Sloppy fourth quarter dooms Men’s Lax against Notre Dame

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Sloppy fourth quarter dooms Men’s Lax against Notre Dame

Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Images

Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Images

Photo by Maggie Casey

Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Images

Photo by Maggie Casey

Photo by Maggie Casey

Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Images

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Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Images

Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Images

For the first three quarters the Marquette men’s lacrosse team looked as if it was going to upset No. 8 Notre Dame, however, the Fighting Irish pounced on the Golden Eagles’ fourth quarter mistakes and won comfortably by a score of 12-7.

For the second game in a row, a sloppy final frame hurt the team. Down 9-6 heading into the final stanza, the Golden Eagles hoped to rally. When sophomore attackman Conor Gately scored off a rebound to pull within two, a comeback looked imminent.

Then the offense went cold.

Both sides of the ball had lapses. The offense made simple mistakes and the defense played uncharacteristically. Notre Dame took advantage of the lapses and made Marquette pay.

Coach Joe Amplo said he believes the team only really competed for three of the four quarters.

“Our kids fought and (Notre Dame) made more plays than us in the fourth quarter,” Amplo said. “Our kids have got to learn that in these games, we have to be cleaner in the fourth quarter because against a really good team, when we make simple mistakes, they’re going to capitalize. Great effort, I’m really proud of our kids, but disappointed because I felt like we had an opportunity to win today.”

Both teams came out of the gate slowly. The game was scoreless for the first nine minutes until sophomore midfielder Kyle Whitlow opened the scoring. After Notre Dame added one of its own, the score stood 1-1 at the end of the first.

Marquette notched one more before intermission, but not before the Fighting Irish added three unanswered goals. At the half, the Golden Eagles trailed 4-2.

Scoring soared in the third quarter. A combined nine goals between the two squads had the game heading toward an exciting conclusion; however, the Fighting Irish scored three more goals and cruised to a 12-7 victory.

“The effort was there, but we didn’t complete some things in the fourth quarter that gave them the lead,” Whitlow said. “Compared to last year we made some big steps and we have to look forward to Providence and clean up our play a little bit.”

Scoring threats mixed up the game as Marquette played without its leading scorer, redshirt senior attackman Tyler Melnyk, who was sidelined with a hand injury. The Fighting Irish were full force, but Marquette still managed to hold attackman Matt Kavanagh scoreless.

This is the second consecutive game where the defense, particularly redshirt sophomore defender BJ Grill, prevented a top scorer from getting on the board.

“(Kavanagh) is another Kieran McArdle,” Grill said. “It’s a complete defensive effort when you play against him. I did my job but our guys covered up inside whenever he had the ball and we shut him down playing the Marquette way. It was a complete team effort.”

With non-conference play in the books, all that’s left for the Golden Eagles is three Big East match-ups. Two home games against Providence and Georgetown and the season finale at Denver are all the team has to qualify for the conference tournament.

Sitting in second place, Marquette can almost guarantee themselves a place in the tournament with at least two wins. However, the final stretch will not be easy.

“The Big East comes first for us,” Grill said. “We’re 4-8 right now but in reality our record is 2-1 and our expectation is to win the next couple of games and go into Denver with a 4-1 record.”

The first ever homestand for Marquette rolls on this weekend as it faces Providence Saturday at noon.

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