Ryan McNamara (88) and Andy DeMichiei are two of MU's leading point producers as juniors.
April 1, 2016
The Last Meeting
March 28, 2015
MILWAUKEE – One of college lacrosse’s stingiest defenses will clash with one of its highest-powered attacks when Marquette welcomes No. 5/6 Villanova to Valley Fields on Saturday at 1 p.m. Central time for a BIG EAST Conference showdown.
The contest in Milwaukee will be streamed live on GoMarquette.com’s All-Access multimedia player for free thanks to a collaboration with the Marquette Wire, MU’s student news organization. MUTV’s Peter Fiorentino (play-by-play) and Michael Gilbert will handle the call from the Valley, while live stats will also be available through GameTracker.
The Golden Eagles (6-1, 1-0 BIG EAST) enter Saturday riding a four-game winning streak following a 9-8 victory over Georgetown on March 26 in their BIG EAST lid-lifter. The win improved MU’s record to 11-2 all-time in one-goal decisions and was the second win all-time against the Hoyas.
Junior Ryan McNamara leads Marquette into action on the heels of a career-best five goal outburst against Georgetown, which earned him BIG EAST Conference Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career on Monday. McNamara sits second in the league to Villanova’s Jake Frocarro with 22 goals on the season and ranks fourth in NCAA Division I with 3.14 goals per game.
Marquette’s defense enters the matchup allowing the second-lowest goals against average in the country by giving up just 6.71 goals per contest. That defensive unit is led by a number of standout seniors, including short-stick midfielder Jacob Richard, who was named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week after grabbing nine ground balls and scoring a goal in the win over Georgetown. Senior CLASS Award finalist B.J. Grill and fellow graduate student Liam Byrnes anchor MU’s close defensemen, with the latter leading the nation with 2.43 caused turnovers per game.
The Wildcats, who are a program-best fifth in the USILA Coaches’ Poll, are coming off an 18-9 loss to No. 3 Brown on Tuesday afternoon in their 500th game in program history. VU’s offense is led by Jake Frocarro who paces the nation with 31 goals for an average of 3.88 per game.
Frocarro was held to just one goal in the game against Brown as Villanova was limited to a season-low goal total after not scoring a single goal in the second quarter as the Bears put the game away.
VU is averaging 51.8 shots per game and its 14.88 goals per game rank it second nationally.
The first 500 fans in attendance at the Valley will receive a free Marquette Lacrosse drawstring bag and water bottle.
GRILL IS A 2016 SENIOR CLASS AWARD FINALIST
- Graduate student B.J. Grill became the first MU men’s lacrosse player to be named a Senior CLASS Award finalist when it was announced that he was one of 10 student-athletes on the ballot for the prestigious award on March 30. 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.
- Fan voting will account for one-third of the balloting and continue from now until May 9 at http://go.mu.edu/VoteGrill2016.
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 66.4 percent through the first six games of 2016 and rank fourth 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 68 percent (sixth nationally) of the draws he has taken in 2016. The Warren, New Jersey native leads the Golden Eagles with 35 ground balls this season and has had significant help on the wings from short sticks Jacob Richard (30 ground balls), 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 and have continued to post impressive results during the early portion of the schedule, ranking second in the country in scoring defense (6.71 goals per game). The Spiders’ two goals in that game were the fewest they have ever scored and 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.
McNAMARA MAKING HIS MARK IN 2016
- Junior Ryan McNamara has burst onto the scene for the Golden Eagles in 2016 and is set to break MU’s single season goal scoring mark by the end of the regular season if he keeps up his current pace. The Eagan, Minnesota native was honored as the BIG EAST Conference Offensive Player of the Week for the first time in his career on Monday, March 28 after a career-best five goals in MU’s league opener against Georgetown. He is second in the BIG EAST and fourth in NCAA Division I with 3.14 goals per game (22 total goals) in the first seven contests of 2016, and was third on MU in scoring last season with 23 goals and 13.
- Dating back to April of last season, McNamara has scored 32 goals over his last 13 contests (2.46 goals/game) and has accrued 43 points over that same stretch (3.31 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).
MARQUETTE 11-2 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 11-2 in one-goal games. Marquette picked up its first such victory of 2016 in its BIG EAST opener against Georgetown, 9-8, on March 26 after winning five one-goal games last season. 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 to the Hoyas on March 21, 2015. In addition to being 11-2 all-time in games decided by one goal, MU is also 4-0 all-time in overtime games as a program.
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 (180 total) in all but four of the 52 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 leads the country with 2.43 caused turnovers per game.
- Byrnes was named an Inside Lacrosse Face-off Yearbook Third Team Preseason All-American prior to the start of 2016 and was honored by the publication on Thursday, March 31 as a second team selection at the season’s halfway point.
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 127 points on 72 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.
- All 19 seniors and head manager Tommy Wright will be honored during Marquette’s April 16 regular season home finale at Valley Fields against Providence.
GOLDEN EAGLES CONTINUE TO VALUE POSSESSION
- With eight of Marquette’s 10 victories last season coming by either one or two goals, the value placed on each possession was of utmost importance. Fortunately the Golden Eagles turned the ball over just 11.3 times per game in 2015, ranking as the third-lowest total in NCAA Division I. MU had a season-low seven giveaways against St. John’s on April 4 and had fewer turnovers than its opponent in all but two games. Through games as of March 31 in 2016, MU sits 10th nationally with just 11.71 miscues per game.
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 appeared on FS1, while its game at reigning-NCAA Champion, Denver, will appear on CBS Sports Network on April 30.
- In addition to three ESPN3 broadcasts during April, the Golden Eagles’ regular season home finale against Providence on April 16 will be broadcast live on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel as Marquette bids adieu to its 19-player senior class at Valley Fields.