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No. 15 Marquette and No. 16 Duke battle for tournament position

MLL first-overall pick Jones poses tough matchup

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No. 15 Marquette and No. 16 Duke battle for tournament position

Maquette hasn't beaten Duke in three attempts (Photo by Ben Erickson/benjamin.a.erickson@mu.edu)

Maquette hasn't beaten Duke in three attempts (Photo by Ben Erickson/benjamin.a.erickson@mu.edu)

Maquette hasn't beaten Duke in three attempts (Photo by Ben Erickson/benjamin.a.erickson@mu.edu)

Maquette hasn't beaten Duke in three attempts (Photo by Ben Erickson/benjamin.a.erickson@mu.edu)

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No. 15 Marquette faces a Duke team on Friday that finds itself in an unfamiliar position – fighting for a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

The 16th-ranked Blue Devils are 8-6 but boast big wins against No. 11 Loyola (Maryland), No. 8 Syracuse and most recently Virginia, who is receiving votes in the polls.

“They play such a tough schedule and have such high expectations that people get false security,” Amplo said. “You expect them to win 14 or 15 games a year. They’re a great team and they play great teams, so some years they’re not going to win them all.”

Leading Duke is arguably the biggest star in Division I lacrosse, Myles Jones. The top pick in the Major League Lacrosse Draft, Jones is one of the biggest and strongest midfielders in the game. He leads the team with 27 goals and 31 assists in 14 games. Amplo said they have considered moving Liam Byrnes back to long-stick midfield to match up against Jones, but haven’t committed to it yet.

“At the end of the day, we probably need (Jones) to be a little bit off if we’re going to be successful over 60 minutes,” Amplo said. “The best Myles Jones is probably better than anything any team can throw out. He’s that good.”

Duke’s offense is more than just Jones. Deemer Class has a team-leading 41 goals, while Justin Guterding and Jack Bruckner have each eclipsed the 30-goal mark. Duke has the second best scoring offense in Division I lacrosse, behind only Brown.

“Their top six are as good as anybody,” Amplo said. “They’re well-coached, so their spacing is excellent.”

If Marquette wins, it likely punches its ticket to the NCAA Tournament. If the Golden Eagles lose they still have a chance – they’d be in the same position next week against Denver. Even if they lose both, a win in the first round of the BIG EAST Tournament might be enough.

Amplo said the thing Marquette still needs to focus on is cleaning up the mental mistakes, like the turnover at the end of the half against Providence that allowed the Friars to get two goals and momentum back.

“It’s execution,” Amplo said. “If we can just execute a little better, we can be even better than we are. It’s simple lacrosse plays. It’s no big scheme.”

Face-off is set for 6 p.m. from Durham, North Carolina. The game will be streamed through ESPN3.

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About the Writer
Jack Goods, Sports Editor

Jack Goods is the sports editor of the Marquette Wire, covering the men's soccer, basketball and lacrosse teams. He is a senior from Buffalo, New York...

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