As we inch closer to the start of the Marquette men’s lacrosse season on February 4th, we keep passing notable mile markers on the path. Tuesday gave us a big one, as the Big East released the results of the preseason poll for men’s lacrosse in the league this season. YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles earned 13 points to end up picked to finish fourth in the conference in 2023. In addition to that, three players — attacker Bobby O’Grady, defender Mason Woodward, and long stick midfielder David Lamarca were named to the 14 man preseason all-Big East team.
As you can see, Georgetown was the unanimous pick to win the Big East this spring, picking up all five possible votes since coaches can not vote for their own team. The Hoyas went 5-0 in league play last season, breaking up Denver’s stranglehold on the top spot after seven straight regular season titles for the Pioneers. GU as the unanimous top pick isn’t the surprise here, it’s Georgetown head coach Kevin Warne throwing his vote to Villanova instead of Denver. That’s a shocker, because did I mention the seven straight regular season titles for DU?
Anyway, that brought the Wildcats in third place as it appears that Denver was listed second on every single ballot possible, since they have 20 points, aka 5 instances of four points for a second place vote. Villanova has 18 points right along behind them, so it seems like there’s a bit of a drop in the estimation of the top three teams in the league to the Golden Eagles. That’s not a surprise, as Villanova was picking up some votes in the preseason Inside Lacrosse media poll and Marquette was not. There also appears to be a bit of a gap between Marquette and Providence in fifth place, while St. John’s was voted last — 1 point for a fifth place vote, they have five points — on every single ballot.
Let’s turn things over to the GoMarquette.com press release on the polling, as they’re actually going to walk through why each MU player earned the honors from the rest of the league.
First, Mason Woodward, MU’s only unanimous pick for the all-conference team:
Woodward is a two-time USILA All-American on close defense and a three-time team captain. The native of Towson, Maryland was a unanimous selection on defense alongside Georgetown’s Will Bowen and Jack DiBenedetto of Denver.
Woodward has led the Golden Eagles in caused turnovers in each of his three seasons and is the program’s all-time leader in ground balls per game (4.59 per contest). He returns as the league’s leader in ground balls among non-faceoff specialists and was a first team all-conference selection in 2021 in addition to second team honors last year.
O’Grady was the league’s rookie of the year last spring and a first team all-conference selection after setting the MU single-season record with 45 goals. The native of Milton, Massachusetts scored 13 man-up goals as a true freshman and tied the BIG EAST single-game record won April 9 at St. John’s with eight scores.
Lamarca earns the first BIG EAST honor of his career as the league’s lone long-stick midfielder on the preseason team. The native of Monkton, Maryland posted 46 ground balls and caused 12 turnovers last season while playing all 15 games and making nine starts on close defense. He is the first MU LSM to earn recognition since USILA All-American Noah Richard in 2019.
The press release also notes that this is the fifth time in 10 seasons as a member of the Big East that the Golden Eagles have had at least three players on the preseason all-conference team. It’s also the first time since 2019, and MU was picked to finish second that year. Does that mean big things for Marquette this season? Well, we’ll have to wait and see, won’t we?
Back to the league poll!
Georgetown’s Graham Bundy, Jr., was named Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while teammate Will Bowen was the unanimous pick as Preseason Defensive Player of the Year. Bowen getting this nod isn’t a surprise, he was the postseason DPOY last spring, and if you return the next year, you get to be the preseason guy. No problems with that here.
Bundy was not a unanimous pick, so now I am curious how the five votes that could have gone to him went. My pick was Villanova’s Matt Campbell, largely because — wait for it — he led the Big East in points per game in 2022 and is still a Wildcat in 2023. The argument for Bundy in the Big East’s press release is... he set Georgetown’s program record for points by a midfielder. Campbell beat Bundy in goals per game (3.00 vs 2.62) and points per game (4.43 vs 4.12) last year, while Bundy held the edge in assists per game at 1.50 to 1.43 for Campbell. I’m not saying it’s not close, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t vote for the best returning scorer on your pick to win the league..... but it seems pretty clear that Matt Campbell is the best returning scorer from last season.
Here’s the whole preseason all-Big East team, with a ^ marking the unanimous picks.
JJ Sillstrop, Denver, A ^
Tucker Dordevic, Georgetown, A
TJ Haley, Georgetown, A
Bobby O’Grady, Marquette, A
Graham Bundy, Jr., Georgetown, M ^
Declan McDermott, Georgetown, M
Matt Campbell, Villanova, M ^
Jack DiBenedetto, Denver, D ^
Will Bowen, Georgetown, D ^
Mason Woodward, Marquette, D ^
Chet Comizio, Villanova, SSDM
David Lamarca, Marquette, LSM
James Reilly, Georgetown, FOS ^
Jack Thompson, Denver, GK
The Big East notes that there are 14 guys listed here because of a tie somewhere in the voting. Based on the existence of four attackers when only three are on the field at any given time, I’m guessing that’s where the tie was.
In my picks, I got 10 of the 14 correct, so that’s pretty neat. One of my misses was David Lamarca, as I went with Denver’s Malik Sparrow who was a Second Team honoree last spring. My other three misses were all Georgetown players: Tucker Dordevic, TJ Haley, and Declan McDermott. My miss on Dordevic is because he was at Syracuse last year and I didn’t bother to double check anyone for particularly notable transfers. Dordevic was a Third Team All-American last season and finished his four years in New York with 95 goals and 29 assists. Fair play to the coaches here.
Haley didn’t get onto my preseason team because while he was a Second Team attacker last season, I gave the nod to Providence’s Matt Grillo since he had more points last season than Haley. Oh well on that one, the coaches like Hoyas. I went with Providence’s Ryan Bell to fill my third midfield spot because he led the Big East in assists last season, so again, I guess trying to just fill spots with deserving guys loses out to “Yeah, but Georgetown’s good.”
Marquette’s season opens on February 4th when they host Lindenwood at Valley Fields. In addition to it being the season opener for both teams, it will be Lindenwood’s first ever game as a Division 1 team. First draw is scheduled for 11am, and yes, that is National Marquette Day if you’re looking for something to occupy you until the men’s basketball team tips off against Butler.
You can check out the Big East press release right here and the Marquette press release right here.