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Marquette Men’s Lacrosse Preview: at #8 Notre Dame

This is the only scheduled mid-week game of the year for the Golden Eagles, and it’s a doozy.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Stanford Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Marquette men’s lacrosse has never been 0-4 before.

We talked about this earlier this season. Marquette had never been 0-2 before. The circumstances of this year have somewhat forced the Golden Eagles’ hand, as they lost a chance to start 1-0 when Cleveland State had to withdraw from the scheduled opener with COVID issues. After that, it was three straight teams that were in the Inside Lacrosse preseason top 20. Marquette probably wasn’t going to be favored to beat any of those squads, and while they gave all three of them a fight, they didn’t win. It happens.

Last week against Providence happened, too, which was a 12-8 loss in the Valley. That one fell apart in the third quarter on the Golden Eagles, as they got outscored 4-1. More accurately, the Friars scored four straight after MU scored to open the quarter and tie the game at 4-all. It wasn’t a high scoring affair, but Marquette wasn’t able to stay with Providence, and now they’re 0-4 on the year and 0-4 in the Big East.

Barring a reversal of fortune from both this year so far and the history of the program, Marquette is starting at 0-5 to start the year after they play their only non-conference game of the year on Wednesday afternoon. That’s not great. Let’s see what happens. I’m not saying MU can shock the world, and definitely not saying that they will. Can they look like they belong on the field with the #8 team in the country? Maybe.

After Wednesday, it’s a quick turnaround for Marquette. They’ll have just two days off before playing the only Big East team they haven’t played yet this year. This weekend is starting to look very much like it might be one of just two real chances for a win for MU this season. But that’s a discussion for that preview.

Game #5: at #8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (2-0)

Date: Wednesday, March 17, 2021
Hey, did you realize: That Marquette is playing the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, yes.
Time: 3pm Central
Location: Arlotta Stadium, South Bend, Indiana
Television: ACC Network, with Anish Shroff & Paul Carcaterra on the call
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

Marquette is 0-8 all time against Notre Dame. The Irish have been ranked for each and every single meeting in this series, including seven instances of being in the top 10 like they are here. Three of the last four regular season meetings in this series have been decided by just one goal, although Marquette was receiving votes for all three of those games. Notre Dame won the last meeting back in 2019.

It’s been a pretty quiet start to the season for Notre Dame, who came into the year as the #8 team in the country in the Inside Lacrosse media preseason poll. This is exactly what they were planning on, though, as they announced this game against Marquette as their third game of the season. They didn’t start the year off until February 27th, when they beat Robert Morris 19-7 at home. That one was over quick, with the Irish posting back-to-back 6-1 quarters in the first half and eventually going up 16-3 in the third quarter. Game #2 on the year, their most recent game, was back on March 6th. That was a home game as well, and they beat Bellarmine 12-6. The Knights scored the last two goals of the first half to make it 7-4 at the break, and it was only 8-5 at the start of the fourth quarter. ND scored the first three goals of the fourth to go up 11-5 and ride it out from there.

Marquette has to stop Pat Kavanaugh. Full stop, don’t over think it. The 5’10” sophomore attacker has 13 assists on the season. I’m going to reword that for you: The sophomore from New York is averaging 6.5 assists per game this season. Seven against Robert Morris, six against Bellarmine. He has 13 assists. Notre Dame has 31 goals. He has an assist rate of 41% if you just think it through straight up without factoring whether or not he was on the field. Oh, and he has two goals on the year, so he’s actually assisting on 45% of all of Notre Dame’s other goals. Stop. Pat. Kavanaugh.

Relative to short circuiting Kavanaugh’s passing, putting the clamps on Quinn McCahon, Wheaton Jackoboice, and John Hallenbeck is child’s play. Those guys are Notre Dame’s top three goal scorers this season, with McCahon getting seven in two games and the other two even at four each. Are they going to score against Marquette? Sure, probably, you don’t average two or three goals in two games by being bad at lacrosse. Might it be infinitely harder for them to score if Marquette takes Kavanaugh out of the system? Probably!

Liam Entenmann is your goalie. He has played all but eight minutes this season, which is admittedly less impressive than it sounds when you’re only two games in. Entenmann has made 18 saves so far this year, which gives him a save percentage of .621, which is really great. Notre Dame has done a good job of limiting shots at him as they’re outshooting teams 49-26 on average.