BIG EAST Announces Men's Lacrosse Awards
April 29, 2014
MILWAUKEE -- Marquette University men's lacrosse Head Coach, Joe Amplo was named the BIG EAST Conference Coach of the Year, the league announced today. Four MU student-athletes were also recognized on First and Second Team All-BIG EAST.
Grill, a Bridgewater, N.J. native, was the only defenseman to be a unanimous First Team selection.
"I think the thing that impresses me the most is that those are four guys who have been here from the beginning," said MU head coach Joe Amplo. "Those guys took a chance, came here to establish this program and got here on day one and they are the leaders at their positions and they deserve all the credit for building this program and getting us in this position. I'm happy for them."
Amplo, who is in his third season as head coach of Marquette, led the Golden Eagles to a BIG EAST regular season record of 4-2, including a four-game winning streak. After being picked to finish last in the preseason conference poll, Marquette clinched the No. 2 overall seed in this week's BIG EAST Men's Lacrosse Championship in the Golden Eagles' first season in the league.
"On a personal level, Joe has been a great friend and I'm extremely happy to see him win Coach of the Year," Georgetown Head Men's Lacrosse Coach Kevin Warne said. "Knowing Joe as a lacrosse coach, you're starting to see the result of his hard work and his influence on Marquette's style of play."
On April 7, Grill was named BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week, the first MU player to earn the award in program history.
He garnered this award after the Golden Eagles defeated St. John's 11-10 (2OT). Amplo largely attributed this victory to Grill's defensive performance on Tewaaraton watch list member Kieran McArdle, holding him without a goal for the first time since March 19, 2013.
Grill followed this effort up by holding Notre Dame's Matt Kavanagh without a goal on April 8. Kavanagh entered that matchup accounting for 25 percent of the Fighting Irish point total. The next Saturday, Grill held Providence's Andrew Barton, the Friar's leading goal scorer, to just one point.
"B.J. specifically to be named unanimous at that position is hard to do," said Amplo. "I think defensemen typically go under the radar and for every coach in the league to think he is worthy of a first team selection that's quite an honor."
Melnyk, a native of Calgary, Alberta, finished the regular season leading MU in both goals and assists. The attackman tallied 36 goals and posted a 2.77 goal per game average in 2014. After his four-goal performance vs. Georgetown, Melnyk ranked fifth in Division I in this statistic.
The redshirt senior finished second among all BIG EAST competitors in goals-per-game.
Melnyk tallied at least two points in all but one game this season. He broke his own MU record with an eight-point performance, including five goals, in the Golden Eagles' first BIG EAST win over Rutgers.
After being among the first two players in MU history to be named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll, Melnyk found himself on the weekly award list three times in 2014.
Liam Byrnes, who was last week's BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week, has been a disruptive force the entire season from the long stick midfielder position according to Amplo.
Byrnes led MU in both groundballs and turnovers this season, including a five groundball four caused turnover output in a win over Hofstra and an eight groundball performance in a win over St. John's.
The West Islip, N.Y. native has tallied eight points in his two years at Marquette, which puts him "On the cusp" of the Division I long pole career scoring list. Byrnes is one of two underclassmen to appear on this list.
After his five point performance in the Golden Eagles' win over St. John's, Kyle Whitlow was named BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week.
Hailing from Coldwater, Ontario, Whitlow has started every game in MU program history and ranks second on the team with 32 total points in 2014.
Whitlow has tallied four hat tricks this season.
The Golden Eagles make their postseason debut this Thursday, May 1 as the No. 2 overall seed in the BIG EAST tournament when they face No. 3 seed Villanova at 6 p.m. CT at Villanova Stadium. Thursday's semifinal game will be streamed live on BIGEAST.com