Marquette men’s lacrosse had an uneven 2023 season. I think we can say that safely. How else do you explain getting shelled by then-#2 Notre Dame and then-#7 Cornell by double digit margins, but beating then-#5 Penn State and a Michigan team that ended up winning the Big Ten tournament and reaching the NCAA tournament..... but also racking up three straight overtime losses to top 15 ranked opponents to close the season? Marquette also struggled their way to a 10-5 win over Detroit Mercy, a 9-5 win over St. Bonaventure, and ended up with an 11-10 loss at home to Bellarmine.
Uneven! Inconsistent! Whatever word you want to use that makes sense there.
The good news is that Marquette returns most of the guys from that roster, including Jake Stegman and Bobby O’Grady, who finished the year tied for the team lead in points at 49, as well as All-American defenseman Mason Woodward. They also add a top 60 prospect on attack in Carsen Brandt, who is expected to make an impact pretty much right away.
Marquette’s biggest question going into the season is who’s going to be minding the net. It would seem that Lucas Lawas would be the guy after getting the starting nod for the final three games of the season last year, but Marquette did bring in grad transfer Caleb Creasor after he played a backup role for Lehigh for the past four seasons.
I could keep going on at length about notable things about this season heading into the first game here, but that’s what our season preview series was for, y’all. Go check it out if you haven’t already.
Stat Watch: Bobby O’Grady needs one point to become Marquette’s fifth player with 100 career points.
Stat Watch #2: Jake Stegman needs two points to tie and three to pass Tanner Thomson for the 7th most points in program history. He needs four points to pass Kyle Whitlow for the 6th most.
Stat Watch #3: Will Foster needs one point for 50 in his career. He needs three points to tie and four to pass Ryan Fazio and Jordan Greenfield in a tie for the 14th most points in program history.
Stat Watch #4: Jake Stegman and Will Foster both need one goal to tie and two goals to pass Griffin Fleming for the 15th most goals in program history.
Stat Watch #5: It’s a little unlikely, but Jake Stegman needs six assists to tie and seven to pass Conor Gately’s all-time program record for assists.
Stat Watch #6: Devon Cowan needs one assist to break a tie with Tanner Thomson for the 7th most assists in program history. He needs three assists to pass Tyler Melnyk for the 6th most.
Stat Watch #7: Will Foster needs one assist to tie Kyran Clarke and Griffin Fleming for the 9th and 10th most assists in program history.
Stat Watch #8: Mason Woodward needs six ground balls to tie and seven to break Liam Byrnes’ record for career ground balls.
Game #1: at Air Force Falcons (0-0)
Date: Saturday, February 3, 2024
Time: 1pm Central
Location: Falcon Stadium, Air Force Academy, Colorado
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Line: Marquette -1.5 from our friends at Draft Kings.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax
Marquette is 2-1 all time against Air Force. The first win in Golden Eagles program history came on the road against the Falcons on March 2, 2013, but the Falcons won the most recent encounter, which was in 2022 in Milwaukee.
Air Force is coming off an 11-6 season a year ago with a 7-2 mark in ASUN action. No, don’t think very hard about the fact that the military academy in Colorado is in the conference that used to be named Atlantic Sun. They ended their regular season with three straight wins, including a road victory against then-#16 Jacksonville, before being bounced from the conference tournament in the championship game to top seeded Utah.
This year, the Falcons are picked to finish third in the ASUN, but they did get a first place vote and were just two points behind #2 Jacksonville along the way. Two Air Force players made the preseason all-conference team in defenseman Chris Bardak and midfielder Aidan Tolen. Bardak was a First Team honoree last season after leading the Falcons in caused turnovers and ground balls. Tolen was also a First Teamer last year, and put up 25 goals and six assists in 14 games with 10 starts.
Air Force is going to be reconfiguring their offense after losing Brandon Dodd and Ethan Grandolfo from last year’s roster. Dodd had 75 points to lead the team on 41 goals and 34 assists, which is a huge loss no matter how you slice it, while Grandolfo contributed 33 goals and 11 assists. They’ll also be looking for a new starting netminder after Jason Rose played over 900 minutes last year. Quinn Richards would presumably be the answer there after appearing in 12 games last season, but he only tallied 85 minutes worth of action.