Griffin Connor has been MU's top SSDM option for most of the year (photo: Chuck Connolly).
April 6, 2017
MILWAUKEE - The Marquette University men's lacrosse team hosts its first regular season game on the natural grass field at Valley Fields when the squad welcomes BIG EAST Conference-rival St. John's on Saturday, April 8 for a 1 p.m. contest.
The game will be broadcast live on Spectrum Sports Wisconsin (Channel 32/1332 HD) with Patrick Reed and Eric Simon on the call. Capacity at the venue is just over 2,000 and tickets can be purchased at the gate.
Marquette (5-3, 1-1 BIG EAST) is coming off a 10-9 overtime loss at Villanova on April 1, in which it did not trail until the game's final tally. MU had a 9-8 lead going into the fourth quarter, but was held scoreless over the final 19:57 for its first loss in program history when leading entering the game's final frame (29-1). Seniors Joe Dunn and Kyran Clarke both posted a pair of goals for Marquette in the loss, while classmate Andy DeMichiei recorded four points on a goal and a career-best three assists.
The Last Meeting
April 9, 2016
St. John's (1-9, 0-1 BIG EAST) dropped a 23-7 game on Tuesday to No. 17 Yale in Queens, New York. Jason DeBenedictis led St. John's with three goals for his eighth career hat trick and goalie Daniel Costa made 10 saves for SJU, which was out-shot, 58-23. DeBenedictis has played in just six of SJU's games this year and is fifth on the squad in goals scored, while Nick Heller leads the team with 10 goals on 50 shots.
The Golden Eagles and the Red Storm have matched up four times before, and have evenly split the all-time series. The last time the two teams faced each other was April 9, 2016 in Queens as DeMichiei potted a program-record seven goals to helped MU to an 11-7 victory. He earned Epoch/Lacrosse Magazine National Player of the Week honors following that performance.
Following the matchup against the Red Storm, Marquette will play a pair of road games at Notre Dame on Tuesday, April 11 and Providence on Holy Saturday.
MARQUETTE HOSTS DUKE FOR HEAD COACHES CLASSIC ON APRIL 22
- In honor of the USILA/HEADstrong Foundation Cancer Awareness Month in April, Marquette will host Duke on April 22 at Valley Fields for the HEAD Coaches Classic. The event, televised live at noon Central time on CBS Sports Network, will raise awareness and funds to support the HEADstrong Foundation, an organization that holds special meaning to the head coaches of both programs from their time together at Hofstra. Duke's John Danowski and Marquette's Joe Amplo recruited, coached and fought alongside HEADstrong founder Nick Collelouri during his 14-month battle against non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma before his untimely death in 2006 at just 21 years old. To honor Colleluori and his legacy, the goals will be strung with lime green nets and both teams will take the field wearing HEADstrong accessories. Marquette will unveil limited edition HEADstrong uniforms and helmets, which will be auctioned off through GoMarquette.com in support of the HEADstrong Foundation.
WAGNER PROVIDES MORE CONSISTENCY
- Midfielder John Wagner experienced an up-and-down freshman season in 2016, playing in all 16 games, but scoring in just two of them. The Canadian has been able to carve out a more prominent role on the first line as a sophomore and has been a key component in MU's recent success by scoring in the last five games. The 6-foot-2 lefty posted a career-best four points on a pair of goals and two assists in MU's narrow 7-6 win over Air Force on March 28 and has already doubled his point production from a year ago (6 points (2016) to 12 points (2017)).
MARQUETTE IN FOURTH BIG EAST SEASON
- The Golden Eagles are embarking on their fourth BIG EAST Conference campaign as the reigning league tournament champions after claiming their first title in the 2016 conference championship game against then-No. 1 Denver. Marquette went 4-1 in league play in 2016 and is 12-6 overall, having never fallen below .500 in a season since officially joining for men's lacrosse in 2014. In every one of those years, MU has reached the BIG EAST semifinals and its regular season losses have come to Denver (three times), Villanova (twice) and Georgetown (once).
Joe Dunn HAS CAREER GAME IN 2017 BIG EAST OPENER
- Senior attackman Joe Dunn led MU to an 11-10 win in its BIG EAST Conference opener at Georgetown by registering a career-best four goals, including Marquette's final two of the game. He also secured a ground ball on the game's final face-off with around 90 seconds remaining to gain MU possession in its attempt to run out the clock. Dunn entered the game with three goals on the season and with his final tally on Saturday, tied a career-best with his seventh marker of 2017. He was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on Monday, March 27 for the first time in his career.
BLAZER SECURES THE CREASE
- Goalie Cole Blazer has continued his solid play in net into his first full campaign as MU's starter in 2017. As of April 6, the junior sits 20th in NCAA Division I with 11.13 saves per game and held a save percentage of .610 (fifth nationally) with a goals against average of 7.52 (sixth nationally). He has earned three BIG EAST Conference weekly accolades over MU's first five weeks of competition in 2017 and was the league's defensive player of the week on March 6 after notching a new program record with 18 saves against Ohio State on March 3.
MCNAMARA'S RECORD-SETTING OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION FUELS MU
- 89 career goals (first)
- 134 career points (second)
- 45 career assists (second)
- 356 shots (first)
- The Eagan, Minnesota native became the second player in MU history to be named to the watch list for the Tewaaraton Award, the top individual honor in collegiate lacrosse. McNamara joins former teammate Conor Gately as Tewaaraton Award Watch List honorees.
DEFENSE ADJUSTS TO NEW LEADERSHIP
- One of the main tasks for head coach Joe Amplo with the 2017 squad is maintaining a defense that has to replace three USILA All-Americans (Liam Byrnes, B.J. Grill and Jacob Richard) from Marquette's top defensive unit of a year ago. The Golden Eagles boasted one of the NCAA's stoutest defenses in 2016, surrendering just 8.13 goals per contest (eighth in NCAA Division I), but return just one starter at defenseman in senior Nick Eufrasio along with goalie Cole Blazer.
2016 Top Defensive Unit (^ - USILA All-American):
LSM - Tyler Gilligan
SSDM - Jacob Richard^
D - Liam Byrnes^, B.J. Grill^, Nicholas Eufrasio
G - Cole Blazer
2017 Top Defensive Unit (* - returning starter):
LSM - Noah Richard
SSDM - Griffin Connor
D - Jackson Ehlert, Nick Grill, Nicholas Eufrasio*
G - Cole Blazer*