Marquette Wire

Second half droughts dooming men’s lacrosse

Men%27s+lacrosse+celebrates+a+goal%2C+something+they+haven%27t+done+frequently+in+second+halves.
Men's lacrosse celebrates a goal, something they haven't done frequently in second halves.

Men's lacrosse celebrates a goal, something they haven't done frequently in second halves.

Photo by Austin Anderson

Photo by Austin Anderson

Men's lacrosse celebrates a goal, something they haven't done frequently in second halves.

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Defense was the biggest question mark going into the season for men’s lacrosse, but surprisingly it’s been the offensive production stalling Marquette in big games. Once the team goes into the locker room for halftime, it often feels as if the offense never comes back out.

Second half goal droughts marred all three of Marquette’s losses this season. The most drastic came against Richmond, where the Golden Eagles were held scoreless in the second half in a 9-2 loss. The 12-6 loss to Ohio State saw only one second half goal from the Golden Eagles, which came with 2:11 remaining and the game all but over.

In their loss this weekend to Villanova, the Golden Eagles failed to find the back of the net in the final 19 minutes and 57 seconds of action, allowing the Wildcats to go on a three-goal run and win the game in overtime.

Marquette has scored 45 goals in the first halves of games this season, but only 29 in the second. The dry spells have pushed the Golden Eagles to 50th among 71 DI teams in scoring offense.

“I think it’s maturity,” head coach Joe Amplo said. “It’s these kids’ ability to sustain their confidence, success. They can’t sustain their good play for 60 minutes. … It’s frustrating.”

“I think we have a lot of energy and excitement, and we’re relying a lot on that energy to bring us some power behind our offense early on,” attackman Kyran Clarke said.

Besides the Ohio State game, the drop-off isn’t simply caused by a lack of opportunities. Marquette had 10 shots in the second half against Richmond, but all were handled by Spiders’ goalie Ben Pugh. Marquette missed the net six times in the second half of the Villanova game. The Wildcats’ Nick Testa made a couple impressive saves, but Marquette was forced to take multiple low-percentage looks, including Ryan McNamara’s shot in the final seconds of regulation.

In Marquette’s three losses, the Golden Eagles shooting percentage is a low 12 percent.

“It’s nowhere near where we want it to be,” Clarke said. “A lot of our shots, even though they aren’t turnover shots, we’re not hitting the shots where we need to score. … When we get shots within 10 yards, we can’t have those missing the net.”

However, the offense isn’t panicking. The team hasn’t deviated too far from the original game plan, especially since the Golden Eagles have been always been a methodical offense to begin with. Marquette finished last season just 42nd in scoring, and that was good enough to make the NCAA Tournament.

An extra goal here and there, and Marquette could be in a very different position. If you play the law of averages, the shooting percentage should return to normal with some resume-building opportunities still remaining on the schedule.

“We’re playing pretty good team offense still, even though we’re not hitting the shots,” McNamara said. “We’re getting looks, so if we start canning a couple extra shots we’re not panicking as much and we play a much more free-flowing offense.”

“I think the shots will start to fall, and once they do we’ll find that rhythm,” Clarke said.

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