No. 19/17 Marquette gets Senior Day win over Providence, 8-7
April 16, 2016
MILWAUKEE - No. 19/17 Marquette sent off its first group of four-year players in program history Saturday afternoon with an 8-7 victory over Providence on Senior Day at a sunny Valley Fields.
"What a great day for our seniors and for Marquette in general," Marquette head coach Joe Amplo said. "Valley Fields was jam-packed. It was loud, it was beautiful out. If you're a fan sitting in the stands, I don't know how you don't enjoy that.
The Golden Eagles (9-2, 4-0 BIG EAST) jumped out to a 7-0 lead and had to hold off a furious Providence rally as the Friars outscored MU 7-1 over the final 31 minutes of play. Junior attackman Grant Preisler made his first start of the season, with MU's all-time scoring leader Conor Gately sidelined, and scored his first two goals of 2016 to give Marquette a 2-0 lead. Classmate Ryan McNamara also added two goals in the win, as did fellow junior Kyran Clarke.
"It's a win in the BIG EAST and that's the way it's going to be," Amplo said. "Every game we play in the BIG EAST we have to expect to be like that. Providence played great on defense and their goalie made some great saves. They're a good defensive team. The first half was a little bit of an anomaly with, not how easy, but how successful we were. To go up that much, and that early, against that team was a surprise to me. I really thought it was going to be a one-goal game and after 60 minutes it wound up to be that."
Providence (7-5, 1-2 BIG EAST) scored all four fourth-quarter goals and had the game pulled within a single goal, 8-7, with 57 seconds remaining. Marquette faceoff specialist Zachary Melillo, who won 10-of-18 on the day, was able to win the final faceoff and the Golden Eagles were able to maintain possession through the final whistle.
Keenan Assaraf scored a team-high two goals for the Friars, while Joseph McHale posted three points on a goal, the day's final tally, and a pair of assists.
Despite a 7-0 Marquette lead with 1:58 remaining before the half, the Friars were able to capitalize on a late MU turnover and scored with both 17 seconds and two seconds remaining. PC's Michael Perettine scored the first goal of the third quarter to pull the score to 7-3 before McNamara scored MU's only marker of the second half, what would turn out to be the game winner.
"I think that was everything," Amplo said of the two late second quarter goals for PC. "We go into halftime, I think it was 7-0 at that point, I'm not sure they come out with as much life as they had. Credit to them. I told our guys `Those guys are us.' They're scrappy, they're tough, they play hard and they are just a little bit younger. We were able to be a little more mature in some end-of-the game scenarios to kill it."
Marquette outgained the Friars 32-24 in ground balls and were able to clear the ball at a more successful clip as PC failed on four occasions.
With his two goals today, McNamara has team-high 31 on the year and tied a career best with three assists. He is now only the third MU player to ever reach 30 goals or 40 points in a single season.
Prior to the contest, Marquette honored its 19-player senior class and head manager Thomas Wright. Included in that group of 19 players are five fifth-year players (Liam Byrnes, Tyler, Gilligan, B.J. Grill, Dan Mojica and Kyle Whitlow) who began practicing in the fall of 2011 on campus but did not see game action until the spring of 2013.
The Golden Eagles return to action to face long-time adversary Duke on Friday, April 22 in Durham, North Carolina at 6 p.m. Central time. The game against the Blue Devils will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and through the WatchESPN application.
Keep up with the Marquette men's lacrosse program all season long through social media by following on Twitter (@MarquetteMLax) and Instagram (@MarquetteMLax) and `liking' on Facebook (/MarquetteLacrosse).
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