Men's Lax Opens Regular Season at No. 18/16 Lehigh
Feb. 5, 2015
MILWAUKEE - The Marquette University men's lacrosse team opens the 2015 regular season at 11 a.m. Central time on Saturday, Feb. 7 against No. 18/16 Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania at the Ulrich Sports Complex.
Live stats will be provided through LehighSports.com, as will free streaming video through the Patriot League Network.
The Golden Eagles, who also opened the 2014 campaign at Lehigh, return 33 players from last season's squad including a trio of All-BIG EAST Preseason Team selections in redshirt juniors Liam Byrnes, B.J. Grill and Kyle Whitlow. Joe Amplo, the 2014 BIG EAST Conference Coach of the Year, led Marquette to a 4-2 record in league play last season (6-10 overall) and must replace an USILA All-American in attackman Tyler Melnyk, who was MU's leading scorer in 2014 with 36 goals and 15 assists.
The Mountain Hawks also feature three All-Patriot League Preseason Team selections this season in attackman Dan Taylor, defenseman Lukas Mikelinich and goalie Matt Poillon. Taylor's 47 goals and 76 points in 2014 placed him among the nation's leaders, while Poillon is a three-time All-American and two-time Patriot League Goalie of the Year.
"They are a great team top to bottom and I think (head coach) Kevin (Cassese) does a great job coaching those guys," Amplo said. "They've got a great culture and Dan Taylor is scary. Watching him on tape, he is very impressive and I am not sure the right way to defend him. We will think about it the next few days and try to come up with a game plan. Certainly we have to stop their `knowns' and he is one major `known' that we have to deal with. He is an excellent, excellent lacrosse player. He is not a quick attackman, he is a big, strong dodger and can do a lot of things off the ball."
Lehigh, which was picked to finish third in the Patriot League Preseason Coaches' Poll, enters the first week of the season ranked 16th in the Cascade/Maverick Media Poll and 18th by the USILA.
"We want to play the best and compete with teams like Lehigh," Amplo said. "I can't think of any better way than to compete against a team that we are trying to catch. We want to be known as a top 15 team sometime soon, and if we want to talk like that, we have to line up and see where we are at."
MU, which was led by a pair of goals from Melnyk, fell to then-No. 17/19 Lehigh, 13-6, on Feb. 8 in the 2014 season lidlifter. The Golden Eagles won just 18 percent of their faceoffs (4-of-22) and suffered defeats in the X on all 12 of their first half draws. Lehigh also doubled up MU in ground balls, 36-18, and held a 38-27 edge in shots.
Marquette played in exhibition action each of the last two weeks, including an 11-9 victory at Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 31. The Golden Eagles trailed the Wolverines 9-6 entering the fourth quarter but scored on five of their 10 shots in the period to emerge victorious. Graduate transfer Jordan Greenfield posted a game-high six points against U of M with four goals and a pair of assists, while Kyran Clarke also notched two goals.
"Us not playing well, but finding a way to win after 60 minutes was encouraging," Amplo said of the Michigan contest. "I think that is a sign of a good team, one that doesn't need to play a perfect game to win over the course of 60 minutes. There is certainly a long list of things we have to correct and get better at, but there always will be. It was a good day overall."
GOLDEN EAGLES ARE SEASONED ROAD WARRIORS
Marquette opens its third season of competition with the first 10 games away from home and 12 of its 15 games overall on the road. By the time the Golden Eagles host their first home game at Hart Park on April 4, they will have traveled almost 12,000 miles in regular season competition and been in through 11 states and the District of Columbia. It total, MU will log over 14,000 miles during the course of the regular season (almost 17,000 including preseason), through 13 states and Washington, D.C.
MU has played at least 11 games away from home in each of its first three seasons and has opened regular season action with stretches of nine (2013), seven (2014) and 10 games (2015) on the road. The Golden Eagles have played over 75 percent of their contests in program history on the road are 8-14 all-time with identical 4-7 records in 2013 and 2014.
BYRNES, GRILL & WHITLOW NAMED PRESEASON ALL-BIG EAST
Returning all-conference performers Liam Byrnes, B.J. Grill and Kyle Whitlow were named to the 2015 All-BIG EAST Preseason Team. Grill and Byrnes were both selected unanimously, and Byrnes was the only long stick midfielder named. Last year, Grill became the first player in program history to earn unanimous All-BIG EAST First Team honors, while Byrnes, Marquette's career leader in ground balls and caused turnovers, garnered second team accolades. Whitlow was also named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team in 2014 and was one of two players to start all 16 games for the Golden Eagles. The redshirt junior ranks second all-time and first among active MU players with 41 career goals, which is 18 shy of Tyler Melnyk's program record.
GOLDEN EAGLES PEGGED FOURTH IN BIG EAST COACHES' POLL
Marquette was picked to finish fourth in the 2015 BIG EAST Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll after a second-place regular season finish as a new league member in 2014. Just a pair of points separated the second and fourth-place teams in the poll as Georgetown (18 points), Villanova (17) and Marquette (16) followed unanimous preseason No. 1 Denver. The Golden Eagles were the only squad other than the Pioneers to receive a first-place vote, as coaches were not allowed to vote for their own team or players.
NEW WORLD CLASS INDOOR FACILITY TO HOUSE MU LACROSSE
A new indoor athletic performance center, which will combine indoor playing fields for Marquette's lacrosse and soccer programs, an indoor track, and a world-class athletic performance research facility was annouced on Jan. 29 by MU President Dr. Michael R. Lovell. The facility will be located on the 800 block of Michigan Street and is expected to house offices and locker rooms for MU lacrosse. Through a strategic partnership with the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks, cutting-edge faculty and student research in sports performance, medicine, nutrition and rehabilitation will enhance the performance of Marquette student-athletes and professional athletes worldwide.
MARQUETTE WITH NEW-LOOK ATTACK IN 2015
As 40 percent of MU's goal scoring departs with the graduation of USILA All-American Tyler Melnyk (36g) and Bryan Badolato (22g), the Golden Eagles will turn to new and returning faces to help on the attack. One of those newcomers, Fairfield-transfer Jordan Greenfield, potted 34 goals, including five game-winners, as the Stags' leading scorer in 2013. In addition to returning starter Conor Gately (17g, 14a), sophomores Kyran Clarke and Joe Dunn will also see time alongside Greenfield up front. Greenfield had four goals and two assists in MU's final exhibition date at Michigan against the Wolverines, an 11-9 MU victory. Clarke also had a pair of goals against U of M.
CBS SPORTS NETWORK TO TELEVISE FINAL TWO HOME GAMES
The Golden Eagles will play two home games in front of a national television audience in their final contests of the regular season when preseason No. 3 Duke and No. 1 Denver roll into Milwaukee. Marquette will host the Blue Devils on Saturday, April 18 in a 1 p.m. Central time matchup (originally noon) and the Pioneers on Saturday, April 25 in the BIG EAST regular season finale.
GOLDEN EAGLES FACE TOUGH SLATE IN 2015
Marquette will face five teams ranked in both preseason polls during its third season of competition, including No. 1 Denver, No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Duke all in the month of April. The Golden Eagles begin the 2015 campaign at No. 18/16 Lehigh and No. 17/19 Hofstra in the first two weeks of the season and will also face three teams receiving votes in the USILA Poll in Ohio State, Villanova and St. John's.
NATION'S TOP ATTACKERS GRILL-ED IN 2014
Marquette defenseman B.J. Grill provided shutdown defense on some of the nation's top attackmen in 2014 as the BIG EAST's lone unanimous first team all-conference selection did not allow a goal to USILA Second Team All-Americans Kieran McArdle (40g) of St. John's and Notre Dame's Matt Kavanaugh (42g). His work against McArdle allowed the Golden Eagles to pull out an 11-10 OT victory against the Red Storm in Queens, New York on April 6.
MARQUETTE SIGNS TWO 2015 SENIORS TO NLIs
A pair of current high school seniors signed National Letters of Intent in November and will suit up for the Golden Eagles in the spring of 2016:
- John Wagner (A, St. David's Ontario/Cranbrook (Mich.))
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