MU Hosts Georgetown Saturday for BIG EAST Opener

Defenseman Liam Byrnes is second nationally in caused turnovers with 2.50 per contest.

2016 Marquette Men's Lacrosse - Game 7
rv/rv Marquette (5-1, 0-0 BIG EAST) vs. Georgetown (1-7, 0-0 BIG EAST)
Date Saturday, March 26 | 12 p.m. CT
Location Valley Fields | Milwaukee
Live Links Live Stats | TV: FS1 (or watch through FOX Sports Go)
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Media Materials Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader | Media Supplement/Record Book Get Acrobat Reader

March 24, 2016

The Last Meeting
Marquette8
Georgetown (BIG EAST semifinal)12
April 30, 2015
Villanova, Pa.
MLAX Falls 12-8 to Georgetown in BIG EAST Semis
The No. 19 Marquette University men's lacrosse team rallied from a four-goal deficit to pull within one before falling to No. 13/12 Georgetown, 12-8, in the BIG EAST Conference Championship Semifinals on Thursday afternoon at Villanova Stadium.

MILWAUKEE – The Marquette University men’s lacrosse team will play its first nationally televised game of the season on FS1 against Georgetown on Saturday, March 26 in its BIG EAST Conference lid-lifter at Valley Fields. Local broadcasters Patrick Reed (play-by-play) and Bob Brainerd (analyst) will handle the call from Milwaukee at noon Central time.

The Golden Eagles (5-1) have won three straight games following a 12-8 loss to Ohio State on Friday, March 4 and are led by 20 points apiece from attackmen Ryan McNamara and Conor Gately. McNamara, who has tied his career high with four goals three times this season, leads MU with 17 goals, and Gately has scored 13 times.

Marquette has been particularly stingy on defense during its first six non-conference games, allowing just 6.50 goals per game to its opponents, which ranks as the third-lowest total in NCAA Division I. MU has also seen a vast improvement over 2015 at the faceoff X, where its unit sits sixth in the country with a winning percentage of .655.

The Hoyas (1-7) fell to No. 15/17 Loyola, 10-7, at home on Wednesday afternoon and have dropped four straight games since their lone victory at then-No. 8 Hofstra, 10-6, on March 5. Midfielder Daniel Bucaro leads Georgetown with 22 points on the season after posting a goal and assist against the Greyhounds. Sophomore goalie Nick Marrocco made 11 saves in net for GU and is averaging over 10 saves per contest, good for second in the BIG EAST.

Georgetown holds a 3-1 edge in the all-time series against the Golden Eagles, including a pair of victories over MU last season. The Hoyas claimed a 10-9 win in Washington, D.C., during the 2015 regular season to snap Marquette’s season-opening seven-game winning streak, and also downed MU 12-8 in the BIG EAST semifinals.

The first 300 fans in attendance at Saturday’s game will receive a special championship blue replica jersey t-shirt of the uniforms the Golden Eagles will don for the first time ever against the Hoyas.

After the meeting with Georgetown, Marquette welcomes No. 6/8 Villanova to Valley Fields on Saturday, April 2 as the BIG EAST’s top scoring defense is set to clash with the nation’s second-highest scoring offense.

HOYAS QUICKLY BECOMING BIG-TIME BIG EAST RIVALS

  • The Golden Eagles and Hoyas have met a total of four times since Marquette added the sport for the 2013 campaign and Georgetown holds a 3-1 advantage in the all-time series. The two programs are coached by 2000 Hofstra graduates Joe Amplo (MU) and Kevin Warne (GU), who were teammates and roommates on Long Island.
  • The first meeting came on Friday, March 29, 2013 in Washington, D.C., during MU’s first season, and was attended by a large contingent of Marquette fans as the MU men’s basketball team was also in D.C. for the NCAA Championship East Regional, which it played in on Thursday and Saturday.
  • The Golden Eagles responded from a six-goal fourth quarter deficit in the second meeting and Ryan McNamara scored the overtime winner to cap an 8-1 MU run to close out the 11-10 victory. That April 19, 2014 contest at Hart Park is the only time the Hoyas have played in Wisconsin.
  • Marquette's loss at Georgetown during the 2015 regular season snapped a program-best seven game winning streak to begin the season but featured a furious second-half rally. MU trailed by six goals (8-2) at the break and stormed out during the second half to tie the game, 9-9, on Blaine Fleming's goal with 6:07 remaining. After a two-man-down situation resulted in a GU go-ahead goal with 3:45 to play, a potential game-tying shot from Fleming ricocheted low off the far pipe with 10 seconds left to play.

FACEOFF UNIT MUCH IMPROVED IN 2016

  • After winning just 43 percent of their faceoffs during the first three seasons of NCAA Division I competition, the Golden Eagles sit at 65.5 percent through the first six games of 2016 and rank sixth nationally. That improvement was highlighted in the March 6 victory over Detroit, in which MU won 95 percent (19-of-20) of the game’s faceoffs, including the first 19 of the game. Sophomore transfer Zachary Melillo was named to the BIG EAST Conference Weekly Honor Roll on March 7 after going 18-for-19 at the X against the Titans and Marquette has won 67 percent (eighth nationally) of the draws he has taken in 2016. The Warren, New Jersey native leads the Golden Eagles with 32 ground balls this season and has had significant help on the wings from short sticks Jacob Richard, Griffin Connor and Noah Joseph, as well as long stick midfielders Tyler Gilligan and Brendon Connolly.

DOMINANT DEFENSIVE EFFORT FUELS VICTORY AT RICHMOND

  • The Golden Eagles made a statement defensively in their victory at Richmond on Feb. 27 by allowing just two goals and shutting the UR offense down for scoreless stretches of 36:45 and 22:23. The Spiders’ two goals are the fewest they have ever scored as well as the lowest total MU has ever allowed in program history. The Golden Eagles were able to shut down Richmond leading-scorer Mitch Goldberg, not conceding a point to the junior for the first time in 27 games. Goalie Jimmy Danaher made nine timely saves in net for Marquette, while B.J. Grill tied a career-high with five ground balls and Nicholas Eufrasio picked up four in his first start of the year on defense. MU sits third in the country in scoring defense behind No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 3 Yale, having allowed just 6.50 goals per game to its opponents.

McNAMARA MAKING HIS MARK IN 2016

  • Junior midfielder Ryan McNamara was named to the BIG EAST Conference Weekly Honor Roll for the second time in his career on Monday, Feb. 22 after tying a career high with four goals in the season-opening victory over Bellarmine (he also had four against Ohio State on March 4). McNamara was third on the squad in scoring last season with 23 goals and 13 assists and has started in the midfield in every game of his collegiate career. He leads MU this year with 17 goals in the first six games.
  • Dating back to April of last season, McNamara has scored 27 goals over his last 12 contests (2.25 goals/game) and has accrued 38 points over that same stretch (3.17 points/game). Those games included matchups with then-No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 5 Denver (1g, 3a), No. 6 Duke (2g, 1a) and No. 12 Georgetown (1g, 1a).

BYRNES CONTINUES TO PRODUCE IN A NUMBER OF WAYS

  • Liam Byrnes, the BIG EAST Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year, was the BIG EAST’s unanimous selection at long stick midfielder last season and has returned to his role as a close defenseman in 2016. Byrnes has recorded a ground ball (177 total) in all but four of the 51 career games he has played for Marquette and had a team-high 52 ground balls and 26 caused turnovers in 2015. He is MU’s all-time leader in ground balls and caused turnovers and has seen action in every game Marquette has ever played. The graduate student scored a career-best four goals in 2015 and has 14 career points (6g, 8a). He has tied or bettered MU single-game records in both caused turnovers (5 vs. Detroit) and ground balls (9 vs. Robert Morris) this season and is tied for second in the country with 2.50 caused turnovers per game.

GATELY AGAIN ON TEWAARATON AWARD WATCH LIST

  • Senior attackman Conor Gately was named to the Tewaaraton Award Watch List for the second time in his career in 2016. The watch list of 50 men’s student-athletes will be cut down to 25 on April 28 and five finalists for the award will be announced on May 12. The Tewaaraton Award, presented by Under Armour, is recognized as the preeminent lacrosse award. The award selection committees are made up of premier collegiate coaches and are appointed by The Tewaaraton Foundation.
  • Gately, a Marquette legacy, holds MU career records with 126 points on 71 goals and 55 assists. His second goal of the day at Quinnipiac on March 19, 2016 moved him past teammate Kyle Whitlow and into first in MU history with 71 career goals.

WHITLOW’S PRODUCTION WILL BE MISSED

  • Midfielder Kyle Whitlow suffered a season-ending knee injury on Tuesday, March 8 at practice and will miss the remainder of his redshirt senior campaign. The two-time All-BIG EAST selection started all 49 games of his Marquette career and the Golden Eagles had never taken the field without him in the lineup until March 12 against Robert Morris. Whitlow’s 70 career and 94 points are both second to Conor Gately in MU history. The Orillia, Ontario native scored his 60th career goal on April 11, 2015 at Providence to take sole possession of first place in Marquette history, surpassing Tyler Melnyk’s previous record of 59 tallies.

LINEUP CHANGES A RESULT OF WHITLOW’S INJURY

  • With Whitlow out of the lineup for the first time in program history against Robert Morris on March 12, head coach Joe Amplo used the opportunity to shake up his starters. Amplo slid leading scorer Ryan McNamara from the midfield into the attack unit with Conor Gately and Joseph Dunn. Blaine Fleming and Tanner Thomson each made their first starts of the year alongside Andy DeMichiei in the midfield, in place of McNamara and Whitlow. Fleming and Thomson each scored their first goals of the season against the Colonials, including the first two of his career for Thomson. Senior Brett Hornung also saw time on MU’s specialty unit, scoring his first career goal in the second quarter on an EMO.

MARQUETTE’S ROSTER FEATURES NATION’S LARGEST SENIOR CLASS

  • This year’s roster features a 19-player senior class that is the largest in NCAA Division I men’s lacrosse. The group includes five players who arrived on campus during the fall of 2011 and did not play in any games during their first year as the Golden Eagles only practiced. Liam Byrnes and B.J. Grill have already received their bachelor’s degrees in that group, while Kyle Whitlow, Tyler Gilligan and Dan Mojica will graduate in May with MU’s other four-year players. Marquette returns a total of eight starters and 35 letter winners from last year’s 10-win squad.

GRILL IS A 2016 SENIOR CLASS AWARD CANDIDATE

  • B.J. Grill became the first MU men’s lacrosse player to be named a Senior CLASS Award candidate when it was announced that he was one of 20 candidates for the prestigious award on Feb. 16. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. Grill is a two-time All-BIG EAST First Team selection­ on defense and a 2016 Inside Lacrosse Preseason Faceoff Yearbook Third Team All-American. The two-time team captain and Major League Lacrosse draft pick graduated in May of 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and is currently pursuing an MBA in Marquette’s Graduate School of Management.

HOME GAMES AT VALLEY; WORLD CLASS INDOOR FACILITY TO HOUSE MU

  • For the first time in program history, the Golden Eagles will play all five home games in Milwaukee at Valley Fields in the Menomonee River Valley, where they have practiced since their inception in 2011. Marquette is making the move in towards campus from Hart Park in Wauwatosa, where it had played during its first three seasons.
  • 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 announced last spring 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 Aurora Health Care and 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. It was announced in January that Aurora Health Care will provide $40 million in capital investment to the start of the $120 million project.

A PAIR OF NATIONAL TELEVISION BROADCASTS ON THE SCHEDULE

  • The Golden Eagles will be featured on a pair of national television broadcasts again this season after appearing twice last season for the first time in program history. Marquette’s March 26 showdown with Georgetown in Milwaukee will appear on FS1, while its game at reigning-NCAA Champion, Denver, will appear on CBS Sports Network on April 30. Both contests figure to play significantly into the BIG EAST Conference and NCAA postseason picture, where MU will try to make its mark in 2016. The Golden Eagles have never beaten Denver and fell to Georgetown twice last season, including in the BIG EAST semifinal. MU’s contest against the Pioneers last year was shown on CBSSN, while its HEADstrong Foundation game against Duke, which drew almost 5,000 fans to Hart Park, was also broadcast.

 

 

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