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RV Marquette Men’s Lacrosse Preview: vs #10 Georgetown

The Golden Eagles have to pick up the pieces after Tuesday and find a way to win at home against a top 10 opponent.

NCAA Basketball: Marquette at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, so here’s where we are.

Marquette men’s lacrosse is 6-5 on the year after Tuesday’s loss to #6 Cornell. This does not matter too much. What does matter is their 1-1 record in Big East play and the three remaining games in league action.

Georgetown is in first place in the Big East at 2-0, St. John’s is 0-2 after two contests and sits in last place. Everyone else — Villanova, Marquette, Denver, and Providence — are all 1-1. The top four teams in the standings qualify for the Big East tournament, while the last two teams see their season come to an end after their regular season finale. With everyone having to play three more games, there’s a lot of motion that can still happen.

However, by losing to Providence, Marquette put themselves into a troublesome position. Their remaining games are, in order:

  • at home against #10 Georgetown (6-3)
  • on the road against #13 Villanova (8-3)
  • at home against #12 Denver (5-4)

Georgetown’s losses this season, using their current IL top 20 rankings: #1 Notre Dame, #7 Johns Hopkins, #18 Penn

Villanova’s losses this season: #12 Denver, Receiving Votes Yale, RV Brown

Denver’s losses this season: #3 Duke, #10 Georgetown, RV Yale... and Air Force

Does it sound like Marquette can get at least one win against these three teams? Because that’s what it’s going to take to get into the Big East tournament. Yes, Marquette beat Penn State, a squad that’s even now ranked #5 in the country, and yes, they beat Michigan, a team that’s now ranked #15. These are good things.

But Marquette has also been wildly inconsistent this season, looking kind of bad for the first half against Detroit Mercy and kind of forgetting to keep lacrosse-ing against St. Bonaventure as they scraped out a 9-5 win AND going to sleep for nine minutes against Bellarmine that left them in a 10-4 hole that they couldn’t scrape out of by the final horn.

If MU turns in the full 60 minute performance that they had against Penn State or Michigan against any one of the three teams left on their schedule, they’re looking pretty good at getting into the conference tournament. But because of the Providence loss — where they got kicked in the face in the first quarter and trailed 7-2 early in the second — the Golden Eagles now have to turn in that full 60 minute performance at least once if they want to be in the Big East semifinals.

It would be really neat if Marquette can figure out how to do that, as the tournament is being held in Milwaukee this year. Playing a home game with a spot in the title game on the line, or if things work out, playing a home game with a spot in the NCAA tournament on the line? That would be really cool to see for head coach Andrew Stimmel and his squad. But they have to something really hard to make that happen, and hopefully they can shake off Tuesday’s awful outing against Cornell and get the win they need at home this weekend.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: This game will be the back end of a doubleheader with the women’s lacrosse team. Meredith Black’s squad is 12-1 on the season right now and earning votes in the IWLCA/ILWomen top 25 poll for the first time in program history. They’ll be hosting #24 Connecticut with an 11am Central start time in the Valley, so come on down early and bring a book to tide you over between contests.

Big East Game #3: vs #10 Georgetown Hoyas (6-3, 2-0 Big East)

Date: Saturday, April 15, 2023
Time: 2:30pm Central
Location: Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble, Valley Fields, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: FloSports
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

Marquette is 5-7 all time against Georgetown. After a 1-3 start against the Hoyas, the Golden Eagles ripped off four straight wins between 2016 and 2019, winning by precisely one goal each time, including an overtime victory over a ranked GU team in Milwaukee in 2018. Since then, however, it’s been all Georgetown, including a 15-5 contest in the Big East tournament semifinals a year ago in the most recent meeting.

The number 3 was a big deal for Georgetown in the early goings of this season. They started off the year as the preseason #3 team in the country in the Inside Lacrosse top 20..... and they lost their first three games of the season. They gave up five goals in the fourth quarter to lose 13-12 to an unranked Johns Hopkins team on the road in their opener, then fell 9-7 and 15-8 at home to then-#10 Penn and then-#2 Notre Dame respectively. Losing to ranked teams isn’t what you want, but I would imagine that tallying just 15 goals in the two games after losing to Hopkins in the opener was a bigger concern for head coach Kevin Warne.

Since then, though, things have turned around. After the three losses knocked the Hoyas out of the top 20, they got their first win of the season by beating then-#5 Princeton 13-10 in New Jersey. They haven’t lost since, and have ascended back to #10 in the poll even though they have just one other ranked win along the way. That lone win was a pretty big one for them in terms of the Big East standings, as they knocked of then-#16 Denver 13-6 at home. That was their league opener, and they held off Providence, 13-11, last time out. The Hoyas were up 11-4 just a few minutes into the third quarter in that one, but found themselves up just two with a shade under five minutes to play at Cooper Field. That ended up being the final margin as they escaped after scoring just one goal in the final 21 minutes.

Syracuse grad transfer — yes, a Syracuse grad wearing a Georgetown uniform, cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria — Tucker Dordevic is powering the GU offense. He’s got 28 goals in just nine games this year, and I am told averaging more than a hat trick per game is pretty good. Dordevic also has six assists to get him to a team high 34 points, so MU’s defenders have to be wary of what’s going on around him as well. Brian Minicus, a grad transfer from Colgate, is #2 on the points chart at 27 on the year. Yes, their second best points guy has fewer points than Dordevic has goals. In any case, Minicus is sharing the #2 spot in goals with Graham Bundy, Jr., at 17, and he’s tied with Jacob Kelly — a North Carolina grad transfer — for the team lead in assists with 10.

Guys, I don’t know about you, but I think I figured out why Georgetown’s offense might have been a little bit shaky to start the year. Nothing against these guys or Coach Warne, but relying on three guys who haven’t played with each other or anyone else on your roster definitely feels like it might have caused a teeny bit of dysfunction to start the campaign.

Michael Scharfenberger has been Georgetown’s primary goalie this season, playing over 340 of the season’s 540 minutes so far. He’s only started six games however, with the other three nods going to Danny Hincks. It’s worth noting that Scharfenberger played the first 45 minutes against Providence last time out, so that game was 12-8 when he left it in Hincks’ care. Scharfenberger has the better goals-against average, 10.41 to 12.12, in nearly twice as many minutes played, but Hincks has the better saver percentage, 51.3% to 45.5%. If we presume that Warne made a tactical decision with his goalies last against PC, it feels like Marquette can have a chance to score goals on Scharfenberger if they pour on the pressure. If it was something else that led to the change — and Scharfenberger jogged off the field without difficulty at the end of the third quarter — then maybe MU has to take their swings on Hincks.