MLAX Heads to High Point after Pair of Scrimmage Losses
Feb. 2, 2016
MILWAUKEE – After dropping a pair of scrimmages last Saturday in its opening weekend of spring competition, the Marquette University men’s lacrosse team heads to North Carolina to take on High Point at 8 a.m. Central time on Saturday, Feb. 6.
“Always from the first scrimmage to the second scrimmage we are going to see a tremendous growth spurt,” Marquette head coach Joe Amplo said. “Whether that means we win at High Point on Saturday, I don’t know. But that means we are going to play better, with more energy and we are going to be closer to what our team is going to look like in the first game. That is what matters.”
Marquette will likely play five quarters against the Panthers, which it has only faced once in regular season action, a meeting that occured during its first season of competition in 2013. The Golden Eagles topped High Point, 14-6, that season, but have dropped both scrimmages in North Carolina during each of the previous two campaigns.
“High Point has got two of the best face-off guys out there, last year they were one of the top-10 teams facing off, and they’ve got a great freshman,” Amplo said of the matchup this weekend. “That is going to be the first challenge for us, how we are going to manage that part of the game. If you take that out of it I think we are pretty even teams. Their star players match up with our best players in B.J. Grill and Liam Byrnes.”
The Golden Eagles kicked off their spring season Saturday with a 15-13 loss at Oosterbaan Field House to Michigan, and ended the day with their reserves falling 11-5 to Denison.
“It’s the first scrimmage,” Amplo said of his assessment of the first weekend of action. “We’re never as bad as we think we are and we’re never as good as we think we are. Those are the two things I always come back to no matter how good we feel after the game.
“As I told the guys, I think the biggest thing for them is that they’ve got to play like the same team that we’ve been, which is a team trying to prove themselves. Not that we played with the assumption that we were going to be good on Saturday, but it certainly looked like that. We didn’t play urgently and we weren’t fundamentally sound. That part of it is disappointing, but looking at the mistakes, they are all correctable, which is what scrimmages are supposed to be.”
The Golden Eagles trailed the Wolverines 7-5 at halftime and fell behind 12-7 after the first three quarters in Ann Arbor. Senior attackman Conor Gately and junior midfielder Ryan McNamara each posted a hat trick and an assist against Michigan, while Andy DeMichiei also contributed four points in the losing effort with a goal on his only shot and three assists.
“Conor Gately was the absolute best player on the field against Michigan,” Amplo said of the day’s top performers. “That’s what I expect from him. He did everything you should be doing as a senior attackman. Kyle Whitlow had a very good game, quietly with two goals and an assist in a game where we didn’t see the ball that much.”
Freshman attackman John Wagner, who played in high school at the Cranbrook School in suburban Detroit, fought through early jitters to score a pair of second-half goals against U-M.
“I was very proud of John Wagner coming on in the second half and getting stronger,” Amplo said. “That to me was the best moment of the day, watching him grow through the nerves of being a freshman against Michigan and come out and score two goals in the second half. I was proud of him for that and I think that he is going to be a guy that we are really going to count on.”
Following Saturday’s scrimmage at High Point, Marquette will play Cornell at the University of Pennsylvania on Feb. 13 before playing its regular season home opener on Feb. 20 against Bellarmine.
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