Let’s focus on the good parts of last weekend.
Namely, Marquette was tied 8-8 at halftime against the #4 team in the country. Tied at 8 after 30 minutes against a team that had surrendered just seven goals in the three previous games they had played combined. That’s just good lacrosse.
Did it stay that way all game long? No! Which is why I choose to ignore that the #4 team in the country looked like a pissed off version of the #4 team in the country in the second half. Part of that was because Marquette poked the bear in the first 30 minutes! It is what it is.
However, that game did drop Marquette to 0-3 overall on the year and 0-3 in Big East play, too. That’s not great. Maybe unavoidable to a certain extent, even if Marquette did look pretty good for eight of the 12 quarters that they played. The three teams that they played were all in the preseason top 20. Sometimes, perhaps even oftentimes, you take losses to those teams. That’s sports.
That brings us to this weekend against a team that was not earning votes in the preseason Inside Lacrosse media poll. I don’t know about you, but I think that the Marquette that played those good eight quarters of lacrosse against ranked caliber opponents has a pretty good chance of beating a team that’s not a ranked-type of team. With three of Marquette’s 11 games this season in the bank already, I think it’s actually kind of important that MU figure out a way to win this game. Quite honestly, Villanova, Denver, and Georgetown are coming back around in the second half of the season, because that’s how the Big East scheduled this spring. Marquette only has so many games on their schedule that you don’t have to say “well, if everything works out exactly right for them.....” as part of the preview. Saturday in the Valley is one of them.
Go win it, and post the first W of the year.
Big East Game #4: vs Providence Friars (2-3, 1-2 Big East)
Date: Saturday, March 13, 2021
Time: 11am Central
Location: Valley Fields, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, maybe in the Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble, maybe outside in the stadium?
Streaming: GoMarquette.com, with Patrick Reed and Cole Blazer on the call
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax
Marquette is 5-2 all time against Providence. The losses are in the last four games, including the most recent meeting in 2019.
Providence has been alternating losses with wins all year, and since they started with a 9-8 loss at Bryant and have played five games, they have more losses than wins so far this season. Their losses on the year aren’t bad losses by any stretch. Bryant is receiving votes in the most recent Inside Lacrosse media poll, as is Villanova. PC just lost 11-8 to the Wildcats back on Sunday afternoon, and that was a 9-8 game with four minutes left. The other loss on the year, well, that was a 23-10 shelling at the hands of then-#12 Denver, and that wasn’t even as close as the game actually was. It was 22-5 with six minutes to go. Bad? Maybe, but Denver’s the best team that Providence has played so far this season, and this was after the Golden Eagles threw a scare into the Pioneers.
The two wins this year are on the road against St. John’s as they doubled up the Johnnies 16-8, and by just one, 18-17, at home against Fairfield. Providence blew a 13-8 lead in the third quarter in that one and it was tied at 16 with 2:30 to play.
This could be an interesting clash of styles. Providence is averaging just short of 50 shots per game this season, while Marquette is down at 37 per contest. That’s a pretty big difference! And it’s not just the Hoyas holding things down with their defense last time out for MU. Two games of 36 shots for the Golden Eagles, one at 39. MU head coach Andrew Stimmel and offensive coordinator Peet Poillon have a reputation for a more firewagon style of lacrosse, so we’ll see what happens if Marquette starts getting into a track meet with the Friars.
Ryan Nawrocki leads Providence in points this season with 16 so far, but he’s getting there on assists. He has helped out on 11 of PC’s 60 goals, which is a pretty neat bit of work. Dan Axelson is the shooter that Marquette most has to worry about, or rather, the most likely shooter. He has 11 goals on the season and he’s taken a team high 41 shots. That 11 goals is tied with Ryan Zimmerman for the team lead, though, and Zimmerman has only taken 23 shots. So: Axelson will be the one that PC turns to when they need a shot, but Zimmerman is more likely to put it in. Tim Hinrichs rounds out the group of guys with double digit points already this year with 11 on nine goals and two assists.
Toby Burgdorf is the goalie of choice for Providence. He’s played all but 29 minutes in the Denver game after conceding 15 goals in the first 31 minutes. So, obviously, that’s messing with his stats, which has him giving up 13.27 goals per 60 minutes and stopping 42% of shots on goal. Throw out the Denver game, and that GAA drops to 11.25 per game. Part of Burgdorf’s stats are always going to be Providence allowing almost as many shots as they take, and you’re just going to allow more goals when you allow a lot of shots.