Amplo, three players face familiar competition

Lacrosse faces familiar foes in at Hofstra.
Lacrosse faces familiar foes at Hofstra.

The men’s lacrosse team will take on the Hofstra Pride and the Pennsylvania Quakers in its final preseason tune-up Saturday at Hofstra’s James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.

For coach Joe Amplo, Saturday’s exhibitions will be a homecoming, as he played four years of varsity lacrosse at Hofstra and was on the Pride coaching staff for another 11 years. Amplo also spent one year of his coaching career away from Hofstra, when he coincidentally took the assistant coaching job at Pennsylvania in 2002.

(Going back to Hofstra) is going to be exciting,” Amplo said. “It’s certainly a comfortable venue for me. It’s going to bring back some great memories. But at the end of the day, it’s just another opportunity for our team to compete against two great institutions.”

Additionally, redshirt junior Cullen Cassidy, redshirt sophomore James Raveret and redshirt junior Jerry Nobile all started their careers with the Pride before transferring to Marquette. Nobile said he is looking forward to going back and competing against his old teammates.

I’m pretty excited about it, mostly because I get to see all of my close friends and all of the guys I came in with freshman year,” Nobile said. “They’re all seniors now, and we’ve stayed best friends ever since, so I’m excited to play them again.”

Marquette will need to focus on more than its reunions this weekend, as the Pride enter the season ranked No. 20 by the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Coaches poll and No. 17 by Inside Lacrosse. Cassidy said Saturday’s exhibition will give the Golden Eagles a chance to see how they compare to one of the nation’s top teams.

Hofstra is a great team. They’re top-25 year-in and year-out,” he said. “It will be good for the team to see what it’s like going against that kind of talent. It’ll be a good learning experience and hopefully we can do well.”

Although they are not projected to be as successful as Hofstra this season, the Quakers are no slouch. As one of the oldest lacrosse programs in the country, Pennsylvania is entering its 96th season of competition. In the last 10 years, the Quakers have finished in the top half of the Ivy League four times.

Amplo said that since Saturday’s games are merely exhibitions, he and his team are not scouting specific opposing players. However, he said the coaching staff is analyzing some of Hofstra’s and Pennsylvania’s game tendencies to see how the players handle a game plan.

Unlike last weekend, Amplo expects both games to go the full four quarters, but they will be constrained by a 90-minute time limit. Amplo said he wants the team to do a better job turning defense into offense than it did against Michigan and Denison.

Last week, we didn’t do such a good job in the full-field aspect,” Amplo said. “In our clearing game, I thought we were less than sub-par, so if we can start there, if we can clear the ball better than we did last week, that would give us some better offensive possessions and less time on defense.”

Following the games this weekend, Marquette will have nearly two weeks to prepare for its regular season opener in Columbus, Ohio, against Ohio State on Saturday, Feb. 23.