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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Senior leadership key for Marquette

Marquette men’s lacrosse opens its season Saturday against Air Force. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

The spring of 2023 was filled with a lot of what-ifs for the Marquette men’s lacrosse team.

In a season that included a stretch of three straight overtime losses against Big East opponents that were ranked in the top 12 nationally, the Golden Eagles were left wondering what could have happened if things had gone differently.

However, what’s done is done, and after finishing 6-8 and 1-4 in Big East play last year, Marquette holds high aspirations for the season that lies ahead. 

“We ended the season not how we wanted to,” graduate student defenseman Mason Woodward said. “We try and carry that over, but it’s a new team.”

Veteran leadership returns

There is an overhanging theme rooted in the group that will serve as Marquette’s 2023-2024 captains. All five of these captains will be in their fifth season with the team due to the NCAA’s COVID-19 policy.

Woodward is now the first four-time team captain in program history. He was also a unanimous selection for the All-Big East First Team in 2023 and was selected 56th overall in the fourth round of the National Lacrosse League Entry Draft by the New York Riptide. The Towson, Maryland native was most recently tabbed as the 2024 Big East Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Graduate student defenseman captain Noah Verlinde is back for his fifth year and will once again serve as one of Woodward’s partners on the back line. 

Graduate student attacker Devon Cowan returns for his third year as captain and is the fourth player in program history to reach 100 career points. The Leonardville, Kansas native was also a unanimous pick for the 2024 all-conference preseason team.

Fellow graduate student face-off specialist Luke Williams served as captain last spring and was chosen for the 2023 All-Big East Second Team after a .568 face-off winning percentage.

Graduate student Jake Stegman is set to serve as a firsttime captain this year. Stegman is coming off a strong 2023 campaign in which he recorded a new single-season record with 32 assists. 

The Golden Eagles also return their leading goal scorer from last year as junior attacker Bobby O’Grady is back for his third year with Marquette. O’Grady was also recently named to the 2024 all-conference preseason team.

“I’m very grateful for them [captains],” head coach Andrew Stimmel said. “It’s going to help us as a team. It has in the past, and I think it’ll just continue to pour into those relationships.”

Filling in the gaps

Marquette welcomes 13 first-years to the program this year, and Woodward said that the youngsters have already been fitting right into what it means to be a Golden Eagle.

“We establish that relationship early on, and then when they get there, it almost feels like we already know them,” Woodward said. “It goes a long way bringing them along with us.”

Of the first years joining the program this year, attacker Carsen Brandt was Marquette’s only top 100 recruit, as he was rated the 54th best player in the class of 2023 by Inside Lacrosse.

Brandt wasted no time giving Marquette fans a taste of what his next four years at Marquette are going to look like, as the fourstar recruit tallied six points at the Golden Eagles’ Blue and Gold scrimmage last Saturday.

“We’ve had some older guys that have come in as pretty highly rated recruits,” Stimmel said. “It’s just about trying to adjust to the college game and play with those around you.

“You look at guys like Devon Cowan, Bobby O’Grady, Jake Stegman. There’s been a lot of guys that have been that younger guy and have had to transition into playing with the other five guys in the offense. He’s [Brandt] done a really good job transitioning in, but there’s still a lot of room for growth there.”

First-year midfielders Zach Hulme and Beau Westphal are also expected to compete for significant playing time after impressing in fall camp.

One of the bigger question marks coming into this season is who is going to fill the hole in the Golden Eagles’ defense left by former defenseman Zach Granger.

Sophomore Mike Piraino is expected to take on the responsibilities. Piraino, who originally had planned to redshirt last season, chose not to and found a solid role at long-stick midfield. 

After the departure of former goalkeeper Michael Allieri during the offseason, there is some uncertainty surrounding who will get the starting job.

The Golden Eagles could go with sophomore Lucas Lawas. Lawas stepped in and started the final three games for the Golden Eagles last season against three opponents ranked in the top twelve. The Horseheads, New York native has big game experience and did show some promise in his stint at goalie last season, as he had at least 11 saves in all three of his starts in net.

Also engaged in the competition for netminder are Lehigh transfer Caleb Creasor, first-year Jack Kask and senior Jamie Grant. It is still unclear at this time who will be starting in net for the Golden Eagles when they take on the Air Force Academy Falcons in their opening match Feb. 3 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

This article was written by Matthew Baltz and Raquel Ruiz. Matt can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @MatthewBaltzMU. Raquel can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @RaquelRuizMU.

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About the Contributors
Matthew Baltz, Sports Reporter
Matthew Baltz is a sophomore from Colona, Illinois majoring in journalism and minoring digital media. He is a sports reporter for the 2023-24 school year. In high school, he played basketball, baseball and ran cross country. In his free time, Matt enjoys hanging out with his friends and going to MLB games. He is most excited to write game recaps and tribune stories.
Raquel Ruiz, Sports Reporter
Raquel Ruiz is a first-year student from Mundelein, Illinois studying digital media and is a Sports Reporter for the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys playing volleyball, volunteering in her local community, spending time with friends and family and binge-watching tv shows. She is excited to learn from different people and explore what it is like to be a journalist in the media field.

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