Men's Lacrosse Opens Season With 13-6 Loss at Lehigh
Feb. 8, 2014
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The Marquette University men's lacrosse team opened up the 2014 regular season Saturday with a 13-6 road loss to nationally ranked Lehigh at Ulrich Sports Complex.
Lehigh, ranked as high as No. 17 in the preseason USILA Coaches Poll, got off to a hot start despite temperatures at faceoff hovering around 25 degrees; the Mountain Hawks (2-0) were able to jump out to a 2-0 advantage in their home opener before an MU attackman touched the ball.
Marquette (0-1) responded to the early deficit with a pair of goals by Tyler Melnyk during a two-minute stretch that knotted it up at 2-2 at the 9:13 mark of the first quarter. But Lehigh was successful in shutting down MU's top returning scorer the rest of the afternoon.
The two-time defending Patriot League champions went on a five-goal run before midfielder Kyle Whitlow put an end to the Golden Eagles' drought to make it 7-3 just before the half.
Conor Gately, who led Marquette with three points on a goal and pair of assists, opened the scoring in the third quarter to get MU back to within three at 7-4.
That's as close as the Golden Eagles would get, however, as Lehigh scored five straight to extend its lead to 13-4. Blaine Fleming and Jacob Richard tacked on late goals for Marquette, which scored three times on 16 second-half shots.
“Lehigh is a very good team,” said MU head coach Joe Amplo. “They play with a lot of confidence, and they’ve earned the right to play that way. I saw some good things from us, both defensively and offensively, but time of possession didn’t allow us to establish a rhythm.”
Lehigh controlled a 36-18 margin in the groundball column and won 18 of 22 faceoffs making it difficult for the Golden Eagles to gain any momentum late in the contest. MU also had some costly turnovers in man-up situations.
MU sophomore defender Brian Porter and freshman middie Ryan McNamara both earned their first collegiate start Saturday, while the Golden Eagles were without senior captain Andrew Smistad and classmate Jerry Nobiledue to injuries.
“From a growth stand point we are light years ahead of where we were a week ago. We asked our guys to make the simple play and they did. They were smart with the ball and made the right decisions. Lehigh’s defensive unit is one of the best we’ll see all year. I thought the young kids, for their first division I game, also played with some confidence. We just lost to a better team.”
Marquette, which opens the season with seven straight games on the road, returns to action next Saturday, Feb. 16 when the Golden Eagles travel to Hofstra.