Marquette Wire

Notre Dame scores two goals in final 42 seconds to sink MLAX

Zach+Melillo+%28right%29+went+12-of-15+on+faceoffs+against+Notre+Dame+in+a+7-6+loss.
Zach Melillo (right) went 12-of-15 on faceoffs against Notre Dame in a 7-6 loss.

Zach Melillo (right) went 12-of-15 on faceoffs against Notre Dame in a 7-6 loss.

Photo by Maggie Bean via Marquette Athletics

Photo by Maggie Bean via Marquette Athletics

Zach Melillo (right) went 12-of-15 on faceoffs against Notre Dame in a 7-6 loss.

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Marquette’s first program victory against Notre Dame was literally three feet in front of them with 1:16 remaining. The Golden Eagles had a 6-5 lead in the first night outdoor night game at Valley Fields.

“We had three feet to go to call a timeout,” Marquette head coach Joe Amplo said. “All our player had to do was get across that time line.”

But redshirt sophomore Nick Singleton instead committed a costly turnover when he stepped out of bounds. The No.14/15 Fighting Irish responded with two goals in the final 42 seconds, including one with 15 seconds left to sink Marquette, 7-6.

“Unfortunately, his teammate didn’t clear a through form,” Amplo said. “That’s just a mental breakdown between two players who have seen that play a thousand times and they’ve got to learn from that,”

“In the big moment, Notre Dame stepped up, and Marquette didn’t,” Amplo said.

Bryan Costabile scored the first of the two goals in that span for Notre Dame (6-4). Less than 30 seconds later, Ryder Garnsey scored the game-winner following a pass from Pierre Bryne and fired it past Marquette goalie Cole Blazer.

The goal did not come without controversy, however. After Notre Dame won the ensuing faceoff, junior longstick midfielder Noah Richard whacked the ball out of an Irish midfielder’s stick and grabbed the ground ball. However, the referees said Notre Dame called a timeout before Richard jarred the ball loose. It gave Notre Dame one more possession, and they made the most of it.

It was a heartbreaking end for Marquette (5-5, 2-1 BIG EAST), who now remain winless against the Irish in seven tries. Marquette had a 25-15 advantage in ground balls, 12-3 advantage in faceoofs and caused five turnovers, but the final 42 seconds negated Marquette’s domination in those stats.

The loss was especially hard to take for senior faceoff specialist Zach Melillo. The all-time leader in faceoff percentage lived up to the billing, going 12 of 15 from the dot.

“It’s very frustrating,” Melillo said. “I mean, this is my senior year; this is my last shot I have at Notre Dame, the perennial power.”

Marquette came out of the gates hot, grabbing a 3-1 lead at the end of the first quarter and had a 4-3 lead heading into the break, but most of the drama unfolded in the final minutes.

“The guys were on fire, and then, like any game goes, it’s a roller coaster,” Melillo said. “You’ve got your highs, you’ve got your lows, and unfortunately, we ended on the low.”

Griffin Fleming tied the game at 5-5 with an assist coming from junior defenseman Brendon Connolly with 9:40 remaining in the game. Less than three minutes later, junior attackman John Wagner gave Marquette a 6-5 lead with 7:24 remaining in the game. It would remain 6-5 until Singleton’s turnover.

Marquette played stout defense all game until the final two possessions.

“We lack experience, so we were a couple (of) plays late in the game,” Melillo said. “(We made) some other mistakes, subbing issues, which led to a goal by one of their defensemen. It’s a lack of experience and game knowledge. With time comes experience, with that comes results.”

The Golden Eagles will not have much time to dwell on the loss, as they gear up for Providence on senior day Saturday afternoon.

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