The last time we saw Marquette men’s lacrosse, they were busy getting their heads caved in by a tippy top ranked Notre Dame team. The Irish started out the game with a 5-0 lead and were up 9-2 at the end of the first quarter. These things happen, especially when you’re playing against a national championship contender looking to start out the season strong.
It’s also not the kind of thing you want to have happen when you’re trying to bounce back from your first loss of the season, a narrow 18-16 defeat on the road against Utah. You’d like to be a little bit more competitive coming out of a loss, but sometimes the universe just works against you, I guess. That sends us along to Marquette’s fourth game of the season, where the Golden Eagles will be back to where they were on February 11th: Away from Milwaukee and playing a team that’s earning top 20 votes but isn’t ranked. Perhaps there are lessons to be learned from the Notre Dame game that can be used when venturing into the wild Receiving Votes area of the Inside Lacrosse media poll.
One question that looms for Marquette is the status of attackman Devon Cowan. After putting up 29 points in just 11 games in 2022 because of an injury, the New Jersey product has yet to get on the field for the Golden Eagles in 2023. That’s not great, because he was expected to be a notable contributor on this year’s offensive unit. MU hasn’t exactly been coming up short in the scoring department this season, even getting to 10 goals against Notre Dame. Still, the more threats you have on the field, the easier it is to put the ball in the net, and when you have a threat like Bobby O’Grady, you want to make it as hard to defend him as possible.
One last note: This game is not in Milwaukee, nor is it in Ann Arbor. Marquette is headed down to Florida, specifically the Paradise Coast Sports Complex in Naples, which is a little bit south of Fort Myers on the southwestern edge of the state. It’s part of an event named Southwest Florida Shootout, and MU’s game will be the front end of a doubleheader with #1 Virginia and #8 Ohio State clashing in the later game.
Game #4: vs RV Michigan Wolverines (2-1)
Date: Saturday, February 25, 2023
Time: 2pm Central
Location: Paradise Coast Sports Complex, Naples, Florida
Streaming: BTN+, which means you need a subscription
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax
Marquette is 1-3 all time against Michigan. The win came in the second meeting back in 2019, and after a COVID break in 2021, the series restarted last year in Milwaukee with a 12-10 victory by the #16 ranked Wolverines.
The Wolverines started off their season with a 17-13 loss on the road against Virginia, the #1 team in the country, and that was a one goal game when the fourth quarter started. They squeaked out an 11-10 win over Hofstra in their home opener last Saturday, and then midweek before heading to Florida, Michigan more than doubled up Canisius, 19-8, in Ann Arbor. Michigan was trailing Hofstra when the fourth quarter started, 9-8, and they let the Pride tie it up at 10 with four minutes to go before throwing in the winner with less than a minute to go.
Does that mean that Michigan has a weird tendency to play close games? Does that tell us that both Hofstra and Michigan are pretty good lacrosse teams? The Inside Lacrosse media poll doesn’t seem to think so this week, so we’re left to puzzle that through a little bit. We can’t even use the Big Ten preseason poll as some measure of explanation as to what Michigan is as the Wolverines were picked to finish last. The other teams in the league are currently #8, #9, #14, #16, and also receiving votes in the newest top 20 poll, so to a certain extent, Marquette and Michigan scheduling this game is a lot like scheduling their counterpart in the other league.
Michael Boehm is leading a trio of gentlemen with double digit points so far this season for Michigan. He’s got six goals and a team high eight assists to get a team high in points with 14. Josh Zawada and Ryan Cohen both have a team high seven goals, but Zawada has six helpers to land a point behind Boehm in that column. Cohen’s not exactly slacking off, as he has four assists so far, and we haven’t even mentioned Jacob Jackson who has six goals through Michigan’s first three games. They’ve got options is the thing to understand here, and they’ve got 10 more guys who have tallied at least once this year.
We do have some questions as to who will be in net for Michigan. Shane Carr started the first two games of the year, but left the Hofstra game after 20 minutes. Freshman Hunter Taylor took his place for the remainder and then started the Canisius game before giving way to Mac Fotiades for the final 12 minutes after the Wolverines went up 15-4. Carr was just fine against #1 Virginia, making nine saves while giving up 17 goals, and no that doesn’t sound good, but also Michigan had a chance to win that game. He gave up five goals on seven shots on goal against Hofstra, so you understand why the change was made. You also understand why head coach went with Taylor against Canisius, because when a guy hops off the bench and makes 10 saves and you win a nailbiter, you give him another go. I would presume that Taylor will be the guy again, but who can say for sure?