Marquette Falls to UNC in NCAA First Round, 10-9
May 14, 2016
MILWAUKEE - The No. 11 and sixth-seeded Marquette University men's lacrosse team fell to No. 12 North Carolina in its first-ever NCAA Championship appearance, 10-9, in a thrilling matchup that came down to the wire in front of a record crowd of 2,053 at Valley Fields on Saturday.
The Golden Eagles (11-5) nearly erased a three-goal deficit late in the fourth quarter but they were unable to capitalize with possession during the final minute of play. Blaine Fleming's shot with under 30 seconds remaining ricocheted off the leg of Tanner Thomson and was picked up by UNC behind the cage.
The Tar Heels (9-6) escaped with a narrow victory and advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals where they will take on the winner of Notre Dame-Air Force in Columbus, Ohio on Sunday, May 22.
Marquette received a hat trick from Thomson, who has scored 12 times in the last four games and ends the year with 19 goals. MU's leading scorer Ryan McNamara scored twice, as did senior midfielder Blaine Fleming. McNamara ends his junior campaign with a Marquette single-season records of 40 goals and 57 points on the year.
Michael Tagliaferri notched a hat trick to lead UNC, while Steve Pontrello and Chris Cloutier each potted a pair of goals. The Tar Heels won 12-of-21 faceoffs (57.1 percent) and out-gained the Golden Eagles 27-20 in ground balls.
The Golden Eagles notched the game's first tally as McNamara struck with 9:42 remaining in the first quarter. Marquette led 3-2 at the end of the opening quarter after Jacob Richard found Kyran Clarke inside, who then scored with two seconds left.
The Tar Heels rattled off three-straight goals to begin the second quarter and led 6-5 at the half. UNC went back up by a pair to start the third before MU rallied to re-tie the game, 7-7, on an Andy DeMichiei goal with 8:18 remaining in the frame.
Another three goals by the Tar Heels put them back up 10-7 and they held on for the victory despite late goals from Thomson and McNamara, the later of whom scored with 1:07 remaining.
The game marks the final chapter in the storied careers of Marquette's 19-player senior class, which has been a part of every game in MU history. That group includes five fifth-year players (Liam Byrnes, Tyler Gilligan, B.J. Grill, Dan Mojica and Kyle Whitlow) who arrived on campus in August of 2011 and did not play in any games during the 2011-12 academic year.
This season included Marquette's first BIG EAST tournament championship, its first-ever NCAA appearance and a record 11 victories.
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