The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

PREVIEW: MLAX looks to clinch first BIG EAST regular season title at No.4/4 Denver

Photo by Helen Dudley
Connor McClelland is second on the team with 14 goals.

The men’s lacrosse team (6-6, 3-1 BIG EAST) heads to Colorado for their final game of the regular season against No. 4/4 Denver Pioneers (10-2, 4-0 BIG EAST).

The game has considerable implications for Marquette’s postseason opportunity as a win will give them the No.1 overall seed in next weekend’s BIG EAST Tournament. Georgetown and Villanova are looking to secure the No.3 and 4 slots to round out the tournament with 2-2 records.

Marquette can still finish in any of the top four slot and the scenario would only get more complicated if the Golden Eagles lose. If Marquette falls to Denver, Georgetown beats St. John’s and Villanova defeats Providence, the Golden Eagles would slip to fourth by way of a mini-conference with the Hoyas and Wildcats. Marquette would slip due to a minus-four goal differential in the three-team mini-conference.

The Golden Eagles are coming off a disheartening 17-5 loss against then No.3 Duke Blue Devils in which senior attackman Justin Guterding registered six points, scoring four times. Griffin Fleming led Marquette in scoring, totaling two goals on the night.

Head Coach Joe Amplo said earlier last week that the Golden Eagles were preparing their young squad for the Big East tournament, and this upcoming game against Denver will give Marquette a lot of insight on what to expect from conference foes.

“We certainly would love to beat Denver at Denver and try to clinch first place,” Amplo said. “At the end of the day, we know we’ve got at least one more opportunity to play with a lot of meaning, so we’ve got to do everything we can to prepare our team to get better the next two and a half weeks.

The Golden Eagles will need to prioritize shutting down sophomore attack, Ethan Walker, in order to help their chances on Saturday. Walker leads the Pioneers in scoring with 41 goals and 18 assists on the season. An additional worry is at the faceoff dot where faceoff specialist Trevor Baptiste has won 77 percent of his faceoffs this season. Meanwhile, Marquette’s own faceoff specialist senior Zach Melillo has been brilliant in stints, winning 18-of-24 against St. John’s and 15-of-18 against Notre Dame. Melillo went 14-of-26 last week against Duke.

For Marquette, junior attackman John Wagner, and sophomore midfielder Connor McClelland will need to be on their best game offensively as the Pioneers have one of the best defenses in the nation, averaging 12.58 goals per game.

Amplo knows how big of a test it is for his team, but he feels that after a week of preparation, he is trying to compete for more history, as Marquette could win a regular season championship for the first time in program history.

“We have to get better and have our young kids get more reps at what they need to do late in the season,” Amplo said.

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *