Marquette Wire

Thomson brothers work through injuries together

Tanner+Thomson+scored+six+goals+in+Marquette%27s+victory+against+St.+John%27s+last+season.+He+will+redshirt+the+2018+season.
Tanner Thomson scored six goals in Marquette's victory against St. John's last season. He will redshirt the 2018 season.

Tanner Thomson scored six goals in Marquette's victory against St. John's last season. He will redshirt the 2018 season.

Photo by Wire Stock Photo

Photo by Wire Stock Photo

Tanner Thomson scored six goals in Marquette's victory against St. John's last season. He will redshirt the 2018 season.

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Keaton and Tanner Thomson put on the Marquette men’s lacrosse jerseys for the first time this fall season, but now the brothers wear polo shirts instead because of injuries.

Without the brothers’ scoring output and presence on the field, Marquette’s offense has suffered. The Golden Eagles rank 59th out of 69 Division I teams in goals per game, with 8.13 goals per game.

Tanner, a senior midfielder, was the team’s leading scorer before getting injured last fall and deciding to redshirt. Meanwhile, his freshman brother Keaton made three starts as an attackman before suffering his own injury.

“It’s tough to watch for sure,” Tanner said. “I want to get out there and contribute as much as I can, but I guess all you can do is practice and help the scout (team) out.”

Keaton has focused more on recovery than practice to avoid re-aggravating an injury that has kept him out of action since the Bellarmine game in early March.

“It sucks, but you don’t want to come back early and then be out even longer again, so you’ve just got to take your time with recovery and listen to our trainers and coaches,” Keaton said.

Meanwhile, Amplo said he views it as an opportunity for the brothers to use their leadership in more of a coaching role.

“Honestly, he acts like a coach on game day. This has become his team, but it’s hard to say that because he doesn’t play on game day,” Amplo said. “He’s got this ownership of this program and he really wants it to do great things.”

Sibling relationships are a hallmark of Marquette lacrosse’s culture. Nick and BJ Grill, Jake and Noah Richard and Blaine and Griffin Fleming, and Noah and Aaron Joseph are the other four siblings to play together under Amplo.

“I’m proud to say we’ve been blessed with a number of younger siblings who decide to play here,” Amplo said. “That’s a sign that Marquette’s doing some things right. People trust us with the development of their sons and younger brothers as well.”

Keaton learned a lot from his older brother after also playing together in high school, when they starred at St. Michael’s College School in Toronto. When he arrived in the United States, he had a a familiar face to practice with.

“It definitely helps to have a senior brother, especially me as a freshman,” Keaton said. “It’s definitely opened up a path for me, and it’s worked out well. This experience was completely different, coming into a different country, not knowing too many people, and just having each other to lean on.”

Tanner also says that it’s fun to play with his brother in practice and enjoys having him on campus.

“The whole point is to have fun at the end of the day and it just helps a lot having him around,” Tanner said.

Keaton was starting to make inroads with his adjustment to the college game before the injury. He scored against Ohio State and recorded an assist in the loss to Bellarmine two days later. Keaton developed his confidence on offense much sooner than Tanner, who played just one game during his freshman season. Tanner did not start to register high point totals until his sophomore and junior season, scoring 49 goals in the two-year span.

The brothers know each others’ tendencies well, which makes for occasionally chippy practice sessions when both are healthy.

“We’re definitely a lot harder on each other than we are with the other guys on the team, but it’s always been like that,” Keaton said. “It’s for the better.”

“We push each other a little bit more than most people do,” Tanner said.

The brothers will have to push each other and Marquette’s offense more in order for the Golden Eagles to return to the NCAA Tournament. Marquette has started BIG EAST play going 1-1 after an overtime win against Georgetown and a five-goal loss to No.8 Villanova.

While having the Thomson brothers on the sidelines hurts Marquette’s offensive output, it’s only temporary. Once they are back wearing jerseys instead of polo shirts, the Thomson brothers know their long-built chemistry will play out on the Valley Fields turf.

“Having (Keaton) at Marquette is a little piece of home in Milwaukee which is very cool,” Tanner said. “And then having him on the field is even better because as we’re playing, I know exactly who I’m looking for.”

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