Marquette faces hefty challenge in opener at Lehigh

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Photo by Valeria Cardenas/valeria.cardenas@marquette.edu

Marquette lacrosse is making a habit of opening its season with a big test. For the second season in row, the Golden Eagles will kick off their schedule against No. 16 Lehigh Saturday.

“We want to play the best,” coach Joe Amplo said. “I can’t think of any better way (to start) than playing a team we are trying to catch. We want to be known as a top 15 team here sometime soon. If we want to talk like that, we’ve got to lineup and play them.”

Junior attackman Conor Gately echoed his sentiments.

“What else can you ask for,” Gately said. “You want to play the best teams in the country.”

“It’s going to be a good test, especially going on the road,” said graduate student attackman Jordan Greenfield. “It really shows if everyone is going to be on board right away.”

If Marquette hopes to win, it will likely need to shut down the star of Lehigh lacrosse, senior attackman Dan Taylor. The Calgary, Alberta native finished first in the Patriot League in scoring with 47 goals and 29 assists last season. Amplo sees the 6-foot-3 scorer as an All-American candidate.

“He is scary,” Amplo said. “Watching him on tape, he’s very impressive. I’m not sure the right way to defend him.”

Usually when Marquette matches up with an attackman of Taylor’s caliber, he is assigned to redshirt junior defenseman B.J. Grill. However, Amplo believes it isn’t the right fit this time.

“B.J. and I spoke about this on Saturday,” Amplo said. “(Taylor) is very big, and B.J. is not. Dan is not a quick attackman. He’s a big, strong dodger. He can do a lot of things off the ball, off the pick and roll. B.J.’s strengths aren’t brought to light in that.”

Amplo said he sees Grill’s role as shutting down the players trying to get the ball to Taylor. Lehigh coach Kevin Cassese announced yesterday that junior attackman Patrick Corbett was one of three players who are no longer enrolled after a drunken fight. Corbett terrorized Marquette’s defense last season, scoring four of his 33 total goals against the Golden Eagles. Also suspended are junior midfielder Alex Eaton and junior defenseman David “Tripp” Telesco.

Grill said senior defenseman Logan Tousaw will be used heavily on Taylor, but he stressed the importance of the overall unit to shutting him down.

“It’s a team effort,” Grill said. “We consider our defense more of a system defense… It’s about the team over my individual matchup.”

Marquette fell to Lehigh 13-6 last season, rocketed ahead by unanswered five and six goal runs. However, many players on Marquette believe the Golden Eagles were capable of more.

“We did not play well against them, particularly defensively,” Grill said. “We have a chip on our shoulder. We want to show that we are a good enough team to compete against them. It’s definitely an edge, because we got our tails kicked by them.”

The two teams battle in Bethlehem, Penn., at 11 a.m. Saturday. The game will be streamed online through the Patriot League.

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