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Marquette Men’s Lacrosse Preview: vs Lindenwood

The Golden Eagles open up 2023 by hosting a team making their Division 1 debut.

It’s a lion.
Lindenwood Lions, get it
Photo by RAUL ARBOLEDA/AFP via Getty Images

It is once again time for Marquette men’s lacrosse.

The Golden Eagles start off the 11th season of lacrosse in Milwaukee on Saturday, and what better day to do it than on National Marquette Day??!? Marquette will be looking to improve on last year’s 4-11 record that included a 2-3 mark in Big East play. That was good enough to get Marquette into the four team Big East tournament, but that led to a 15-5 loss to Georgetown to end the 2022 campaign.

If you haven’t dug deep on the Golden Eagles yet this season, I highly recommend our season preview series, not to mention the official previews for the offensive and defensive units. The big takeaways from all of it is Marquette is returning a lot of guys who played notable roles last season on both offense and defense. There is, however, a catch to that.

The catch is that a lot of guys played pretty notable roles on the team last season because Marquette had a lot of injuries. There was a constant flow of guys in and out of the lineup on both sides of the ball, and I don’t think it’s unfair to say that the uncertainty as to who was going to be playing from week to week contributed to that 4-11 record. If nothing else, MU’s inability to build continuity and familiarity within a unit on the field was a major problem for the squad in 2022.

If Marquette can find continuity in their lineup this season, the ceiling is incredibly high. Sophomore Bobby O’Grady is already one of the best scorers in program (yes, program) history and fellow attackman Devon Cown ain’t too bad himself. Mason Woodward has been one of the best defenders in the Big East almost from the moment that he stepped onto campus, and fellow close defender Zach Granger has been a stalwart on that end of the field for several seasons. Michael Allieri returns in net after starting every game at goalie last season for Marquette, and the Golden Eagles appear to have multiple options to take faceoffs this season.

Can all of this translate into a winning record this year? One game at a time....

Game #1: vs Lindenwood Lions (0-0)

Date: Saturday, February 4, 2023
Time: 11am Central
Location: Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble, Valley Fields, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: FloSports, with Matt Menzl on the call
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

This is the first ever meeting between Marquette and Lindenwood. That’s because this is Lindenwood’s first ever Division 1 game. The Lions made their NCAA debut in Division 2 in 2012, and are coming off a 12-4 season, their fourth straight full season with at least 10 wins, where they won a conference tournament championship and qualified for the NCAA tournament.

This year is different, and they are picked to finish ninth in the 10 team ASun conference. To be clear, this means that Lindenwood was picked to finish in front of fellow D1 debutante Queens. They have lost their leading scorer from last season, but #2 points man Cam Smith returns after posting 27 goals and a team high 25 assists last season. Unfortunately, Smith is the only one of the top five guys in the points column coming back for 2023, with Adrian Thompson’s 25 points on 12 goals and 13 assists coming in as the second best returning offensive option for the Lions.

Lindenwood also returns just three of the nine men who had at least 25 ground balls last season, which probably isn’t ideal relative to the idea of team continuity and chemistry while jumping up to Division 1. One of the three is faceoff man Jony Major, who won just over 50% of his draws last season. Another one in the trio is defender Brian Kallberg who had 25 ground balls to go with his team high 27 caused turnovers last season.

The Lions are also looking at replacing goalie Kyle Hebert, who played over 800 minutes last season, posting a goals-against average of 7.88 and stopping 58% of shots on cage. That’s some pretty good netminding that they’re losing, and Blake Nolan is the top returning option based on last year. Nolan started two games and played in two more for a total of 97 minutes in 2022. His stats in that time are solid: 9.90 goals-against average and 48% save percentage. Is he ready to face Division 1 offenses or will 10th year head coach Jim Lange be looking at one of the other four goalies on the roster to backstop the defense?