Marquette faces tough challenge at No. 1 Notre Dame

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Marquette faces tough challenge at No. 1 Notre Dame

Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Images

Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Images

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Images

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean/Marquette Images

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No. 15/16 Marquette men’s lacrosse coach Joe Amplo always says to be the best, you have to play with the best. Tomorrow afternoon the Golden Eagles will be doing just that, when they face the No. 1/1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at South Bend.

“What better opportunity for us towards the latter half of our season to challenge ourselves,” Amplo said. “We’ve got nothing to lose.”

“It’s a game that’s going to define our season,” redshirt junior defenseman B.J. Grill said. “It’s a huge opportunity to show the country what we’re about.”

Marquette hung with Notre Dame last season, and was only down 9-7 in the fourth quarter. The Irish went on a three goal run to win the game 12-7. The team was without leading scorer Tyler Melnyk, who was injured.

“We went toe-to-toe with them for 55 minutes,” Grill said. “We understand them and that if we play our A-game we have an opportunity to compete.”

The Fighting Irish are coming off two very impressive wins against the No. 2 Syracuse Orange and the No. 7 Duke Blue Devils. The Syracuse-Notre Dame game was a battle of the number one and number two ranked teams, with the Irish in the second spot at that point. Senior midfielder Jack Near scored in double overtime, switching the teams’ rankings. Saturday’s game was less down to the wire, as the Irish won 15-10.

The player to watch for Notre Dame is a serious Tewaaraton contender, junior attackman Matt Kavanagh. He has the capability to take over a game, like he did last season in a seven goal effort against Ohio State. The last time the Golden Eagles played Notre Dame Grill held Kavanagh to no goals and three assists.

The Golden Eagles are entering low-risk high-reward stretch of their schedule, featuring Tuesday’s game and Duke and Denver at home. Grill said the ball is in their court, the pressure will be on their opponents. However, Marquette may need to win one of the three if the team hopes to enter the at-large conversation again due to the loss to Bellarmine.

“We’re up for the challenge,” graduate student attackman Jordan Greenfield said. “We’re not going in trying to keep it a close game. We’re going in with a mentality to win the game.”

The two teams will faceoff Tuesday at 3 pm at Arlotta Stadium. This is the first time Marquette has played the top ranked team. The Golden Eagles are 2-0 against ranked opponents this season, with victories over then-No. 18/16 Lehigh and then-No. 17/19 Hofstra.

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