Attackman Joe Dunn is one of 11 players beginning his senior season on Saturday at Jacksonville.
Feb. 16, 2017
MILWAUKEE – The No. RV/20 Marquette University men’s lacrosse team opens its fifth season of NCAA Division I competition in Florida against Jacksonville at 11 a.m. Central time on Saturday, Feb. 18 at D.B. Milne Field.
The contest can be viewed on the WatchESPN application, and live statistics will be linked on Marquette's athletic website, GoMarquette.com, courtesy of JUDolphins.com.
The Golden Eagles, who return seven of 10 starters, including USILA All-American Ryan McNamara, ended last year ranked 11th in the USILA Coaches Poll and 13th in the media poll. Marquette also hosted its first NCAA tournament game as the national No. 6 seed, falling to eventual NCAA Champion North Carolina by one goal in
the NCAA First Round.
MU enters this season as the reigning BIG EAST tournament champions and is entering its first weekend of regular season play after taking on NCAA Division I programs High Point, Michigan and Penn in scrimmage action.
Jacksonville owns a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series, but the Golden Eagles were able to secure a 12-6 victory in the last meeting during the 2015 season on the strength of a four-goal performance by then-sophomore McNamara.
Jacksonville (0-1) fell in its season opener on Saturday, Feb. 11 to Lehigh, 13-12, spoiling a five-goal effort from sophomore attackman Will Hendrik. Junior midfielder McLean Chicquen also posted a team-best six points in the loss with a pair of goals and four assists.
JU’s John Galloway has a great deal of familiarity with Marquette as the first-year head coach served as an assistant for the past four seasons at fellow BIG EAST institution, Providence. Galloway, a former Syracuse All-American, is also a goalie with Team USA, on which Marquette head coach Joe Amplo serves as an assistant coach.
Following the matchup with Jacksonville, the Golden Eagles will prepare to take on Richmond at noon CT on Saturday, Feb. 25 in Richmond, Virginia.
MARQUETTE HAS HISTORIC 2016 CAMPAIGN
• The 2016 season was a historic one for the Marquette men’s lacrosse program, which captured its first BIG EAST Conference tournament championship and hosted the first-ever NCAA playoff game in Wisconsin. MU’s automatic NCAA berth came in just its fourth season of competition and its third as a BIG EAST member after playing the 2013 campaign as an independent. The Golden Eagles claimed the NCAA bid by defeating then-No. 1 Denver, 10-9, in the BIG EAST title game to snap the Pioneers’ NCAA-best 22-game home winning streak. 2016 BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year Liam Byrnes led the charge for Marquette and was named the tournament’s most outstanding player after leading MU to victories over then-No. 16 Villanova and the Pios.
MCNAMARA’S RECORD-SETTING OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION FUELS MU
• MU’s lone All-BIG EAST Preseason Team honoree Ryan McNamara propelled the Golden Eagles into the 2016 postseason by breaking the Marquette single-season and career goal scoring records while earning USILA All-America recognition. McNamara became the second MU player to reach 100 career points in last year’s regular season finale and passed Conor Gately’s career goal mark in the process. He also broke Tyler Melnyk’s single season goal and point standards with 40 and 57, respectively.
The Last Meeting
March 6, 2015
A few of his rankings in MU history:
80 career goals (first)
116 career points (second)
36 career assists (second)
305 shots (first)
THOMSON EMERGES AS A MAJOR THREAT IN THE MIDFIELD
• Junior Tanner Thomson will look to continue his torrid pace from the end of 2016 into this season for the Golden Eagles. Thomson ended the 2016 campaign on an absolute tear, recording 12 of his 19 goals (and 14 of 21 points) over the final four contests, all against ranked opponents. That included a total of seven goals and an assist against then-No. 1 Denver (two games (3-0-3 and 4-1-5)), two goals and an assist against then No. 16 Villanova, and a hat trick in the NCAA tournament against eventual national champion North Carolina. The Toronto native was an All-BIG EAST Championship Team selection and had not scored in an MU uniform prior to his first collegiate start against Robert Morris on March 12, 2016.
DEMICHIEI RETURNS IN NO. 6 FOR THE GOLDEN EAGLES
• Senior midfielder Andy DeMichiei also emerged late in 2016 to provide stability in the midfield, which suffered the loss of Kyle Whitlow to injury and the subsequent move of Ryan McNamara into the attack unit. DeMichiei’s late season scoring surge started in the BIG EAST tournament, during which he honored Whitlow by wearing the Canadian’s No. 6 uniform. The Pittsburgh native posted a hat trick, including the game winner, in the BIG EAST semis against Villanova and scored twice against Denver in the title contest. DeMichiei, who will again don No. 6, also set the MU single-game scoring record last season with a seven-goal outburst at St. John’s on April 9.
BLAZER SECURES THE CREASE
• Goalie Cole Blazer started the final nine games of 2016 for Marquette and earned All-BIG EAST Second Team and All-BIG EAST Championship Team accolades. The then-sophomore made quite the impression in his first career start as the Golden Eagles shut down a high-scoring Villanova offense that entered the game second in the nation in scoring. He made 13 sometimes spectacular saves against the Wildcats and held the VU offense to a season-low three goals, while recording a .813 save percentage on his way to NCAA national player of the week accolades.
• Blazer, a mechanical engineering major, is the closest thing to a local player on the Marquette roster, hailing from Libertyville, Illinois, which sits 55 miles to the south of Milwaukee down I-94 just across the Wisconsin-Illinois border. No player for the Golden Eagles in program history has ever grown up closer to the Milwaukee campus.
FACE-OFF UNIT RECEIVES BOOST FROM MELILLO
• Junior faceoff specialist Zachary Melillo was called last year’s team MVP by head coach Joe Amplo because of what his presence at the face-off X meant to the entire Marquette squad. The Warren, New Jersey native went on to set the MU career face-off win record in just his first season with 178 victories. That 56.2 percent clip ranked him 21st in the nation and helped him earn All-BIG EAST Second Team accolades.
• Melillo also earned BIG EAST Championship All-Tournament recognition after winning 52 percent at the faceoff X against both Villanova’s Luke Palmadesso (14-of-27) and Denver All-American Trevor Baptiste (12-of-23).
2016 SENIORS HAVING PRO LACROSSE SUCCESS
• Marquette had a trio of players drafted in the 2016 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft and all three had very successful rookie campaigns following the conclusion of their MU careers. Defenseman Liam Byrnes was the first Marquette player to hear his name called in the third round (21st overall) and started on defense for the Florida Launch. Current MU assistant coach Jacob Richard earned a role with one of the MLL’s deepest SSDM group with the New York Lizards, while current MU director of lacrosse operations B.J. Grill helped the Denver Outlaws to the MLL title as a starting defenseman. Additionally, attackman Conor Gately was selected by the Rochester Rattlers in the 2016 MLL Supplemental Draft and Byrnes is also playing for the Georgia Swarm of the National Lacrosse League as a transition player.
AMPLO AND JOSETTI RECOGNIZED FOR ADVANCING SPORT OF LACROSSE
• Joe Amplo and associate athletic director for compliance Danielle Josetti (men’s lacrosse sport administrator) were each honored with major awards at the annual Intercollegiate Men's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IMLCA) Convention in Baltimore on Dec. 9, 2016. Amplo was named the USILA's Howdy Myers Man of the Year, while Josetti was given the Extra Man Award by the IMLCA for her help in growing the game and the MU program. Amplo also earned recognition by the Milwaukee Business Journal in January on its annual ’40 under 40’ list.
MARQUETTE 13-4 IN ONE-GOAL GAMES
• The ability to perform in tense late game circumstances has been a hallmark of the Marquette program under head coach Joe Amplo, evidenced by an all-time record of 13-4 in one-goal games. The Golden Eagles captured four one-goal victories in the first five games of 2015 and won eight straight one-goal contests until a loss at Georgetown on March 21, 2015. In addition to being 13-4 all-time in games decided by one goal, MU is 4-1 all-time in overtime games as a program. The Golden Eagles’ latest one-goal win came over No. 1 Denver, 10-9, to claim their first BIG EAST tournament championship. They also lost by the same score to North Carolina in the 2016 NCAA First Round.
NEW SEASONAL DOME COMPLETED; FACILITY PLANNED
• Marquette’s newly completed seasonal dome over the FieldTurf Revolution 360 surface at Valley Fields provides a climate-controlled practice and game facility for the Golden Eagles during the winter months. The Golden Eagles played all their home games at Valley Fields for the first time in 2016, after making the move in towards campus from Hart Park in Wauwatosa, where they had played during their first three seasons.