Tuesday afternoon brought with it the third defeat of the season and third straight defeat of the season for Marquette men’s lacrosse, but I don’t think it truly brought along disappointment for the Golden Eagles. The final score for MU’s game against #16 Michigan was 12-10 favoring the road team at Valley Fields, but context is required for all of this.
First of all, this was the closest margin of victory for the 6-0 Wolverines this season. Their previous smallest margin? Eight goals. Only twice before this season has an opponent held Michigan to a single digit margin, and Marquette’s two goal gap was the smallest margin of the year.
Marquette’s 12 goals allowed in this game is also a season low for Michigan. Sure, it’s coming off their previous season low of 13 goals in their 13-5 home win over Cleveland State, but this is still the most frustration on the offensive end that the Wolverines have experienced all season.
It was also a fight all the way through to the end, and that’s the part that I think that Marquette should probably keep in mind as the season continues. The Golden Eagles got out to a 3-0 lead in the first four minutes of the game, taking advantage of two Luke Williams face off wins to score two quick goals following up Russell Melendez’ opening goal of the game.
Things went sideways in the second quarter for Marquette after Nolan Rappis scored his first career goal to put MU up 4-1 not long after the start of the period. From there, Michigan scored six of the next seven goals, demonstrating that offensive firepower that they had showed in the first five games of the year. Ryan Cohen’s marker with 4:36 to play before halftime staked the Wolverines to a 7-5 lead, and the two teams each tacked on one more each before halftime to make it 8-6 at the break.
The front end of the third quarter went in MU’s direction as they tied the thing up at eight goals each in the first three minutes. Then, after Michigan reclaimed the lead, freshman Bobby O’Grady showed a little more of that scoring touch he has had in the early goings of the season to fire one in while MU had a two-man advantage to tie the game at 9-9 with exactly eight minutes left in the quarter.
And then the Wolverines scored three more times before the period ended. Not great! Still only 12-9 after 45 minutes, though, and that’s still a pretty winnable game against a top 20 opponent.
Sadly, Marquette couldn’t get anything together in the fourth quarter. O’Grady managed a goal, the only goal of the fourth quarter in fact, but it came way too late for the Golden Eagles. Had MU’s 10th goal of the game come in the first few minutes of the quarter, maybe things go differently. Instead, though, O’Grady scored with just 3:46 to play. 12-10 Michigan, and when the Wolverines pulled up the ensuing face off, that was pretty much it for Marquette, although they did have one final possession with two minutes to go.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com?
Onwards to the next one....
Game #5: vs Detroit Mercy Titans (0-3)
Date: Saturday, March 5, 2022
Time: 11am Central
Location: Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble, Valley Fields, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: Marquette Athletics on YouTube
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax
Marquette is 7-1 all time against Detroit Mercy. The Golden Eagles started off this series with the first ever home game in program history back in 2013, and that was the start of six straight wins by Marquette as well. UDM won the last time these two teams met in Milwaukee, while MU won the most recent meeting back in 2020.
As you can see, the Titans are winless on the season so far. Part of that is a trap of their own choosing, as they started off the year with three straight teams that were either earning votes or were actually ranked in the Inside Lacrosse top 20. 18-7 vs RV Ohio State, 21-5 vs then-#20 Michigan, 24-2 vs then-#4 Notre Dame. So they’re not a top 20 caliber team. It takes a lot to be a top 20 caliber team, especially when there’s only 70-ish Division 1 teams in the first place. I can’t even say that going backwards on the goals scored in a game thing or the goals allowed thing is an actual problem for UDM. Their opponents have been getting more and more difficult in their first three games, so of course things on both ends have gotten progressively more difficult as well.
A weird thing that Marquette will have to watch out for in this game: Detroit Mercy is 0-for-9 on the power play this season. Again: they were playing three really good teams to start the season, so each individual oh-fer isn’t a surprise. But they are going to score a PP goal at some point this season, and Marquette’s probably going to allow a penalty at some point on Saturday.
Brett Erskine is the top name on the scouting report for Marquette. He’s got four goals so far this season, and he has scored in every single game for the Titans. Those four strikes give him the team high in that category as well as in points. Luke Majick is #2 in both departments, but he gets there off a hat trick against Ohio State and no points since. He does lead the team in shots with 18 though, so it’s clear that the Titans are going to try to run some offense for him.
Long stick midfielder Paul Manuszak might be a problem for MU’s offense. He’s got six caused turnovers on the year after just three games, twice as many as anyone else on the roster. He also has 16 ground balls, which is more than twice as many as the next best guy.
It looks like the goaltending will be handled by Jakob Hemme. If Detroit Mercy didn’t swap Hemme out during any of the first three games as they deteriorated into blowouts, then they’re not taking his starting job in Game #4. His save percentage of .462 is actually pretty good given the 63-14 goal differential that the team has. Generally speaking, that sounds an awful lot like Hemme is better than the defense in front of him, so Marquette might need to be careful with picking their lanes to shoot. With that said, there are probably going to be lots of lanes to choose from, as the defense in front of Hemme is requiring Hemme to make 18 saves per game on average.