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Golden Eagles continue undefeated streak at Midwest Lacrosse Classic

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Photo courtesy of Alicia Mojica

Photo courtesy of Alicia Mojica

No. 15/13 Marquette left the first annual Midwest Lacrosse Classic weekend Sunday with two more victories in its pocket and further proof it deserves its ranking.

In typical Marquette fashion, it didn’t come easily. After doubling up the Detroit Titans Friday in an unusual blowout game, the Golden Eagles needed a 4th quarter shut out and a five-goal run against Ohio State to keep their undefeated streak alive.

Sophomore attackman Kyran Clarke scored with 13 seconds to put Marquette ahead for the first time that afternoon. For those who have watched the team all season, the incredible comeback almost felt expected. Marquette and crunch time are beginning to become one in the same.

“I’m not going to say it gets easier, but we know how to handle the situation,” said redshirt junior Liam Byrnes, who was named to the Big East honor roll yesterday. “We know we can’t get down on each other late in the game.”

Even with the go-ahead victory, Marquette needed one more defensive stop to leave victorious. Ohio State senior midfielder Jesse King executed a behind-the-back pass to junior attackman Carter Brown in the waning seconds, but sophomore goalkeeper Jimmy Danaher snagged the game-clinching save.

“I can honestly say I wasn’t expecting it,” Danaher said. “I just don’t think Carter Brown had enough time to really make a move, so he had to get it off.”

The Golden Eagles are now 8-1 in one-goal games in program history and have come back from at least a four-goal deficit three times this season.

If the comeback looks inexplicable on the scoreboard, it is even more so when looking at the boxscore. Ohio State dominated the faceoff game, winning 19-of-23 face-offs. The Buckeyes controlled possession for a majority of the game, and outshot Marquette 38-22.

All signs point to the nature of the Golden Eagles’ victories being unsustainable, but coach Joe Amplo believes it is simply a measure of the team’s mental makeup.

“I worry about a lot of things, but the one thing I don’t worry about is our toughness and our resiliency,” Amplo said.

The victory pushes the Golden Eagles up two spots in the USILA Coaches’ poll and three spots up in the media poll. Marquette, now 7-0, is one of eight remaining undefeated teams in Division I lacrosse. The Golden Eagles are the only undefeated team in the Big East Conference.

The upcoming weekend features a pair of games as part of the team’s southern spring break trip. The Golden Eagles return to action against Jacksonville Friday at 6 p.m. and drive up to Macon, Georgia, to play the Mercer Bears at 2 p.m. Sunday.

The team hopes playing two games in one weekend will prepare it for the same experience this week.

“It was good to get used to what it’s like on the road, all the film, the practice and the recovery that’s needed,” Byrnes said.

The Golden Eagles will be favorites in both games, but Jacksonville did defeat Marquette by one goal last season. If Marquette continues its undefeated streak this weekend, it could enter the early conversation for an at-large bid for this year’s tournament.

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