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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Woodward’s legacy paves way for future success of Marquette men’s lacrosse

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Photo by Forster Goodrich
Mason Woodward (77) on defense in Marquette men’s lacrosse’s 15-14 loss to No. 9 Georgetown April 15.

In many ways, Mason Woodward is the epitome of an American-born lacrosse player.

Family roots in the sport? Check. East Coast born and raised? Check. Long list of honors and awards? Check. A soft smile and a mustache for a roster photo? Double check.

But Woodward’s greatness, though piercingly evident on the field, cannot be confined to a checklist of attributes, nor can it be determined through a stat sheet.

Woodward may be one of the greatest Marquette men’s lacrosse players in program history, but you’ll never hear those words leave his mouth.

“He will not talk about himself, he is the first to make it about the team,” Marquette head coach Andrew Stimmel said. “He will never say that he’s good enough, and that’s what makes him a great player.”

Though the humble senior defensive powerhouse may not speak to his own successes, he has a program backing him that does.

“He’s going to leave a legacy at Marquette that’s so much more than just who he is as a player, which is pretty crazy to say because he’s going to go down as arguably the greatest Marquette lacrosse player of all time,” Stimmel said. “The coolest thing about Mason is that he doesn’t care about the accolades or having his name up on a wall in the locker room. He just wants to win and he wants to leave the program in a better place than he found it.”

As Woodward’s name continues to grow on the national lacrosse stage, Terry Foy, the CEO of Inside Lacrosse remembers a time before Woodward represented the blue and gold.

“I’m pretty confident the first time I saw him play was his senior year of high school after he had already committed to Marquette,” Foy said. “His team was playing against a powerhouse school called Haverford and it was a really low-scoring game. I remember coming away from it thinking this kid is really, really good.”

For Woodward, who might as well have been born with a lacrosse stick in his hand, Marquette was the place for him to develop his game.

“I wasn’t really looking anywhere else and not a lot of teams had called, but ultimately it came down to just loving the culture that Marquette had built at the time,” Woodward said. “I believe it was 2016 or 2017 when I committed, so they just had won the Big East tournament and I thought it was so cool that a program had not been D1 for that long already won at a very high level, in a very good conference.

“I just thought that it would be awesome to join Marquette, a fairly new culture with a very young coaching staff that believed in me, and I ultimately believed in them as well.”

Despite Marquette not having won the Big East title since 2017, Woodward has found fuel in that fact.

“It’s definitely a little disappointing that we haven’t done that yet, but it just continues to motivate us. Our process has still been the same, just going about it the right way, trying to stick with our process because we know it’s been successful. We want to continue to get better every day to accomplish our goals,” Woodward said.

The letter “I” seems nonexistent in Woodward’s vocabulary, yet as Woodward wanted to attend Marquette because of past program accomplishments, Stimmel said new recruits seek out Marquette because of Woodward as an individual.

“Recruits that can look up to a guy on our team that’s had a lot of success in a certain area continues to build momentum and build a pipeline, to say ‘Hey, you could be the next Mason Woodward!’” Stimmel said. “When we can do that, be able to point to somebody that’s at that level of success, it absolutely helps build the program and the profile of what we’re trying to do here. All the credit goes back to him and how he works and how he shows up every day.”

From the analyst perspective, Woodward is a “no-brainer top ten,” player in the nation, as Foy put it.

“Mason is a very productive player, so as a result, it’s easy to say on a production, size and athleticism basis, he’s a top ten player,” Foy said. “I think that’s realistic, but in terms of what he’s done, it’s pretty hard to argue anything other than he is pretty clearly a top ten defenseman.”

Looking past collegiate play, Stimmel said he believes Woodward will be one of those few lucky lacrosse players to make their professional dreams come true.

“He could obviously play in the PLL, and he’s got a good enough skill to play in the indoor Pro league and then in the NLL and I really think eventually he’s going to have a chance to be a World Team member,” Stimmel said. “You don’t get to coach guys like that very often, so when you do, you try to soak it all in.”

When asked about his future aspirations, Woodward didn’t look too far ahead.

“We have three guaranteed games left in the Big East, so I think any goals moving ahead is to win those three games and then continue to be successful and win the Big East tournament and go from there.”

Humble? Check.

This story was written by Ava Mares. She can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @avamaresMU.

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Forster Goodrich, Staff Photographer
Forster Goodrich is a sophomore from Lyme, New Hampshire studying digital media. Forster works on the photography desk as a Staff Photographer. Outside of the Wire, he is on the club waterski team, and enjoys everything outdoors. He is looking forward to the upcoming basketball season and getting to photograph games at Fiserv Forum.

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