No. 15 Marquette Looks for First Win at Duke on Friday

The Golden Eagles hosted Duke in 2015 for the HEAD Coaches Classic, which drew 4,575 fans to Hart Park.

2016 Marquette Men's Lacrosse - Game 12
No. 15 Marquette (9-2, 4-0 BIG EAST) at No. 13/16 Duke (8-6, 2-2 ACC)
Date Friday, April 22 | 6 p.m. CT
Location Koskinen Stadium | Durham, N.C.
Live Links Live Stats | ESPN3
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April 20, 2016

The Last Meeting
Duke15
Marquette8
April 18, 2015
Milwaukee, Wis.
No. 15 Marquette Falls to No. 6 Duke, 15-8
The Marquette University men's lacrosse team dropped the HEAD Coaches Classic to No. 6/6 Duke, 15-8 Saturday afternoon at Hart Park in front of a record 4,575 fans.

MILWAUKEE -- No. 15 Marquette will have another opportunity for a high-profile non-conference victory when the squad heads to No. 13/16 Duke on Friday in Durham, North Carolina. The game is slated for 6 p.m. Central time at Koskinen Stadium and will be broadcast live on ESPN3 and through the WatchESPN application.

The Golden Eagles (9-2, 4-0 BIG EAST) are coming off an emotional week that included an 8-7 overtime loss at No. 1 Notre Dame Wednesday and Saturday's 8-7 Senior Day victory over Providence. Marquette jumped in both polls and in the NCAA's latest RPI rankings despite the 1-1 week and will be the higher ranked team in the media poll for the first time ever against the Blue Devils.

Junior attackman Ryan McNamara, who became the third MU player to reach 30 goals and 40 points in a single season Saturday against the Friars, earned his sixth BIG EAST Conference weekly honor on Monday and graduate defenseman Liam Byrnes was awarded defensive player of the week from the league and the NCAA.

McNamara leads MU with 31 goals in 2016 and Byrnes paces a stout MU defense unit that tops the NCAA in scoring defense by giving up just 6.55 goals per game. Byrnes, an Inside Lacrosse Midseason Second Team All-American, is second nationally in caused turnovers per game and is close the becoming the first MU player to ever reach 200 ground balls and 100 caused turnovers in his career.

Duke (8-6, 2-2 ACC) stopped a two-game losing skid with an impressive second half showing in a 14-8 win over Virginia on Sunday afternoon. The Blue Devils are led by a pair of senior All-Americans in the midfield who were both top-10 selections in the 2016 MLL Collegiate Draft in Myles Jones and Deemer Class. Class has a team-high 41 goals in 2016 and after scoring five goals against UVA is Duke's single-season goal scoring leader for a midfielder.

Jones, a 6-foot-5, 230-pounder, posted a hat trick and an assist against MU last season and has 10 points in three career games against Marquette. For the Golden Eagles, attackman Conor Gately posted two goals and a pair of assists in 2015 against Duke to become the first MU player in history to reach 100 career points. McNamara also scored twice against the Blue Devils in front of a state-record 4,575 fans at Hart Park.

Last year the Blue Devils broke free from a 2-2 tie in the first quarter with five straight goals to pull away for a 15-8 win. That matchup was the HEAD Coaches Classic, played in support of the HEADstrong Foundation, whose founder Nick Colleluori, played for Duke head coach John Danowski and MU's Joe Amplo at Hofstra.

Duke has captured each of the previous three meetings in the all-time series and jumped out to 10-1 leads after the first quarter of the first two contests. The Blue Devils entered the first three three games ranked sixth nationally in the media poll and are 16th this season.

Following the game in North Carolina, the Golden Eagles will return home before heading to Denver for their regular season finale against reigning-BIG EAST and NCAA Champion, No. 2 Denver, on Saturday, April 30. The game will be broadcast live on CBS Sports Network at 2 p.m. CT and the winner will receive the No. 1 seed in the BIG EAST Tournament.

AMPLO-DANOWSKI CONNECTION RUNS DEEP

  • They may be coaching adversaries on Friday evening, but the long-standing friendship between MU head coach Joe Amplo and Duke's John Danowski dates back twenty years. Danowski was the head coach at Hofstra for 21 seasons, from 1986 through 2006, and coached Amplo during his playing career in Hempstead. Amplo then served as an assistant under Danowski until he left Long Island to take the Duke job in 2006. Amplo and Danowski were together for six NCAA Championship appearances at Hofstra and the 2006 team ended the year 17-2 and ranked second nationally before falling to UMass in overtime of the NCAA quarterfinals. The pair was reunited on the U.S. Lacrosse Men's National Team coaching staff, when Danowski announced that Amplo will serve as an assistant coach as the team prepares for the 2018 FIL Men's World Championship in Manchester, England.

PAIR NEARING STATISTICAL MILESTONES

  • Along with the All-America-caliber seasons being turned in by graduate defenseman Liam Byrnes and junior attackman Ryan McNamara, both are on the precipice of significant statistical milestones.

  • McNamara is one point away from becoming the second MU player to reach 100 career points, along with senior Conor Gately who became the first player to reach the mark against Duke last season. McNamara, who is the third MU player to reach 30 goals and 40 points in a single season, is also just three goals away from Gately's MU career record of 74.

Ryan McNamara (43 games): 71 goals, 28 assists, 99 points

  • Byrnes, who is the reigning NCAA National Defensive Player of the Week, can etch his name as the first MU player to reach 200 career ground balls with three against the Blue Devils and is also six caused turnovers from 100 in his career. He is currently second in NCAA Division I with 2.27 caused turnovers per game, while leading the nation's No. 1 scoring defense.

Liam Byrnes (56 games): 197 ground balls, 94 caused turnovers

GOLDEN EAGLES UNABLE TO SPRING UPSET AT NO. 1 NOTRE DAME

  • Marquette scored the game's first goal at No. 2/1 Notre Dame and came back from a two-goal fourth quarter deficit, but could not outlast the Irish in overtime, falling 8-7 on Matt Kavanagh's game winner 30 seconds into the extra session. The loss was the first ever for the Golden Eagles in overtime after having entered the game a perfect 4-0 when the game went to extra time. Marquette took a 1-0 lead and after Ryan McNamara tied the game in the fourth quarter, an MU shot to take the lead with 1:47 to play hit the side of the net. The Golden Eagles never had a solid possession again as the Irish controlled the remainder of the fourth quarter and OT.

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.

DEMICHIEI STEPS UP AT ST. JOHN'S

  • Junior midfielder Andy DeMichiei entered the April 9 game at St. John's with 12 goals in 39 career games, but exited with 19 career tallies after scoring a Marquette program-record seven against the Red Storm. The Pittsburgh native recorded a natural hat trick to begin the third quarter and give MU the lead after the Golden Eagles faced a 6-4 halftime deficit. DeMichiei, who scored his first career goal to topple St. John's in double overtime as a freshman in 2014, earned his first conference accolade when he was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll on Monday, April 11. He was also named the Epoch/Lacrosse Magazine National Player of the Week.

BLAZER STANDS TALL IN FIRST CAREER START

  • Sophomore goalie Cole Blazer made quite the impression in his season debut and first career start as the Golden Eagles shut down a high-scoring Villanova offense that entered the game second in the nation in scoring. The Libertyville, Illinois native 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. Blazer and the MU defense also limited VU's Jake Froccaro, who entered the game as the nation's leading scorer, to a lone assist. For his sterling performance, he was named the BIG EAST Conference's Defensive Player of the Week on April 4, the USILA's National Defensive Player of the Week on April 5 and earned the same honor from the NCAA on April 6.

  • 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.

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 62.1 percent through the first 11 games of 2016 and rank eighth 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 62.8 percent (ninth nationally) of the draws he has taken in 2016. The Warren, New Jersey native leads the Golden Eagles with 54 ground balls this season and has had significant help on the wings from short sticks Jacob Richard (47 ground balls), Griffin Connor and Noah Joseph, as well as long stick midfielders Tyler Gilligan and Brendon Connolly.

DOMINANT DEFENSIVE EFFORTS FUEL VICTORIES OVER RICHMOND AND VILLANOVA

  • The Golden Eagles boast one of the nation's best defensive units, which has come up big in victories at Richmond (two goals) on Feb. 27 and against then-No. 5/6 Villanova (three goals) on April 2. Through 11 games, Marquette has held four opponents to five-or-fewer goals, and all but one foe to under 10. Richmond's two goals are the fewest MU has ever allowed in program history and the three goals by the Wildcats are a season low for them. The defense is paced by three 2016 Major League Lacrosse draft picks in Liam Byrnes, Jacob Richard and B.J. Grill and leads the nation in scoring defense (6.55 goals per game).

  • Those two victories over UR and VU also highlighted the ability of the MU defense to take the opposing team's top scorer out of the equation. On Feb. 27 the Golden Eagles were able to shut down Richmond's leading-scorer Mitch Goldberg and did not concede a point to the junior for the first time in 27 games. Marquette also held Villanova junior Jake Froccaro, who entered April 2's game leading the nation with 3.88 goals per game, without a goal for the first time in 2016.

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 (36 goals) 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 third in the BIG EAST and ninth in NCAA Division I with 2.82 goals per game (31 total goals) in the first 11 contests of 2016, and has earned five BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll mentions in addition to the offensive player of the week honor. He has already surpassed his previous season-high goal total of 23 goals, which he recorded in 16 games last season.

  • He has the nation's eighth-longest goal scoring streak at 15 games and he has scored a total of 38 times during those games.

  • Dating back to April of last season, McNamara has scored 41 goals over his last 17 contests (2.41 goals/game) and has accrued 58 points over that same stretch (3.41 points/game). Those games included matchups with then-No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 5 Denver (1g, 3a), No. 6 Duke (2g, 1a), No. 12 Georgetown (1g, 1a), and this season against then-No. 5 Villanova (4g).

  • McNamara's 71 career goals are second all-time in Marquette history and three behind Conor Gately's MU current record of 74. His 31 tallies in 2016 also sit just five goals behind Tyler Melnyk's program record of 36 from 2014.

MARQUETTE 12-3 IN ONE-GOAL GAMES

  • Despite MU's first-ever overtime loss at No. 2/1 Notre Dame on Wednesday, April 13, 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 12-3 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 12-3 all-time in games decided by one goal, MU is 4-1 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 (197 total) in all but four of the 56 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 15 career points (6g, 9a). 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 second in the country with 2.27 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 130 points on 74 goals and 56 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 IS 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.

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, 2015 and had fewer turnovers than its opponent in all but two games. Through games as of April 4 in 2016, MU sits 14th nationally with 12.09 miscues per game.

 

 

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