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Marquette Men’s Lacrosse Preview: at #3 Notre Dame

The 1-1 Golden Eagles head to South Bend for the season opener for the Fighting Irish.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Navy Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

We head into the third game of the season for Marquette men’s lacrosse wondering if head coach Andrew Stimmel has made a permanent change to his lineup or if he has merely thrown a curveball for 25 minutes.

Last Saturday, Marquette fell behind Utah 12-9 in the first five minutes of the third quarter after trailing 10-8 at halftime. That’s when Stimmel pulled the trigger on swapping out starting goalie Michael Allieri, who had given up those 12 markers to the Utes and made just three saves in 34 minutes. Freshman Lucas Lawas entered the game in relief.... and he didn’t have much luck against the Utah attack either. MU didn’t allow a goal for nearly seven minutes after he entered the game, but Lawas let in three in the final 3:30 of the quarter without making a save.

It was 15-13 heading to the fourth after Marquette had briefly tied the game up at 12 thanks to holding the Utah offense scoreless... and that’s when Lawas propped up the Golden Eagles. He allowed a goal on Utah’s second shot of the quarter.... but then successfully fended off seven straight shots on goal. Lawas did everything he could to give the Golden Eagles a chance to rally for nearly 12 straight minutes..... so it’s not his fault that the offense couldn’t muster a goal to chip into the 16-13 margin across that time. Does the game turn out differently if the offense finds a way into the net on the other end? Maybe, maybe not, but given that the offense came alive in the final two minutes to very much put the outcome in doubt with a minute to go.... it’s easy to draw a line from A to B here.

With that in mind, and this is the question that Stimmel and his staff has to ask, how much of the responsibility for the loss has to go to Allieri letting in 12 goals to start with? Did Lawas just catch fire for 10-plus minutes against the Utes? Is Allieri the better option overall, or did Lawas prove that he deserves the job, particularly as Marquette plays a national championship contender in their next game? How much of all of this rests on the offense, who committed five turnovers and mustered just three shots — all of those in a 30 second stretch on one possession — while Lawas was building a wall on the other end of the field?

This is why Stimmel, and to a lesser extent assistants Jake Richard and Bo Lori, get paid the big bucks: To make the hard decisions about their roster. We’ll see what they come up with for Wednesday afternoon as they attempt to solve the riddle of an opponent that the Golden Eagles have never defeated.

Game #3: at #3 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (0-0)

Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2023
Time: 4pm Central
Location: Arlotta Stadium, Notre Dame, Indiana
Streaming: ACC Network Extra
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

Marquette is 0-10 all time against Notre Dame. The two sides have met in every season of Marquette’s program with the exception of the COVID stopped 2020 campaign, and they picked up the spare meeting in the 2017 NCAA tournament. The 2016, 2017, and 2018 meetings were all one goal games, with the 2016 version going to overtime to mark the closest that the Golden Eagles have gotten to defeating the Fighting Irish. ND took last year’s meeting 18-8 at Valley Fields.

After going 8-4 last year and winning a share of the ACC regular season title at 5-1 in the league, Notre Dame did not qualify for the NCAA tournament. That’s how it goes, even though they were ranked #6 in the country when they beat #9 Duke in their final regular season game. The Irish won six straight to end the year, but at the end of the day, that wasn’t enough for postseason glory.

Here in 2023, Notre Dame has already bathed themselves in preseason glory. They started off the year ranked #5 in the country in the preseason Inside Lacrosse media poll, doing absolutely nothing since that poll was released, and then rising to #3 in the country in the first in-season edition of the IL poll because other teams — specifically Maryland and Georgetown — lost one game. The Irish were picked to finish second in the ACC behind national preseason #2 Virginia, and ahead of national preseason top 20 squads Duke and North Carolina.

Three Notre Dame players earned preseason all-ACC honors from the league. Attacker Pat Kavanagh is the name you’re most likely to hear on Wednesday afternoon, as he returns to the Irish lineup after posting a team high 64 points last year, nearly twice as many as any other ND player and actually at least twice as many as any ND player not biologically related to Pat himself. Shouts to Chris Kavanagh, ND’s #2 scorer a year ago.... who also returns after scoring 22 goals and 11 assists as a freshman in 2022.

Midfielder Eric Dobson is the second of the three preseason honorees, and he was Notre Dame’s #3 scorer last season. In 11 games, he had 22 goals, tied with Chris Kavanagh for second best on the team behind Pat, and added 10 assists, too. The group of honorees wraps up with goalie Liam Entenmann, who played all but 41 minutes in net last season. He wrapped up the year allowing 10.50 goals per 60 minutes and stopping 57% of shots on goal.