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Marquette Men’s Lacrosse Preview: at Utah

The Golden Eagles head out to the mountains for the first of four straight road games.

NCAA Football: Arizona State at Utah
That’s Swoop, the Utah mascot.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Marquette men’s lacrosse is 1-0, and I don’t know if we know anything new about the team.

Never complain about being 1-0, that’s the rule, and that rule goes right next to “Never complain about being undefeated.” But at the end of the day, Marquette rolled 17-2 over a team playing their first game in Division 1 after making a Division 2 NCAA tournament appearance last season.... but also losing some pretty notable pieces from that roster. Did that tell us anything other than “Marquette is definitely better than a team picked to finish ninth in the 10 team ASUN”? Probably not, but that’s something that I feel that we all thought in the first place. And heck, we didn’t even see fully powered Marquette in the opener against Lindenwood, as attackman Devon Cowan did not play.

So now Marquette takes their act on the road, and they go from the back end of the ASUN preseason poll to the very top of it and then beyond it. One game at a time, etc., etc., of course, but here’s what’s up in MU’s next three games, all of which are away from Milwaukee:

  • Receiving votes in the preseason Inside Lacrosse top 20 poll, picked to win the ASUN
  • Preseason #5
  • Receiving votes in the preseason Inside Lacrosse top 20 poll.... but picked to finish last in the Big Ten

Yeah! It’s a lot! We’re going to learn an awful lot about what Marquette may or may not be this season over the next 15 days. Are they a team that can make noise in the Big East? Are they a team that’s highly underrated nationally speaking right now? Is there a ceiling to what Marquette can accomplish this season, as there’s nothing really wrong with just not being a top 20 team?

Those answers and more await us, and we’ll get our first look at what those answers might just be on Saturday afternoon.

Game #2: at RV Utah Utes (0-1)

Date: Saturday, February 11, 2023
Time: 1pm Central
Location: Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah
Streaming: Pac 12 Network Plus, which may or may not be free.
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

Marquette is 0-1 all time against Utah. The first ever meeting came last season, with the Utes taking a 12-11 victory in Milwaukee after opening up a 4-1 lead.

So you’re probably looking at that 0-1 record and saying “hey, wait a minute, it’s been a week since the season started, how the hey is Utah still earning votes if they lost their opener?” Well, the answer is two-fold, although one fold is bigger than the other. The bigger fold is the fact that Inside Lacrosse didn’t update their media poll after the opening weekend of the season. I respect that relative to the idea of “one weekend of games shouldn’t change things that much” as a base concept, but also there were only 12 games on Saturday and another three on Sunday. Yeah, it’s not a gigantic sport, but that’s only 30 teams in action, less than half of the teams participating at the D1 level. Seems unfair to give the inactive teams the benefit of being inactive in a new poll, y’know?

The other fold is Utah’s loss was to a ranked team. I don’t know if you want to ding them for losing to a team that’s in the top 20.... although it was a 12-4 loss to #17 Denver. It was a 5-3 game at the half and 6-4 with nine minutes left in the third, but the Utes scored just one goal after halftime and none in the fourth quarter. Not a great 60 minute performance, but it’s not like the play was completely lopsided, as the Pioneers only outshot the Utes 36-34 at the final horn.

After going 10-4 last season, including a perfect 5-0 record in the ASUN (yes, Utah is in a conference that is technically named “Atlantic Sun”, that’s lacrosse for you, Denver is in the Big East, it is what it is), the Utes are the favorite in the ASUN again this season. It’s a 10 team league this year with Lindenwood and Queens joining Division 1, and it was a tight vote at the top of the chart. Utah snagged three first place votes and 92 points, but Jacksonville had four first place votes and 90 points while Robert Morris grabbed the three remaining top votes to get to 85 points. Think of it this way: The culmination of the ASUN coaches have Utah as the top team, but the Inside Lacrosse poll has Jacksonville ranked #18 in the country to start the year. I don’t know what that says about either set of voters, but it definitely says something positive about the Utes.

Utah has one guy at each position on the preseason all-ASUN team. Attacker Tyler Bradbury was the ASUN Offensive Player of the Year last year after setting program records with 62 points and 33 assists. Midfielder Josh Rose was a all-conference Second Team guy last season with 21 points and 42 ground balls, and was named Preseason Midfielder of the Year this spring. Samuel Cambere matched Rose with the Defensive Player version of the preseason honors, and he had 28 caused turnovers while picking up 66 ground balls and tallying 12 points on the offensive end, too.

Against Denver, both Bradbury and Rose were held scoreless on three shots, all by Bradbury, although Bradbury did tally three assists in the game. Junior Jordan Hyde accounted for three of Utah’s four goals in the game, and he tied with Ryan Stines for the team high in shots. That game was the collegiate debut for goalie Colin Lenskold, and he made eight saves against the Pioneer offense. Head coach Andrew McMinn has five netminders on his roster, so we’ll see if it’ll be Lenskold again on Saturday afternoon.