Bryan Badolato recorded the first hat trick in Marquette lacrosse history to power the Golden Eagle offense to their first win of the season, not to mention ever, defeated Air Force by a final score of 8-6. Badolato opened the scoring just before the halfway point of the first quarter and ended up picking up Marquette's first ever game winner when he capped off his hat trick with 2:53 left in the game.
Marquette held Air Force scoreless for the first 25 minutes of the game. Goalie J.J. Sagl had six saves on 10 AFA shots in the first quarter and stood strong on a three minute non-releaseable illegal stick penalty on Tyler Melnyk that was called during the break between the first and second quarters.
Henry Nelson got MU their largest lead of the day with a man advantage just after halftime. Air Force had a strong third quarter though, and scored twice in the final minute of the period to tie the game headed to the final 15 minutes. Erik Smith got whistled for cross checking 29 seconds into the fourth and Kyle Whitlow quickly gave the advantage back to MU. The Golden Eagles held that lead for 10 minutes before Tommy McKee pulled the Falcons back to even on his fifth goal of the game. That's when Badolato said "Anything you can do, I can do better," and wrapped up his own hat trick to put MU in front for good, and Conor Gately's strike with 42 seconds left made it academic.
I want to make this very obvious: Air Force is GOOD. They came in to the game 4-1 on the season off of a win over #12 Lehigh and the only loss was their season opener against #4 North Carolina. If the national lacrosse polls went past 20 spots, the Falcons would be ranked. But, as ESPN's Quint Kessenich put it:
The biggest trend I'm seeing this year is that the hungrier team usually wins. The team who is more emotionally invested wins.— quint kessenich (@QKessenich) March 1, 2013
I doubt it's a big stretch to think that head coach Joe Amplo and his staff have the team emotionally invested in what will be a long season of road trips and probably more hard times than fun times like beating high quality opponents like Air Force.
Gately's late tally pulled him even with Badolato for the team high in points in this one with three. Sagl made 14 saves on 37 Air Force shots.
Up Next: Marquette looks to start a winning streak on Saturday as they head to sunny Jacksonville to play the Dolphins (1-2).