Marquette men’s lacrosse has a win on the season. They beat Cleveland State in their most recent game to give the squad their first win on the year after starting out 0-5. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that both of MU’s next two opponents are in the Inside Lacrosse media poll top 10. Oh, and MU only has four Big East games left to go. That’s not super great, either, given that the Golden Eagles are 1-5 on the year and 0-4 in Big East action. Well, four games scheduled right now, because in theory there are two games against St. John’s that need to be made up, but also maybe they don’t matter in terms of deciding who is and is not in the conference tournament.
So there’s not much season left to go, but there also might be, depending on how you look at it, an awful lot of season left to go. I would certainly like good things to happen to Marquette the rest of the way, but I’m also a pragmatist, which means I’m desperately worried about how the team will react to getting shoved back through the woodchipper that they went through to start the season.
Let’s all cross our fingers and hope that we, along with head coach Andrew Stimmel and his staff, can find some good things to take out of what happens down the stretch.
Big East Game #5: at #5 Denver Pioneers (7-2, 5-0 Big East)
Marquette is 2-9 all time against Denver. In a weird set of circumstances, MU is 2-1 against the Pioneers in the Big East tournament and 0-8 against Denver in regular season contests after losing in Milwaukee earlier this season.
I think that Marquette might have to apologize to the rest of the Big East. Ever since the Golden Eagles made Denver fight to the final whistle for a 10-9 win at Valley Fields on February 20th, the Pioneers have just been rolling through opponents. 23-10 at home against Providence. 20-6 at St. John’s. We’re going to count 13-7 as rolling against Georgetown seeing as the Hoyas were a defensive juggernaut to start the season. And then, in their most recent game, 19-11 against Providence out in Rhode Island. If you wanted to accuse Denver of sleepwalking through the start of the season up through the Marquette game, that was maybe a pretty fair assessment of what was going on. That’s definitely not the case over the last five weeks.
Denver’s in a fight for the top of the Big East standings, as only their win over Georgetown separates the Pioneers and the Hoyas. That’s probably going to be foremost on their minds going into Saturday against Marquette. Or maybe it’ll be attempting to keep the zero in the conference loss column up there instead. Six of one, half dozen of the other, perhaps. In any case, mix in a dash of “hey, we remember those dudes being feisty earlier this year” and I think we can bet that Marquette gets Denver’s undivided attention.
Jackson Morrill has gained control of the top of Denver’s score sheet. He has 20 goals, which does not lead the team, but he has 22 assists, which does lead the team. That gives him 42 total points for an average — AN AVERAGE! — of 4.7 points per game. Forget trying to cover him with pole or a short stick, Marquette might want to try using a bear trap. Morrill’s 20 goals are tied with Alex Simmons and Jack Hannah for second best on the team, as all three are trailing along behind the 22 markers that Ethan Walker has posted this season. I’m saying that MU’s defense is going to have their hands full, no matter what the score was in Milwaukee earlier this year.
Nine games and nine starts in net for Jack Thompson this year, so we’ll presume that the sophomore from Colorado will start for Denver yet once again on Saturday. He’s only played all 60 minute twice in Big East play: against Marquette and against Georgetown, or in other words, he’s stayed in when Denver was actually at risk of losing the game. Thompson is allowing just 8.24 goals per 60 minutes this season, and his .552 save percentage is pretty darn good.