Once more, into the breach.....
We’re previewing Marquette men’s lacrosse’s final game of the season here. It’s not just the final game of the regular season, but the final game of everything. The Golden Eagles are just 3-8 this season and just 2-7 in Big East play. It has been the worst season of men’s lacrosse in Marquette history, although that has a lot more to do with the Big East corralling MU into playing six games against preseason top 20 teams than it does really with the quality of the team or the schemes that they’re running on the field. Marquette has seven conference losses! They lost six times to the three preseason teams that they played twice each! It happens!
The end result of having those seven losses and in particular their most recent one, 19-8 to Villanova last Saturday, means that Marquette has already been eliminated from the Big East tournament. It’s a six team league, and only the top four teams get to participate. MU had to win that game against the Wildcats (they didn’t) and get help from Georgetown against Providence last weekend (they did) AND beat St. John’s in Friday’s regular season finale in order to get in. Honestly, it’s kind of impressive that MU went into last Saturday with a path that wasn’t totally bonkers.
But it didn’t come together for Marquette, so they’re just playing out the string here. It kind of stinks to be playing a game that is, big picture, pointless. Still, it’s a game and it’s a chance for Marquette to figure some things out — after all, this is only Andrew Stimmel’s 19th game as head coach, which makes this just the end of a very long first season in a way — and that’s not a bad thing. It’s also a chance for MU to finish the season with a win and with wins in three of their last four games. Positivity!
We should probably cross our fingers for good luck though, just in case.
Big East Game #10: at St. John’s Red Storm (1-9, 0-9 Big East)
Marquette is 7-1 all time against St. John’s. The Red Storm won the first ever meeting between the two programs, and then the Golden Eagles have won every game since. Three of Marquette’s seven wins have gone to overtime, including the game at Valley Fields earlier this season.
As you can see, St. John’s is coming into this one even farther down on the Big East food chain than Marquette is. The April 14th game between the two teams provided the Golden Eagles with their first conference win of the year, while St. John’s left Milwaukee winless against Big East foes. Since then, things have not gotten better for the Johnnies, as they got wrecked, 23-8, by Villanova and then gave up a 12 goal first quarter to Denver in a 19-11 loss that wasn’t even that close.
So, it hasn’t been fun for them, and since this will be their Senior Day, I’m sure they’ll be all kinds of fired up to beat a Marquette team that they maybe kind of should have actually beaten earlier this season.
Things have, arguably, gotten worse for St. John’s in the last three games, including the loss to Marquette. Back before that game, we noted that Lacrosse Reference said that SJU was the second worst defensive team in the country. Now they’re #66 in the country, one spot lower, but apparently someone just jumped in with one game, because now there’s 67 teams playing. Still second worst, but now they’re ranked lower than they were before. Wooo.
Marquette didn’t have a singular problem with the Red Storm offense last time out. Three guys had two goals each as the Golden Eagles gave up eight goals total in the game. It was exactly the three guys you would expect to score twice: Jonathan Huber along with both of the Madsen twinse, Mike and Joe. That trio is tops on the SJU scoresheet in points this year as well as goals and assists with Huber leading in goals (21) and points (27) and Joe Madsen getting the advantage in assists with eight. Giving up six goals to those three guys with no assists is honestly a pretty good defensive result for Marquette, so we’ll see if the MU offense can produce a little bit more to help them out.
The goalkeeping situation for St. John’s continues to be a mess. Brody Agres played every single minute against Marquette earlier this season, so if this game ends up staying close, I’d imagine that he’ll be the one in cage for the Johnnies. However, Agres got pulled after 35 minutes against Villanova and just 13 minutes against Denver in the last two games because those two teams were absolutely wrecking SJU’s defense. I don’t know how much of that was or wasn’t Agres’ fault, but he’s also only gone the distance in one other game this season. In theory, Marquette’s offense could pop off and chase him out again — that save percentage of .481 ain’t great — but we can’t really expect that after how the last Red Storm game went.