Men’s lacrosse goes 1-2 in spring break road trip

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics
Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Down by three in the waning moments of the third quarter against the Mercer Bears, the men’s lacrosse team scored six unanswered goals to take control of the game en route to a 14-11 victory, its second of the season.

Redshirt junior attackman Bryan Badolato, who scored all five of his goals in the second half, started the run for the Marquette, scoring three times in a row to tie the game at 10 early in the fourth quarter. Redshirt freshman attackman Kyle Whitlow and freshman midfielder Connor Bernal also helped to the Golden Eagles’ run, tallying two and one goals, respectively. Freshman attackman Brendan Smith said the whole team was energized by the late-game momentum swing.

“The emotion was great on the sideline,” Smith said. “The entire team was getting into it … the offense was just clicking on all cylinders at the end, and they just put some balls away for that six-goal run.”

Marquette’s contest against the Bears was the second of three games the team played over spring break, and it was the only victory of the road trip. First the Golden Eagles fell to Jacksonville 13-7, then they beat Mercer 14-11, and then they finished the trip with a 12-7 loss to Saint Joseph’s. Redshirt freshman defender B.J. Grill said the week full of games was a valuable experience for the young team.

“It was tough to adjust, but it was a good learning experience, and I’m happy we experienced it in the beginning of the season,” Grill said. “We have a tough stretch coming up. We play three games in less than seven days, so we’re going to have to do the same thing over again.”

Amplo attributed Marquette’s poor play against Jacksonville to the team’s maturity level following its big win over Air Force. Another factor that likely contributed to the Golden Eagles’ loss was poor ball security. The team turned the ball over 19 times, but Amplo said he hopes the team stays below 14 or 15 turnovers per game.

Despite the loss, freshman goalie JJ Sagl tallied 15 saves, his highest total of the season, and registered a .536 save percentage, his second best mark this year.

In Marquette’s win over Mercer, freshman attackman Conor Gately led the offense alongside Badolato with two goals and five assists. Gately’s seven point performance is tied for most points in a game by a freshman this season, according to Performax Lacrosse. He also leads the Golden Eagles in points (17) and assists (12) this year, and his 2.4 assists per game average is tied for 11th place in the nation.

Finally, against the Saint Joseph’s Hawks, Marquette trailed by only one goal going into halftime but found itself on the wrong side of a 3-0 run to start the second half. The Golden Eagles cut the lead to two, but the Hawks mounted another 4-1 run to put the game out of reach.

“I don’t know if I could put my finger on exactly why we lost, aside from Saint Joseph’s is a pretty good team,” Amplo said. “We just didn’t fare well, we didn’t play well.”

Following the road trip, the Golden Eagles boast a 2-3 record this season. They have a chance to get to .500 when they travel to Georgetown next Saturday, March 29.