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Men’s lacrosse falls in season opener

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Photo by Maggie Casey/Marquette Images

Photo by Maggie Casey/Marquette Images

With the game tied at 2-2 early in the first quarter, Lehigh went on an 11-4 run to close the game and defeat the Marquette men’s lacrosse team 13-6 in the season opener.

Lehigh (2-0) jumped into the lead early by taking advantage at the faceoff. The first two possessions of the game went to the Mountain Hawks and they converted on both to go up 2-0.

When Marquette (0-1) finally earned possession, redshirt senior attackman Tyler Melnyk took over, scoring back-to-back goals to knot the game at two. Lehigh would add one more before the end of the first quarter and took a 3-2 lead into the second.

The Mountain Hawks took over the game in the second quarter and led for the remainder of the contest.

Marquette did not win a faceoff until the third quarter, off of which sophomore attackman Conor Gately scored. However that momentum was halted by six straight goals for Lehigh. The faceoff specialists went 0-12 in the first half and 4-15 on the day. The team went 4-22 on faceoffs overall.

The lack of faceoff wins allowed for very few offensive chances and Lehigh gained more time of possession than Marquette. This issue was heightened by poor ground ball numbers. The Golden Eagles lost the ground ball battle 36-18, which hurt time of possession and kept Marquette from attacking against the strong Lehigh defense.

Despite few possessions, the offense’s conversion rate was fairly decent. The team scored six goals on only 14 offensive possessions. Coach Joe Amplo was proud of these statistics but knows that the team needs the ball to score.

“To give up 13 goals to (Lehigh) and probably be on defense 70 percent of the time is pretty good,” Amplo said. “If we could have controlled the middle of the field a little bit better, I think it would have been a different game.”

With the ball in Marquette’s defensive end the majority of the game, senior goalie JJ Sagl was a sitting duck. He only made four stops on 17 shots on goal and struggled with high shots throughout the game.

Sophomore midfielder Blaine Fleming thought the defense played well under the circumstances. Facing a nationally ranked squad is never easy and Fleming said the players were proud of the way they played.

“Defensively we put up a good fight,” Fleming said. “We were all individually proud of the defense. They did really well for the amount of offensive possessions that Lehigh had and how the defense played against them was very impressive.”

Overall, the team played well in the season opener. There were times the team looked young, but freshman midfielder Ryan McNamara, who made his first career start Saturday, said he believes the team played well enough for the first game and expects improvement down the road.

“Both sides played good on the ball,” McNamara said. “We just could have used few more faceoffs and we need to pick it up in the ground ball battle. We need be at least even (in the ground ball battle) if not win it. It was the big thing that made us lose that game.”

Possession and ground balls will be an emphasis in practice this week as the team prepares for a weekend matchup against Amplo’s alma mater Hofstra, where three Marquette players transferred from last year.

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