Ugly win for Marquette against Providence

Infographic by Rob Gebelhoff
Infographic by Rob Gebelhoff/robert.gebelhoff@marquette.edu

Saturday was not the prettiest lacrosse game ever, but the Marquette men’s team held on to defeat Providence 7-6.

Weather delays became the storyline even before the game started, as lightning in the area suspended warm ups and play a little more than five minutes in.

Prior to the delay, Marquette (5-8, 3-1) played some of its best lacrosse of the year. The Providence (3-10, 0-4) defense could not stay in front of the Golden Eagle attackers, and they took advantage of it. Freshman midfielder Ryan McNamara struck first and  seven seconds later, redshirt senior attackman Bryan Badolato scored from the faceoff for an early two-goal lead.

Badolato added another goal, but then the horn sounded signaling the lightning delay with 9:25 left in the first quarter and a 48-minute delay commenced.

When play finally resumed, things got ugly. Providence had a few long possessions and came out with goals on most of them. Marquette, on the other hand, could not make sense of the defense and struggled to clear and even pass. By halftime, Marquette was stuck in a 26-minute scoreless streak and Providence tied the game at three.

“It was pretty tough going back in after waiting a half-hour to come back out and play, especially when we had the momentum with us,” Badolato said. “We’re missing Tyler (Melnyk) out there a little but I thought, as a team, we played well enough to win and that’s what’s important.”

After nearly 30 minutes without scoring, the sun emerged from the clouds and appeared to change the momentum of the game. Off of a Providence turnover, freshman midfielder Noah Joseph ran downfield, called his own number and scored on a bouncer for the transition goal. Once again, Marquette took the momentum from the goal and ran with it. Thirty seconds after Joseph’s strike, sophomore attackman Conor Gately put his name on the stat sheet.

Badolato and Gately each added one each minutes later and two-thirds of the way through the third quarter, the Golden Eagles had a commanding 7-3 lead. But again, struggles allowed the Friars to rally.

Slowly, Providence closed the gap. At the start of the fourth, Providence scored quickly to pull within two. Moments later, freshman goaltender Jimmy Danaher sprawled for the point blank kick save to retain the two-goal lead.

Danaher played strong down the stretch. His save in the final minute not only secured the win, but marked a career best 15 saves for the freshman. His 15 saves are a career best, and he also earned Big East Defensive Player of the Week honors for the first time.

“Defense was just giving me good shots,” Danaher said. “It’s a learning experience. I feel like I’ve grown every single game and really matured and I think it shows on the field.”

Marquette is no stranger to close games. Seven of its 13 games this season had a score differential of three goals or less. Winning close games shows the character and grittiness of the team and the ability to play through the final whistle. However, tightening up play is key as well heading into a potential postseason berth.

With two games remaining, the Golden Eagles have not qualified for the Big East tournament. If the team defeats Georgetown next Saturday, then it is in for sure. If they lose the final two, their overall record along with tiebreakers will decide who goes to the postseason.

“We control our own destiny,” coach Joe Amplo said. “I haven’t looked at the scenarios yet, but certainly I’m proud of the guys for getting three wins in the conference right now.”

The final home game of the season is at 1 p.m. Saturday at Hart Park when Marquette faces Georgetown.