Marquette Men's Lacrosse Takes On Villanova in 2014 Home Opener
March 19, 2014
MILWAUKEE - The Marquette University men's lacrosse team is playing its 2014 home and BIG EAST Conference opener on Saturday, March 22 at 1 p.m. Central time against Villanova at Uihlein Park in Milwaukee.
Two shuttle busses will be running from the Annex starting at noon to take fans to Uihlein Park and admission is free for MU students. For any non-Marquette students attending Saturday's game, tickets can be purchased at the gate. For group tickets call 414-288-0288.
For any fan who is not able to make it to Uihlein Park, live stats will be available through Gametracker.
After playing its first seven games on the road this season, Marquette (2-5, 0-0) returns to Milwaukee to open his home schedule against the (1-5, 0-0) Villanova Wildcats.
Saturday also marks the inaugural BIG EAST game for the Golden Eagles, who are in their second year of Division I competition.
For MU head coach Joe Amplo and his team this game represents the culmination of preparation since the program was founded in fall 2011.
"This game means everything," said Amplo. "As I told the guys after the Detroit game, this game is everything we've been working for these past three years. Since our first guys came onto campus in 2011, everything was about building for the BIG EAST."
Marquette is returning from its spring break road trip, where it played three games in eight days. The most recent match-up was a 15-10 victory over Detroit this past Saturday.
Led by redshirt senior attackman Tyler Melnyk, MU produced its highest scoring output in program history. Melnyk tied a career high finishing with five goals and six points. Fellow attackman Bryan Badolato chipped in with four goals and MU's third starting attackman Conor Gately also added three points in the win.
Coach Amplo said following the game that the biggest performance came from sophomore faceoff specialist Paul Riportella who set a MU program record winning 20-24 faceoffs on Saturday. His domination of the faceoff X allowed the Golden Eagles to control time of possession and go on multiple scoring runs vs. the Titans.
Further, Marquette converted on five of six man-up opportunities on Saturday led by freshman midfielder Ryan McNamara who notched a career high five points, all during man-up situations.
Sophomore defensive midfielder Jacob Richard picked up a career high eight groundballs vs. the Titans, while long stick midfielder Liam Byrnes scored his first goal of the season on a transition assist from Richard.
"We have an opportunity to see what we can go against some really good teams in the BIG EAST," said Amplo. "Everyone in our conference plays with urgency and everyone aside from Denver is fighting for an automatic qualifier (for the NCAA Tournament). This means every game is unbelievably important."
Villanova is coming off a 14-6 vs. No. 13/12 Princeton Tuesday night. This game marks the Wildcats fifth game against a ranked opponent.
After scoring the first goal of the game, the Wildcats surrendered a 9-2 first half run to the Tigers. Eric Gartner led Villanova with two goals, while John LoCascio chipped in with two points.