Men’s lacrosse entered Friday night’s matchup against No. 12 Denver with plenty at stake, including Marquette’s spot in the BIG EAST Tournament.
The Golden Eagles played with urgency early on and grabbed an early lead, but they could not finish off the effort, losing 9-8 to the Pioneers.
“I’m proud of our kids. They played their hearts out,” head coach Joe Amplo said. “It wasn’t (because of) a lack of effort. Denver deserved to win because they made more plays. You can’t not be satisfied about that.”
Marquette started the game on a 5-1 run.
“We were riding on emotion, and Denver didn’t come out sharp,” Amplo said. “Offensively, they had some turnovers early that gave us the momentum and some extra possession time.”
The Pioneers then went on to finish the game on an 8-3 run spanning the next two quarters. Marquette had plenty of opportunities in the fourth quarter, but neither team tallied a goal in that quarter.
“They dominated possession in the middle part of the game, and that wore us down defensively,” Amplo said. “It was a one-goal game the whole time. We jumped them early, but it had the feel that it was going to be a grind.”
Junior Ryan Fazio led the way for the Golden Eagles with four points on two goals and two assists. Senior John Wagner had a goal and two assists, and redshirt sophomore Griffin Fleming had two goals.
Senior Noah Richard finished with four caused turnovers and 10 ground balls, which set a record for the highest ground ball total for a non-faceoff specialist in a single game in program history. Sophomore John Hulsman made 11 saves and allowed nine goals in the cage.
For Denver, Austin French, Ted Sullivan and Ethan Walker all had a pair of goals. Goaltender Cole French allowed eight goals and made 10 saves.
Despite the loss, Amplo said the game wasn’t all negative.
“If you asked me seven years ago if we were going to be in battles with Denver on the last week of the season after losing an overtime game against Duke, those kids who are seniors now would not have said yes,” Amplo said. “It’s amazing, and it’s a testament to those guys in that locker room.”
With Georgetown’s win over St. John’s Saturday, Marquette’s season has come to an end. The Golden Eagles finished the season with a 6-8 record, including going 2-3 in BIG EAST play. MU ended up as the No. 5 seed in the BIG EAST, just barely missing out on the conference tournament.
But Amplo is not concerned with his team’s lack of a postseason.
“I’m satisfied,” Amplo said. “It’s not about the wins and losses for me. It’s about the peace of mind that these guys gave us everything they had.”