The Last Meeting
April 29, 2017
May 2, 2017
MILWAUKEE - The 2017 BIG EAST Conference Men’s Lacrosse Championship, presented by JEEP, kicks off Thursday at Anderson Stadium in Providence, Rhode Island as fourth-seeded Marquette takes on top-seeded and No. 2 Denver in the day’s first semifinal.
The game will be broadcast live at 3:30 p.m. Central time on CBS Sports Network with Ben Holden (play-by-play) and Evan Washburn on the call.
The Golden Eagles (6-7, 2-3 BIG EAST), enter the event as the reigning tournament champion after defeating Denver, 10-9, in last year’s title matchup. MU is 1-5 all-time against the Pioneers, despite last year’s championship game victory, having dropped all five regular season contests.
Senior attackman Joe Dunn, who was named to the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll for the second time in his career on Monday, leads MU with 20 goals, while classmate Ryan McNamara, MU’s all-time leader in goals and points, has a team-best 29 points in 2017.
Dunn posted a hat trick in a 16-8 loss to Denver in the regular season finale on Saturday afternoon at a rainy Valley Fields in Milwaukee. MU struck first, but the Pios went on to tally eight of the next nine goals, with three in that span coming from DU freshman Ethan Walker, to eventually build a 10-4 halftime lead.
Denver’s offense is driven by Walker and 2016 Tewaaraton Award finalist Connor Cannizzaro. The rookie leads the squad with 59 points (33 goals and 26 assists), while Cannizzaro sits right behind him with 54 points. The Pioneers (11-2, 5-0 BIG EAST) are riding a six-game winning streak that started over a month ago with a victory against Towson and have won the last four BIG EAST regular season championships.
In last year’s tournament final, Marquette outscored Denver 6-0 in the third quarter on its way to the 10-9 victory, led by Tanner Thomson’s four goals and Zachary Melillo’s 12-of-23 day at the face-off dot against Trevor Baptiste.
The winner of Thursday’s first semifinal will face the winner of the second game between second-seeded Villanova and third-seeded tournament-host Providence. Saturday’s championship game will air live on FS2 at 3:30 p.m. CT.
MARQUETTE IN FOURTH BIG EAST SEMIS
- The reigning BIG EAST tournament champions qualified for the league tournament semifinals for the fourth time in as many seasons following the results of Saturday, April 15 and are in search of their third and fourth tournament victories. The Golden Eagles lost in the semifinals during each of their first two trips to the conference tournament with a 9-8 loss to Villanova in 2014 and a 12-8 loss to Georgetown in 2015. MU topped No. 16 Villanova, 14-9, in last year’s semifinals prior to its 10-9 victory over No. 1 Denver to secure the league’s automatic NCAA Championship berth and its first BIG EAST title.
REMEMBERING THE 2016 BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP
- Last year's victory over No. 1 Denver in the BIG EAST tournament title game featured a number of important milestones and firsts:
- First win over a No. 1 team
- First victory over Denver in five tries
- First BIG EAST Championship
- First NCAA Championship berth
- First BIG EAST title game appearance
- Win snapped Denver's NCAA-high 22 game home winning streak
- DU's first loss to a BIG EAST team since joining the league in 2014 (21-0)
- School-record 11th victory
- Liam Byrnes became the first MU player with 200 career ground balls and 100 caused turnovers
- Zachary Melillo won 52 percent at the faceoff X against All-American Trevor Baptiste. It marked only the second time in Baptiste's career that he did not win more draws over his opposition.
MCNAMARA'S RECORD-SETTING OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION FUELS MU
- MU's lone All-BIG EAST Preseason Team honoree Ryan McNamara propelled the Golden Eagles into the 2016 postseason by breaking the Marquette single-season and career goal scoring records while earning USILA All-America recognition. McNamara became the second MU player to reach 100 career points in last year's regular season finale and passed Conor Gately's career goal mark in the process. He surpassed Gately's career points record of 140 at Providence on April 15, 2017 and is five goals from becoming the program's first 100-goal scorer. A few of his rankings in MU history:
- 97 career goals (first)
- 145 career points (first)
- 48 career assists (second)
- 391 shots (first)
DUNN HAS PAIR OF FOUR-GOAL GAMES SINCE START OF BIG EAST PLAY
- 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. Dunn entered the contest with three goals on the season and with his final tally against the Hoyas, tied a career-best with his seventh marker of 2017. He has also posted some of his top goal totals this season against the toughest competition, with another four against No. 7/10 Notre Dame, a pair of tallies against No. 4 Duke and a hat trick on Senior Day against No. 2 Denver. Through 13 games in 2017, he leads Marquette with 20 goals and has been named to the conference’s weekly honor roll on two occasions.