Men’s lacrosse splits Midwest Lacrosse Classic


Photo by Austin Anderson

Nick Grill guards a Detroit Mercy attackman during Marquette’s game Sunday.

Men’s lacrosse split the weekend in the Midwest Lacrosse Classic, falling Friday to No. 20 Ohio State 12-6 and downing Detroit Mercy Sunday 8-6.

“I just told the guys in the locker room, ‘We’ve set the bar so high for this program, and rightfully so,'” head coach Joe Amplo said. “That expectation is a good thing and a bad thing. I think we’re starting to feel that a bit. It’s hard for those guys. There’s external expectation. There’s internal expectation. That’s a tough thing to manage as an 18 to 22-year old kid.”

The loss to Ohio State was the second straight to a top-20 opponent, and poor second halves doomed the team in both games. After getting shutout in the second half by Richmond, Marquette scored only one goal against Ohio State in the final two frames.

The Buckeyes scored nine unanswered goals, with Marquette only responding in the final three minutes of the game.

One of the main reasons for Marquette’s lack of scoring was a lack of possessions, starting with a poor outing at the faceoff-X. The Golden Eagles played without Zack Melillo, the team’s starting faceoff specialist, since he suffered an injury during the Richmond game. Without him the team won only six of 22 draws.

“The middle of the field for them, they dominated,” Amplo said. “We couldn’t get possession of the ball, and when we did we were successful.”

The Golden Eagles got out to an early 5-3 lead thanks to three Tanner Thomson goals in the first 18 minutes. However, Ohio State held Marquette off the board for nearly half an hour, allowing the Buckeyes to take a commanding lead. Marquette goalie Cole Blazer was peppered, making a program-record 18 saves.

Thomson was Marquette’s only multi-goal scorer. Andy DeMichiei, Ryan McNamara and Griffin Connor scored Marquette’s other three goals.

Marquette moved back to .500 with the Detroit Mercy victory, but it wasn’t as one-sided as expected. Marquette was ranked in Inside Lacrosse’s Top 20 at the start of the season, while Detroit Mercy was in the mid-60s.

The Golden Eagles never trailed against Detroit Mercy, but the game was never out of hand. Marquette’s largest lead was three.

DeMichiei and Kyran Clarke each scored a pair of goals against Detroit Mercy. Melillo returned to the field and won 10-of-18 faceoffs, but Marquette’s offense still struggled to beat Detroit’s goalie Jason Weber.

“I still don’t think we’re there when it comes to execution,” senior midfielder Robbie Pisano said. “There’s still some mistakes, not getting into our sets, little things.”

The games were a part of the Midwest Lacrosse Classic, a yearly event featuring Marquette, Ohio State, Detroit Mercy and Bellarmine. This was the third incarnation of the weekend and the first hosted by Marquette.

“Credit to Marquette and the staff here for hosting four teams on what is a very busy weekend in Milwaukee with the BIG EAST Tournament for the women and the men playing yesterday,” Amplo said.

Marquette returns to action Friday at Robert Morris.