Senior captain Nick Eufrasio, a 2017 All-BIG EAST Championship selection, has been the leader of one of the nation's top defenses (photo: David Silverman).
May 11, 2017
MILWAUKEE - Marquette will make its second appearance in the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship on Sunday, May 14 with an 11 a.m. Central time matchup with fourth-seeded and No. 5/7 Notre Dame at Arlotta Stadium in Notre Dame, Indiana.
The NCAA First Round contest will be broadcast live on ESPNU with John Brickley (play-by-play) and Matt Ward (analyst) on the call as the Golden Eagles and Fighting Irish square off for the sixth time.
Marquette (8-7) earned the BIG EAST Conference's automatic bid with a 10-9 win over Providence in the championship game of the league tournament on May 6. The Golden Eagles also upset then-No. 2 Denver, 11-8, in the semifinals, following a four-game skid to end the regular season.
All-time goal and points leader Ryan McNamara leads MU into the first weekend of NCAA play with a team-best 33 points (20 goals, 13 assists), while a total of four Golden Eagles have between 29 and 33 points, with Tanner Thomson, Joe Dunn and Andy DeMichiei joining McNamara in that group.
The Last Meeting
April 11, 2017
Notre Dame, Ind.
Marquette falls 11-10 at No. 7/10 Notre Dame
Marquette outscored No. 7/10 Notre Dame 8-3 over the final 44 minutes of regulation, but it was not enough Tuesday afternoon in an 11-10 loss to the Fighting Irish at Arlotta Stadium.
Notre Dame (8-5) has lost its last two games since a three-game winning streak spurred by a 11-10 win over Marquette on April 11 in Indiana. The Irish won their Atlantic Coast Conference semifinal game over then-No.4 Duke, 7-6, on April 28, before falling to North Carolina, 14-10, in the ACC title game. ND also fell in overtime to No. 17 Army, 10-9, on Saturday in West Point.
Sophomore Ryder Garnsey paces the Irish with 39 points on 19 goals and 28 assists and junior Mikey Wynne leads ND with 28 goals on the year. Senior midfielder Sergio Perkovic has 22 goals in 2017 and notched six of those, including the game winner with 25 seconds remaining, in the last meeting with Marquette in April.
In that April MU loss, the Golden Eagles rebounded from an 8-2 deficit to tie the game 10-10 with 7:56 left on Joe Dunn's fourth goal of the day. Marquette could not get back on the board and dropped its fifth game in as many meetings to the Irish, with the last two coming by just one goal after MU rallied to tie in both.
The Golden Eagles are looking for their first win in NCAA tournament competition following last season's first round loss to eventual national champion North Carolina, 10-9, as the No. 6 national seed in Milwaukee. A win would also be MU's first over an ACC institution as Marquette enters the weekend a combined 0-11 against the Irish (0-5), Duke (0-5) and North Carolina (0-1).
The advancing team from Sunday's game at Notre Dame will face the winner of fifth-seeded Denver and Air Force on Saturday, May 20 at James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, New York. The quarterfinal game will be hosted by Hofstra University, the alma mater of MU head coach Joe Amplo.
Individual game tickets for Sunday can be purchased through the Notre Dame Ticket Office at the cost of $5 for adults and $3 for youth and seniors. Visit UND.com or call (574) 631-7356 for more information.
MU CLAIMS SECOND STRAIGHT BIG EAST TITLE
- Marquette won its second BIG EAST Conference tournament in a row on Saturday afternoon with a 10-9 victory over Providence, following an 11-8 semifinal win over No. 2 Denver on Thursday. Goalie Cole Blazer was named the championship's most outstanding player after making 23 saves in the two games, while seniors Grant Preisler, Nick Eufrasio and Joe Dunn joined Blazer on the all-tournament squad. The Golden Eagles entered the weekend as the league's No. 4 seed and picked off the top-ranked Pioneers and third-seeded Friars to claim the league's automatic NCAA bid for the second consecutive year. Preisler posted a team-best seven points over the course of the tournament, while sophomore John Wagner played a big part in the semifinal win over Denver with a game-best four goals.
BLAZER SECURES THE CREASE
- Goalie Cole Blazer has continued his stellar play in net during his first full campaign as MU's starter in 2017, culminating in BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player honors last weekend. The junior made a total of 23 saves in the wins over No. 2 Denver and Providence and also contributed to his own cause with a goal as time expired against the Pioneers in the semifinals.
- As of May 7, the junior sits 15th in NCAA Division I with a save percentage of .536 and a goals against average of 8.74 (14th nationally). He is a two-time All-BIG EAST Second Team selection and has also been selected to the All-BIG EAST Championship team as MU won titles in 2016 and 2017.
- 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.
DEFENSE ADJUSTS TO NEW LEADERSHIP
- One of the main tasks for head coach Joe Amplo with the 2017 squad was maintaining a defense that had 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 returned 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*
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 became the first player in program history with 100 goals in the 2017 BIG EAST title game win at Providence:
- 100 career goals (first)
- 149 career points (first)
- 49 career assists (second)
- 399 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. He also broke Tyler Melnyk's single season goal and point standards with 40 and 57, respectively, in 2016.