Marquette Puts End to Penn State's Headline-Making Winning Streak


Marquette celebrates a 12-11 win over Penn State at MacArthur (N.Y.) High School on Saturday.

LEVITTOWN, N.Y. — March Madness, indeed.

It wasn’t quite Fairleigh Dickinson-Purdue, which saw the second No. 16 seed in NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament history win a game Friday night. But the Marquette men’s lacrosse team knows it’s a month for unpredictable results, and it’s something the Golden Eagles embraced as they arrived at MacArthur High School on Long Island to take on a red-hot Penn State squad Saturday afternoon. 

Marquette wasn’t wearing Cinderella’s glass slipper, but there was no doubt which team was the underdog in this non-conference, neutral site game that was the first-ever meeting between the teams. 

Yet, when it was over, it was Marquette claiming victory, a signature 12-11 win over a Penn State team that was coming off three eye-opening wins over Ivy League powerhouses in Yale, Penn and Cornell and, as such, were No. 6 in the Nike/USA Lacrosse Division I Men’s Top 20.

“Certainly, we’re in the middle of March Madness right now. So, we’re going to enjoy this one for sure,” Marquette head coach Andrew Stimmel said. “I’m so happy for our guys, for our families. So many guys are bought into what we’re selling, and they haven’t bought in with any guarantee of success. And I think when you’re able to get these moments, it just builds momentum.”

Marquette (4-3) made a statement right from the opening faceoff, won by Luke Williams, albeit on a violation.

“Right off that first whistle, we saw our sideline was unbelievable. And I think that really kind of carried us through the whole game,” defenseman Mason Woodward said. “Our sideline gave us juice the whole time. From the jump, we knew we were gonna have to come out and start fast and really try and get ahead early because they’re very good. They had three really good games so try and just show them what we’re made of right off the first whistle.”

That carried over to the rest of the game with Woodward (seven ground balls, two caused turnovers) anchoring a Marquette defense that got sticks in passing lanes and forced 17 turnovers. Meanwhile, the combination of Williams (9 of 14) and Grant Evans (10 of 13) led the Golden Eagles to a 19-8 edge at the faceoff X.

“I think our defense, the name of the game today was friction. We needed to get in on gloves,” Stimmel said. “They’re probably one of the most talented, if not the most skilled, team in the country. So, we needed to get friction on the gloves. It was that simple. And we felt like if we chase that with how we arrived in slides or rotations, if we just fought and competed on the ball, we felt like we’d give ourselves a chance to put some of those balls on the ground and maybe impact some of the shots.”

Devon Cowan and Andrew Bowman paced the offense with three goals apiece, while Bobby O’Grady added two goals and an assist. His goal with 7 seconds left in the third quarter gave the Golden Eagles a 10-7 lead.

TJ Malone, Jack Traynor, Mac Costin and Chris Jordan had two goals apiece for Penn State (5-2), which led 5-4 on a man-up goal by Jordan, who played at nearby Garden City High, with 4:09 left in the second quarter. But goals 26 seconds apart by Bowman and Foster ensured Marquette took a 6-5 lead into the second half. 

The Golden Eagles were also buoyed by a nine-save outing from Michael Allieri. 

“Just look around, all these guys are just as tight as can be,” Cowan said. “In the face of adversity, that’s when we perform the best. Give us a challenge, and we’ll show up.”

Penn State had taken a different path to national elite this year than it did in 2019, when Grant Ament and Mac O’Keefe were the alpha males on a Big Ten regular season and tournament championship team that reached the NCAA Final Four. 

This Nittany Lions team had won five of their first six games, bouncing back from last year’s injury-plagued 3-11 campaign by being a more balanced attack and strategically diving into the transfer portal for impactful graduate students Kevin Winkoff (Binghamton) and Jordan (St. Lawrence) as well as redshirt freshman faceoff specialist Chase Mullins (North Carolina).

“We didn’t want to go wide-ranging in the transfer portal, but we recognized the benefit of it,” Penn State head coach Jeff Tambroni said earlier this week. “The two guys from Long Island have been a significant help in Winkoff and Jordan. Faceoffs we’ve gotten a little boost there with Chase Mullins.”

But on this day, it was Marquette with the juice as it celebrated its best win this season. Previously that was a 14-9 victory over Michigan, currently No. 17 in the Nike/USA Lacrosse Division I Men’s Top 20. But Marquette followed two weeks later with a loss to Bellarmine at home. 

Lessons learned is the expectation with St. Bonaventure on deck next Saturday before Big East conference play begins next month. 

“Watching March Madness, you see all these different things. Marquette is doing really well right now,” Woodward said. “I think just loving each other and just fighting for each other — momentum isn’t given. It’s earned. I thought we earned it today, earned momentum going forward and going into next week against St. Bonaventure.”

It was also an emotional win for Stimmel and his family. Two months ago, his father-in-law Joe DeVito, from neighboring Wantagh, was killed by a drunk driver. A moment of silence was observed for him prior to the start of the game. 

“Looking up and seeing my wife and my kids and our entire family and so many people that he invited out to the game,” Stimmel said, “we’re just so grateful for that moment to be able to just soak it in. I just reminded myself before the game, and I think anybody that’s ever coached on a high level, I think can grip it too tight sometimes. We all really want to win, but just being able to enjoy the moment and soak it in is ultimately who my father-in-law was, and I feel like that’s how we can honor his legacy.”

Most Recent

Vermont Still on Top, UC Santa Cruz Climbs in WCLA Division II Top 20

No. 11 UC Santa Cruz jumped three spots this week and now resides just outside the top 10.

Boston College Club Still No. 1, Clemson Joins Top 10 in WCLA Division I Top 20

Clemson Club made a significant jump to join the top 10 for the first time.

Keiser Remains No. 1 in NAIA Men's Lacrosse Coaches Top 10

Keiser picked up one more first-place vote, giving them all eight this week.

Rhode Island Sweeps First-Place Voting, Remains No. 1 in MCLA Division II Poll

The Rams top the D-II poll for the third consecutive week.

Twitter Posts