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RV Marquette Men’s Lacrosse Preview: vs St. Bonaventure

The Golden Eagles take to the field in the Valley with an eye on backing up the biggest win of Andrew Stimmel’s tenure as head coach.

St Bonaventure v Xavier Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Last Saturday, Marquette men’s lacrosse did something they hadn’t yet done since Andrew Stimmel took over as head coach: They beat a ranked team. Heck, they didn’t just beat a ranked team, they picked up a win over a top five team, besting #5 Penn State. That was Marquette’s first win as a program, not just under Stimmel, over a top 10 or top 5 ranked team since they beat #4 Ohio State in March 2018.

Now comes the hard part.

Marquette has to prove that they’re that kind of ballclub.

We talked about it last week heading into the Penn State game, Marquette’s performances this season had been wildly all over the map this season. They were not just inconsistent relative to perceived opponent strength and week to week, they were inconsistent within individual games. In order to beat a top five team, or heck, even just a team coming off wins against three ranked opponents like PSU was at the time, you have to play 60 minutes of consistent lacrosse. Not even consistently great lacrosse or a consistent production of your best possible lacrosse, just consistent play without let up.

And they did that. Time after time after time out on Long Island, Marquette made play after play after play all over the field to show that they deserved to beat the #5 team in the country.

Now they have to play another 60 minutes of lacrosse against a different team and keep that same kind of persistent performance. You know what it takes to bow up and show the best teams in the country that you have what it takes to beat them. Now you have to show the top 20 poll voters that it wasn’t just 60 minutes in Levittown that went in your favor. You have to do it again, this time against a team that’s not top 10 in the country, nowhere close to it in fact.

That’s the hard part.

By the way: We’re at the midpoint of the season. Seven games in, seven games to go. This will be Marquette’s second to last non-conference game. Big East action starts next Saturday in Rhode Island, and that’ll be the first of four games in a 15 day stretch for the Golden Eagles. Seven games to go, less than five weeks worth of action left, and then the Big East tournament comes to Milwaukee. It’s going to be over before you realize it, which means it’s a perfect time to push forward with all cylinders firing.

Game #8: vs St. Bonaventure Bonnies (1-7)

Date: Saturday, March 25, 2023
Time: Noon Central
Location: Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble, Valley Fields, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: FloSports, with Scott Sudikoff and Eric Simon calling the action
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

This is the first ever meeting between Marquette and St. Bonaventure. Part of that is just because SBU has only had a team since 2019 and then also there was that whole “Dumbest Pandemic Of Our Lifetime” going on for a minute.

With four full time members sporting men’s lacrosse teams, the Atlantic 10 is sponsoring the sport for first time this season. Unfortunately for St. Bonaventure, that means they’re picked to finish last in the six team conference this season. The Bonnies went 11-4 overall last season and 5-1 in MAAC play, which gave them a regular season championship.... but they lost six guys to the NLL draft/being seniors, and that’s not good for your entire outlook. Worse, they picked up just seven points in the poll where five points would have meant everyone picked them to finish last.

So far this season, it appears that the Bonnies are, unfortunately, on track to hold up to that last place prediction. Their only win through eight games is a 15-9 decision over VMI. That came after they started out the year 0-3, including a loss to the Bellarmine team that beat Marquette. Since the win over the Keydets, they’ve dropped four straight, and they haven’t scored more than six goals in any of them, including Tuesday’s 22-6 loss at Syracuse. “Can they get to double digits” is weirdly a solid benchmark for what’s going on with St. Bonaventure. They only got to 10 against Bellarmine by scoring the final two goals of the game, then only hit 10 and then 11 with less than three minutes to go against Binghamton and that was to force overtime where they eventually lost. Those are the only two times that they’ve scored seven or more goals in a loss, and the win over VMI is the only time they’ve scored more than 11 in a game.

St. Bonaventure has a pair of double digit goal scorers, and thanks to eight assists from both of them, they’re over 20 points each as well. Jake Rosa is officially leading the team thanks to his 14 goals pushing him to 22 points, but Sean Westley is right on his heels with 12 goals and eight points. Those two guys have accounted for 100 of SBU’s 273 shots on the season, so if MU can deter them and not give them clean looks at the net, that’s going to go a long way to disrupting their offense. Mark Belles is the only other double digit point guy on the squad so far this year, getting five goals and five assists to total up 10 points.

Cristofero Cucciuffo has been the primary netminder for St. Bonaventure this season, playing all 60 minutes in five of their games and starting each of the last five. It’s, uh, not going super well as you’d imagine from that 1-7 team record. Cucciuffo is letting in just over 14 goals per 60 minutes of action and he’s only stopping 46% of shots on goal. That’s still a better option than Conan Lynch, who has made stops on 39% of shots on goal in 90 minutes of action this year, so I guess that’s a “take what you can get” situation for head coach Randy Mearns.