Well, the good news is that Marquette men’s lacrosse doesn’t only have three games left to go this season. After MU lost back-to-back games against St. John’s due to COVID protocols for the Red Storm, it looked like MU was going to chug through the rest of the season with three daunting tests left in front of them.
Instead, those games against the Johnnies are back on the calendar, including a regular season finale just five days before the conference tournament is set to begin. That’s honestly something for Marquette to look forward to, because, well, MU’s chances of making the four team Big East tournament are pretty bleak right now.
The Golden Eagles are 0-5 in conference action at the moment, which has them tied for fifth/last in the league with St. John’s. Providence, which beat Marquette earlier this year, is holding down fourth place at 2-5. With Villanova at 4-2 and both Denver and Georgetown holding six wins already, surpassing the Friars is Marquette’s only way into the tournament at this point, and that’s not looking great given that MU has to play three games against teams that already beat them this season.
This isn’t to say that Marquette is a bad team this year. They’ve played some pretty good lacrosse and there’s a lot of things you can point to and say “look, they did well.” Unfortunately, the Golden Eagles have played what Lacrosse Reference notes as the third most difficult schedule in the country and what the NCAA’s calculation for strength of schedule rates as the 10th most difficult schedule in the country. That’s a byproduct of very few non-conference games and a double round-robin schedule against a Big East that had three teams ranked in the preseason polls. You can play good lacrosse but still end up with just one win and six losses against that kind of schedule, and that’s what has happened to MU this year.
And so, Marquette charges forward on Saturday to play yet another game against a ranked team. This time it will be at home, which is something, and it will be for Senior Day as well. This was supposed to be the last home game of the year before the SJU games got rescheduled, so it was always the plan for this to be Senior Day. Will that give the Golden Eagles any extra fuel, or perhaps more importantly, will that extra fuel be enough to pull off an upset?
Big East Game #6: vs #10 Georgetown Hoyas (7-1, 6-1 Big East)
Marquette is 5-4 all time against Georgetown. The 20-13 loss to the Hoyas earlier this season snapped a four game winning streak by the Golden Eagles in the series. Each of MU’s wins were by just one goal, so that streak of one goal games was also broken up with Georgetown winning by seven.
Beating Marquette back on March 6th moved the Hoyas to 4-0 on the season. They suffered their first loss of the season in their very next game, going down to #10 Denver by the final score of 13-7. It was the worst offensive output of the year by Georgetown to that point of the season, and their second straight game allowing 13 goals after giving up just seven total in their first three games. It’s been back to winning ways since then for GU, getting a 14-9 win at Providence, an 8-7 rally from behind against Villanova, and a 20-7 demolition of St. John’s last week Saturday.
Hopefully that St. John’s game is not a preview of what awaits the Golden Eagles on Saturday. Declan McDermott scored with 9:57 to go in the second quarter to put the Hoyas up 11-0. St. John’s got outshot — not outscored, just outshot — 15-3 in the first quarter, and the Johnnies never amassed even 10 shots in any of the four quarters of the game. The MU/GU game earlier this season had the Golden Eagles going goal-for-goal against the Hoyas in the first half, leaving the game tied 8-8 at the half after Georgetown hadn’t allowed eight goals through their first three games of the year. After that, it seemed like the halftime message for Georgetown was “hey, we’re frickin’ Georgetown over here,” and the Hoyas rolled easily to victory in the second half. You could easily see head coach Kevin Warne telling his charges “hey, remember when these jerks thought they could play with us?” in the pregame speech on Saturday, and then the same thing that happened to St. John’s happens to Marquette.
Jake Carraway continues to be a terrifying force for the Georgetown offense. He has 29 points and 11 assists in seven appearances this season, which works out to 4.1 goals, 1.6 assists, and thus 5.7 total points per game. An off-day for Carraway is only scoring twice, which is what he did against Denver on March 16th. That’s not right. For what it’s worth, Carraway’s missed game this year was the most recent one against Villanova, but he still bounced back with five goals and two assists against St. John’s last time out.
He is, of course, not Georgetown’s only threat. Graham Bundy has 24 goals this season, but since he has played in every game, he’s “only” averaging a hat trick per game. T.J. Haley has a team high 33 assists on the year, which means that if you ignore his four goals on the season, Haley has assisted on 28% of all of Georgetown’s goals and he averages — AVERAGES — over four assists per game. Nicky Petkevich is the only other guy other than Carraway on the roster who has double digits in both goals (12) and assists (10) this season, so MU’s defense is going to have to respect him, too. Declan McDermott, Dylan Hess, and Colin Munro are all averaging over a point per game, so that’s just more fun for Marquette to figure out.
By the way, Georgetown has been this terrifying without Gibson Smith. The preseason All-American defender played in the Hoyas’ season opener — a goal and an assist as a defender while adding two ground balls and two caused turnovers — but he hasn’t played since. Smith was expected to return to the lineup at some point this season, but that hasn’t happened yet. Think about it: Georgetown isn’t even as good as they were supposed to be.
Owen McElroy is the goalie of record for Georgetown, but he has only finished three games this season. Part of this is because Georgetown keeps destroying people, so Warne keeps giving the backups chances to play. McElroy is great, though, so it’s both somehow good news (the game is close!) and bad news (it’s hard to beat McElroy and get the goals you need to win!) for you if you keep him in the game. He has a goals-against average of just 7.02 allowed per 60 minutes of action, and he stops 58% of shots on goal.