Men’s lacrosse coach Joe Amplo said the ball would be in junior attackman John Wagner’s stick frequently this season on offense. “He’s accepted it, and I think he likes it,” Amplo said.
That was exactly the case Saturday afternoon at Valley Fields, as Wagner scored the game-winning goal with 7.4 seconds remaining in an 11-10 victory over Jacksonville.
“(Wagner) was voted captain yesterday by his peers,” Amplo said after the game. “Today proved that he deserved that title, and I’m proud of him. Everybody was looking to him to make a play and he did.”
The game-winning goal came as a result of a Jacksonville shot clock violation. With under 30 seconds to go, Amplo called a timeout and designed the play to be in Wagner’s hands.
“I was playing well against (Mack Dickie) all game … I got the ball back, and I kind of got lucky with them giving me the middle,” Wagner said. “And I took it, closed my eyes and shot.”
Questions loomed heading into this season for Marquette (1-0) after losing six of seven starters and three on attack, but they were answered through freshman attackman Anthony Orsini and sophomore midfielder Connor McClelland.
Orsini scored his first two collegiate goals while McClelland picked up the offensive lull, scoring four times.
While the ending to the game produced a dramatic finish, a revamped Jacksonville squad came out with something to prove after losing 17-1 to Marquette last year.
Heading into the fourth quarter, it was tied at 6-6, but Marquette and Jacksonville combined for nine goals, with four from Jacksonville. It seemed that the Golden Eagles would pull away on two different times, but each time, the Dolphins leaned on McLean Chicquean and Will Hendrick, who finished with a goal and an assist.
For Jacksonville, leading scorer Eric Applegate finished with his third straight hat trick and ended the day with five points, which included a game-tying goal with less than three minutes remaining. It was one of two multi-goal deficits Jacksonville came back from Saturday.
“Coach (John) Galloway has done a great job with that program,” Amplo said. “They played with a tremendous amount of energy and the fight that I hope our team shows through the year. That’s what I told our guys right after the game. I told them, ‘Look those kids in the eye,’ because they showed us how to fight on a lacrosse field.”
Amplo, Wagner, Orsini and freshman attacker Keaton Thomson all described Jacksonville’s fight as “gritty.”
“They are one of those teams that have got something to prove,” Thomson said. “Last year we beat them by a good margin, so this year they obviously wanted to come back and fire as hard as they could. They definitely showed that they can play with us.”
Senior midfielder Colin Riehl and sophomore midfielder Peter Henkhaus also recorded goals in the win for the Golden Eagles. Senior goalie Cole Blazer made five saves in the win.
Marquette will travel to Detroit, Michigan next weekend where they will play Detroit-Mercy.