PREVIEW: Marquette heads to Durham for a battle with the Duke Blue Devils


Photo by Kate Holstein

Marquette men’s lacrosse (6-5, 3-1 BIG EAST) is preparing for battle in unfamiliar territory in Durham, North Carolina for a brawl with the No. 3 Duke Blue Devils (11-2, 3-1 ACC) at 6 p.m. central time.

The Golden Eagles are coming off a 12-11 overtime victory against the Providence Friars last weekend.  Marquette was trailing Providence 11-7 with 1:37 minutes left to go in the final quarter and scored four goals to force overtime, including a buzzer-beater from freshman Griffin Fleming. Junior John Wagner went on to score the game-winning goal just over a minute into extra time.

It wasn’t just the players who were stunned by Marquette’s unbelievable comeback. Head Coach Joe Amplo was getting calls from his friends, too.

“Everyone in the lacrosse world who knows me reached out to me one way or another,” Amplo said. “It was exciting, and I know that our time will come when we’ll be on the other side of that at some point. So, we’ll be satisfied that we got the luck on our side this time.”

It’s safe to say Duke won’t be an easy matchup for Marquette’s young squad. After dropping a close conference opener to Syracuse, Duke has rattled off three consecutive victories, including an 18-13 win against Virginia its last game. It’s going to be difficult for Marquette to keep up with Duke senior attackman Justin Guterding and junior midfielder Brad Smith. Guterding currently leads the team in scoring with 43 goals and 34 assists, followed by Smith with 21 goals and 20 assists.

Marquette has already clinched a spot in the BIG EAST Tournament, so Amplo isn’t overly worried about the result in Marquette’s next two games against Duke and Denver.

“Duke and Denver are what we all aspire to be,” Amplo said. “The next two games really have no consequence, though. We certainly would love to beat Duke, we’d certainly love to beat Denver and we’re going to try and do both of those things, but at the end of the day, we know that we have at least one more opportunity to play with a lot of meaning.”