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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

SEASON PREVIEW: Men’s lacrosse looking to bounce back in 2023

(Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Injuries plagued the Marquette men’s lacrosse team last season as it went 4-11 and 2-3 in Big East play.

“We’re not perfectly healthy. I don’t think anybody is. But, I think we’re in a good spot,” head coach Andrew Stimmel said. “You go through years that you have bad luck. You hope you have a little bit better luck this year.”

Graduate student Zach Granger said that the injuries opened up a path for younger players to get game experience.

Game experience is by far the best thing,” Granger said. “Practice is obviously great and you want to practice as hard as you can. But when the lights are on you grow so much.”

Last season’s efforts landed the Golden Eagles in the Big East conference tournament, where they made their first appearance since 2018. But senior captain and attacker Devon Cowan said the team “has much higher goals.”

Reaching such goals starts within the program and Stimmel said on-field chemistry has been the most positive trait of the team in preseason.

There’s a lot of talented teams that we’re going to play, and we’re going to have to defend teams as a unit and be a more connected group than anybody else,” Stimmel said. “I think the chemistry piece of it has been the most encouraging sign of like ‘Ok, we are taking a step in the right direction.'”


The offensive unit consists of 14 attackers and 16 midfielders, yet Stimmel said many players, such as junior attacker Luke Blanc, who recorded 16 goals and four assists last season, “could really play anywhere.”

Last season was Blanc’s first year as a Golden Eagle after he transferred from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Coming from the midfield position, Blanc recorded the team high of both shot and shot-on-goal percentages last season for Marquette.

“We’ve got a bunch of moving parts, some new guys stepping into big roles and obviously some returners,” senior attacker and captain Devon Cowan said. “Seeing where everyone fits on the field and who clicks is where we’re really going to find a lot of our success.”

Leading the front is sophomore attacker Bobby O’Grady. Coming off a record breaking first-year campaign of 45 goals, O’Grady averaged three goals per game.

In addition to becoming Marquette’s leading scorer in a single season, O’Grady also snagged a Big East record of eight goals at St. John’s April 9 2022.

Another member of the offensive unit is Cowan, who is currently out with a hand injury. Stimmel said Cowan is expected to be out for the first few weeks of the season but is confident in O’Grady and his ability to lead the offense this season.

Starting at the face-off position is senior Luke Williams. Williams finished fourth in the Big East in face-off winning percentage and was honored as a Big East second team member.

“That unit (face-off) really is the core of our team. They make us better. They had a big impact on our team last year and we really want to build off that,” Stimmel said.

Following Williams’ lead as a key unit member is face-off specialist and senior Cole Emmanuel. Emmanuel made the All-Big East Champion Team last season and won 38 of the 64 face-offs he took.

“I think Cole Emmanuel had a couple of games last year that he matched up really well against some elite face-off guys,” Stimmel said. “And I think Emmanuel proved that he belongs at this level.”

Returning to the field as a starter is senior attacker Jake Stegman. Last season Stegman recorded 11 goals and 24 points.

A newcomer to the unit this season is graduate transfer student Jackson Rose. After four years at St. Bonaventure in New York, Rose is coming to Marquette fresh off a 40-goal senior season. Rose is utilizing his free year of NCAA eligibility from the COVID-19 pandemic to play with the Golden Eagles.

“He’s just done a great job for us off the ball. He’s a scorer. Last year, he had been a really efficient player, and for us he can play with anybody on that attack group,” Stimmel said.

Joining Marquette at midfield this season is junior transfer, Matthew Winegardner. The Tallahassee, Florida native comes to Marquette after two seasons at Mercer University, where he finished with 19 goals and 10 assists.

After seeing ample time at midfield last season and contributing 10 goals and 16 assists, Stimmel said he is excited to see what sophomore midfielder Will Foster will bring to the team this year.

Returning reserves for the attack group include senior Griffin Fries and sophomore Nolan Rappis, both of whom are coming off last season’s injuries. Stimmel said Rappis will return to the turf within the first few weeks of play.

Fries is out with a minor undisclosed injury, which Stimmel said the team is keeping an eye on.

With a new season in the air, the offensive unit is “hoping for better luck this year.”

“We need everybody all the time. You never know when it’s going to be your moment to shine,” Cowan said. “If someone got hurt or someone needs to take a day off then it’s next person up, so having everyone back is huge. Everyone’s always competing and there is power numbers, so it’s just making us stronger.” 


The defensive unit is highlighted by senior and unanimous preseason All-Big East selection Mason Woodward. He’ll be joined in the starting lineup by graduate student Zach Granger and senior Noah Verlinde.

Woodward has a chance this season to further cement himself in the Marquette history books. The senior is fifth on the all-time ground balls chart with 142 and third in caused turnovers with 50. He is top of the chart in ground balls per game with 4.58 and second in caused turnovers per game with 1.61 takeaways per contest.

Despite the star power that accompanies Woodward, Stimmel said the defensive unit is one with a lot of depth.

“Other guys that you could see in the mix are Brenden Boyle up top, Ryan Kilcoyne close and Mike Piraino close,” Stimmel said. “There’s a lot of guys that are in the mix for time and have really proven that they can play.”

The long-stick midfielder position is also led by another preseason All-Big East selection in David Lamarca. Lamarca played in all 15 games last season while recording 46 ground balls and 12 caused turnovers.

Lamarca’s counterpart starting at the short-stick defensive midfielder position is senior Chris Kirschner, who started all 15 games last season for Marquette and scored eight goals.

“We got our deep mids back. Very excited about that position group,” said Granger. “They’ve been battling all fall and all spring. I’m really excited to see what the product is out on the field.”


Last year’s starting goalie Michael Allieri returns to this team’s lineup this season. Allieri is third in career saves, but Stimmel said first-year Lucas Lawas is also making an impression.

“Coming off some of the games he had last year, we have a lot of confidence in him to take another step this year,” Stimmel said. “Lucas Lawas, who’s a freshman for us, highly touted goalie coming out of high school is definitely pushing Mike.”

Even though this team features some big stars, Allieri said this team’s chemistry is their biggest asset heading into the season.

“We have a special group this year. We’re really close. I came here two years ago and the team’s always been really close. But this year it’s a different energy,” Allieri said. “We’re all super close to each other, all hanging out on the weekends, between classes and it’s really special going to practice every day and enjoying it.”

This story was written by Ava Mares and John Gunville. They can be reached at [email protected] and @[email protected] or on Twitter @avamaresMU or @GunvilleJohn. 

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About the Contributor
John Gunville
John Gunville, Sports Reporter
John is a Sports Reporter at the Wire. He is a senior from Hartland, WI studying international affairs and Spanish and minoring in economics. In his free time, John enjoys playing on the Birdhouse ultimate frisbee team and has been to over 200 Marquette men's basketball games. This year John is looking forward to growing as a writer and share his passion for Marquette sports.

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