of his 260 faceoffs as a junior in high school, including a 77.6% mark in the state playoffs. With the rule change in place (we talked about this with the returning guys), it’s hard to say for certain who will end up taking draws for Marquette this season. It seems that Stimmel likes Rios’ speed on the whistle, so it’s possible that we could see Rios take a few cracks at it pretty early this season. The only way to figure out who your best guy available is to give everyone a shot at it in live action, after all.

GOALIE

Marquette has two freshmen netminders on the roster this season. With John Hulsman and Gabe Stein floating around and Sean Richard still waiting to make his Marquette debut, I would have to suspect that neither Jamie Grant (#1, 5’9”, 165 lbs.) nor Michael Allieri (#45, 5’9”, 185 lbs.) have all that much of a chance of playing any significant minutes this season. With that said, the official team defense preview calls Grant “a high-level high school goalie,” but also says he’s getting accustomed to college lacrosse. I’d like to say something nice about Allieri, but 1) he’s not mentioned at all in the official preview other than listed with the other goalies and 2) his official Marquette bio is literally blank.