Marquette men’s lacrosse went 1-4 in Big East action this season, falling in consecutive weeks in overtime to three teams ranked in the top 15 of the Inside Lacrosse top 20 poll at the time. And yet, somehow, the Golden Eagles were still alive for the conference tournament after the regular season ended with a 15-14 overtime loss to #10 Denver on Friday night at Valley Fields.
What Marquette needed was a St. John’s victory over Providence in the finale for both of those squads. That would have moved both of those teams to 1-4 in the standings to create a three-way tie for fourth place. With all three teams going 1-1 against each other and 0-3 against the top three teams in the conference, it was going to create a very wild tiebreaker situation, and that was MU’s final hope for a postseason appearance.
Well, it turns out that 1) St. John’s was very game to make that happen and also 2) turns out that 0-13 coming in St. John’s might not have been a very good spot to place all of your hopes. The Johnnies went up 4-0 on the Friars in the first nine minutes, but threw that lead in the trash by the time the game got to halftime. They stayed close with Providence and even forced overtime by way of a goal with just 75 seconds left in regulation. They even had two chances to win in overtime, including the first crack at it, and they nearly snuck out the back door to a second extra session, but PC’s Matt Grillo won it with just 51 seconds left.
And so, Marquette’s season ends as Providence gets the final spot in the conference tournament at 2-3. The Golden Eagles went 6-8 this season, and that includes wins over #5 Penn State and a win over an unranked Michigan team that got better and better as the Wolverines ascended to #17 in the most recent Inside Lacrosse top 20 poll. They ended up perhaps inches away from presenting an interesting case as an at-large team to the NCAA tournament if those three overtime losses had gone the other way, but also Marquette dropped close games to #19 Utah and Bellarmine, not to mention lopsided losses to #1 Notre Dame and #6 Cornell. It doesn’t particularly matter, as MU did end up with the losses on their record, but it makes you ask questions about how exactly head coach Andrew Stimmel and his team view the season.
The Big East tournament, if you’re so inclined, will be held on Thursday, May 4th and Saturday, May 6th at Valley Fields in Milwaukee. Tickets for each day are just $5. The semifinals will start at 5:30pm Central time on Thursday with Georgetown/Providence going first, followed by Denver/Villanova. The title game is scheduled for 3:30pm Central time, and CBS Sports Network will be broadcasting all three games.
This is our farewell to men’s lacrosse for the year, which means we have to say THANK YOU to Marquette’s seniors: Max Christides, Devon Cowan, Kelan Duff, Cole Emmanuel, Zach Granger, Chris Kirschner, Logan Kreinz, Holden Patterson, Jackson Rose, Jake Stegman, Nate Surd, and Luke Williams. Some of these guys have been at Marquette for a long time, some of them are relatively recent additions. Some of these guys are regular names that we’ve talked about a lot, some of them have been background players. All of them have had a part to play in the ongoing development of the program under Andrew Stimmel’s direction as he was handed something of a program reset when he took the reins in the summer of 2019. Whether they planned to play for Stimmel when they committed to Marquette or if they bought into his plan along the way, all that matters is that these guys busted their butts on and off the field to make Marquette Men’s Lacrosse something that all MU alumni and fans could be proud of, and we tip our caps to them for all the work and hustle and sacrifice that they put into the program. We wish them nothing but the best in whatever comes next for them.