The men’s lacrosse team will seek its first win in more than a month when it travels to High Point, N.C., to take on the High Point Panthers Saturday at noon.
The Panthers, who are 3-9 overall in their first season, have already beaten Michigan, Towson and Mercer in their inaugural season. Marquette coach Joe Amplo stressed the importance of this game as an opportunity for his players to earn their third win and rebound from a week in which they played two of the nation’s top five teams.
“This is the next game on the schedule after a tough stretch, and it’s a program that is starting out the same time we are,” Amplo said. “We’ve measured ourselves against the best; now let’s measure ourselves against someone who has done the same exact thing that we have to see where we are against them.”
Redshirt sophomore midfielder Connor Hewett agreed with Amplo about moving forward from last week, adding that the Golden Eagles have already beaten High Point in an exhibition.
“We played them in the fall, and we got the better of them then, but it really has more to do with how we respond from those last two big losses,” Hewett said. “But playing another team that’s a new program, getting that win would be huge for us.”
Redshirt freshman defender Liam Byrnes said he and his teammates are aware that High Point may be looking for revenge from the first meeting, but he expects Marquette’s experience against some of the nation’s top teams to be the difference. He said the Golden Eagles will need to play with the same intensity and urgency as they did last week against Notre Dame and Denver to win.
“We can’t play to the level of competition of the team we’re playing,” Byrnes said. “We played pretty well against Denver in the first half, defensively. We need to keep that up against High Point throughout the whole game. If we play our way, we should be pretty good.”
Like Marquette, High Point tested itself against some of the power teams across the lacrosse landscape. Just last week, the Panthers faced off against No. 9/7 Duke and only trailed by two at half before losing by 11.
High Point also has one of the best freshman attackmen in the country in Dan Lomas. His 32 goals this season are tied for fourth in the nation and are more than any other underclassmen. Additionally, Lomas’ mark of 2.67 goals per game is tied for ninth in the country. Amplo said the Golden Eagles will have their hands full in limiting Lomas’ production.
“They have one of the best left-handed attackmen in the country,” Amplo said of Lomas. “They do everything to try to get him the ball. He is a very good shooter, and he is a very good off-ball player.”
However, when Lomas struggles offensively, High Point suffers. In the four games in which Lomas only scored one goal or none at all, the Panthers scored a combined 23 goals (5.75 per game). In the eight games in which he scored multiple times, High Point has a combined 77 goals. (9.63 per game).
Byrnes said he and his teammates are up to the challenge Lomas presents on the defensive end. He reiterated the importance of this game to the team.
“Our coach said this game coming up is going to be our Super Bowl,” Byrnes said. “It is a way to show that we are better than High Point. We’ve come further, we’ve worked harder. This game means a lot.”