Men’s lacrosse holds on to beat Providence

Video by Patrick Thomas

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Men’s lacrosse holds on to beat Providence

(Photo courtesy of Doug Bierer/Marquette Athletics)

(Photo courtesy of Doug Bierer/Marquette Athletics)

(Photo courtesy of Doug Bierer/Marquette Athletics)

(Photo courtesy of Doug Bierer/Marquette Athletics)

Jack Goods

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Marquette’s game against Providence looked like a blowout nearly the entire first half. The Golden Eagles scored the first seven goals, and with less than a minute to go before the break Marquette was holding onto the ball for the final shot.

Then there was miscommunication between Ryan McNamara and Blaine Fleming, causing a turnover at the midfield. Providence took advantage with a goal from Kevin Blair with 17 seconds left. The Friars won the following faceoff and scored once again, this time with only two seconds remaining.

“I thought that was everything,” said Marquette head coach Joe Amplo. “If we go into halftime 7-0, I’m not sure they come out with as much life as they had.”

Providence regained momentum, but not enough to dig themselves out of the first half hole. Marquette held on for an 8-7 victory despite getting outscored 7-1 down the stretch.

“They’re a good defensive team,” Amplo said. “The first half was a little bit of an anomaly with how successful we were. To go up that much that early to that team, that was a surprise to me. I thought it was going to be a one-goal game, and over the course of 60 minutes it turned out to be that way.”

Grant Preisler scored two goals in his first start of the season. McNamara and Kyran Clarke each scored two as well.

Marquette finishes the home season undefeated at Valley Fields, the first year they have played home games on campus. The Golden Eagles honored their 19-man senior class, the largest in Division I lacrosse, and the five fifth-year seniors who have been a part of every Marquette event: Liam Byrnes, Tyler Gilligan, B.J. Grill, Dan Mojica and Kyle Whitlow.

“It’s been such a journey from the beginning until now,” Grill said. “I’m walking off the field with my mom and she’s crying. I see Liam walking behind me. His mom is crying. Everyone knows how hard it was to get to this point right now. We weren’t expecting to play lacrosse. We weren’t expecting to play competitive Division I lacrosse. We just bought into the process and brought into each other.”

“What a great day for our seniors and for Marquette in general,” Amplo said. “That place was jam packed. It was loud. It was beautiful out. If you’re a fan sitting in the crowd I don’t know how you don’t enjoy that game.”

Marquette’s Cole Blazer had another solid game in net, making eight saves. He wasn’t tested too often in the first half, facing only one shot on goal in the first quarter, but made a handful of point-blank saves like he has in his four starts thus far.

“I kept telling my defense every time we scored, “Hey just stay on it. Be ready for the ball to come down,” Blazer said.

The Golden Eagles play their final non-conference game of the season Friday, taking on No. 16 Duke. The Blue Devils are 7-6 and fighting for a spot in the tournament.

“They’re a fantastic team,” Grill said. “They’re a 7-6 team that could be a top-five team if a few bounces go their way. They have immense talent and we’re just happy to go into Durham and take them on.”

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