As we talked about in the recap of Marquette men’s lacrosse’s season opening win over Air Force, I didn’t actually watch much of it. Between trying to watch the men’s basketball game and no announcers or graphics in Colorado and turning off the women’s basketball game as it started out as a disaster, I wasn’t paying close and careful attention to what Andrew Stimmel’s guys were doing with the Falcons, and then the Twitch stream died for me at halftime and never came back.
It seems, based on the 12-6 final and associated stats, that Marquette did a pretty good job executing their game plan. No one’s excited about 16 turnovers, but 1) that’s matching Air Force in the number of boo boos in the game, and 2) the Falcons were credited with causing 13 of them. Controlling a game that relatively easily by the final horn while the other team is causing almost all of your mistakes is a pretty good way to go about things. Also a great plan for a game? Winning 16 of 22 face offs, including 6-for-7 in the fourth quarter when Marquette started the period off with an 8-4 lead. That kind of thing will win you a lot of ballgames.
There’s always things to clean up, as I’m sure no one wearing a ballcap and a quarterzip on the sideline was thrilled about three failed clearances in the game, all in the first half. Two of them came in the first quarter and “we can not get the ball out of our end and do basic things early” feels like something that annoys a coach or two. But MU was a perfect 11-for-11 in the second half, even with all those AFA caused turnovers, so maybe that gets chalked up to season opening jitters.
The way that Stimmel and his staff manage Friday afternoon — and what the hell is with a 2pm Friday start, anyway? — will be interesting. Marquette has to turn around and play again on Tuesday, and if last year’s results and preseason polls are any indication, the Golden Eagles should be able to easily control this game. That should mean lots of bench minutes for everyone, but you gotta do what you gotta do to win the game, too. There’s a lot to be said for winning this game, as Stimmel has only started one of his seasons with two straight wins, and that was the first one back in 2020. A date with preseason #1 Notre Dame looms in Game #4 of the year, so hopefully Friday turns into a “let’s hammer down all of the rough edges we saw against Air Force” kind of game.
Game #2: vs Lindenwood Lions (0-0)
Date: Friday, February 9, 2024
Time: 2pm Central
Location: Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble, Valley Fields, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: FloSports, with Matt Menzl calling the action
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax
Marquette is 1-0 all time against Lindenwood. Last year’s season opener was the first ever meeting between the two sides, and it was the Lions’s first ever Division 1 game as well. Marquette won 17-2.
Last year was the first ever meeting with Lindenwood.... and this year’s game, the season opener for the Lions, will presumably be the final ever meeting with Lindenwood. On December 1st, the university announced that they are discontinuing 10 teams, including men’s lacrosse, which is a wild decision when you consider that this came in the middle of their second school year as a Division 1 entity. In any case, Lindenwood won’t even have a team next year, so yeah, probably not playing them ever again.
Seeing as that was announced in the middle of the school year and about a month before preseason practices started, I presume that the university’s decision didn’t have much of an impact on who is or is not on the Lindenwood roster this spring. Keep that in mind when I tell you that the Lions are picked to finish last in the ASUN this season, earning 12 points in the preseason poll. Yes, this is the same league where Air Force, last week’s opponent, picked up a first place vote and was picked to finish third. Lindenwood appears to be the clear choice amongst the voters to finish last, as Queens University got 22 points in the voting, and that’s a pretty healthy gap between them and Lindenwood.
The Lions do have a preseason all-ASUN player, and that’s defender Brian Kallberg. He returns here for his bonus season of eligibility after leading the ASUN in caused turnovers per game last year with two per outing. This didn’t really stop Lindenwood from getting outscored by more than five goals per game last year, but it’s still a point of danger in the defense that Marquette’s going to have to avoid.
Sophomore Flint Thielen, in addition to being an instant All-Name team guy, is Lindenwood’s leading scorer. He had 15 goals and three assists last year while starting in seven of LU’s 12 games. Adrian Thompson (7 goals, 8 assists) and Shane Egen (7 goals, 4 assists) are the only other two double digit point producers returning from last year’s team. This means that Lindenwood returns no one who tallied a point against Marquette last season, as their two goal scorers are not on this year’s roster and they didn’t register an assist on either goal. Kallberg played against Marquette though, and he had three ground balls and a caused turnover.
Marquette will presumably see the same netminder as last season, but that’s not a great thing for Lindenwood. AJ Preachuk’s only start of the year was against the Golden Eagles and he gave way to Blake Nolan from there on out, leaving just 30ish minutes of action for Preachuk in the next 11 games. Nolan’s not back this year, and freshman Oliver Vanyo is the only other goalie on the roster.