Men's Lacrosse Game 2 Preview: at Hofstra

Tyler Melnyk had two goals to lead MU against Lehigh last weekend. - Maggie Casey/MarquetteImages.com

I'm actually surprised that this will be MU's first ever game against Hofstra, as both head coach Joe Amplo and assistant coach John Orsen both played for the Pride.

When: Saturday, February 15, at 11am Central
Where: James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, NY
Audio/Visual: I think there's going to be free streaming video, but you have to register. You can go here to find the link to live stats for the game.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

Yeah, Marquette dropped their opener in clunky fashion to #19 Lehigh last week, largely on the back of a 4-22 effort at the face off X. But here's the good news: Last year, Marquette lost their opener to Ohio State by a score of 18-8. That game was one of five against nationally ranked opponents for Marquette last season, and four of them had Marquette coming out on the business end of a double digit margin. It probably doesn't seem like much, and head coach Joe Amplo probably doesn't want to think about it, but keeping things closer at a final score of 13-6 is a step forward for the program.

Last Saturday's game featured six freshmen making their collegiate debuts, including Ryan McNamara in the starting lineup. The midfielder from Eagan, MN, ended up with the team lead in shots with five, so he's obviously ready to contribute. The game also saw the Marquette debuts of junior transfers Pat Townsend (St. Joseph's) and Logan Tousaw (Onondaga CC). It's still a young team on a number of levels, so any progress that can be made is always appreciated.

Turning our attention to Hofstra, the Pride were picked to finish fifth out of six teams in the Colonial Athletic Association this year. This isn't saying anything negative about Hofstra for three reasons. First, three teams earned first place votes in the preseason coaches polling, so it's a pretty wide open race in the CAA this year, 2) all four of the teams ahead of Hofstra in the CAA ranking received votes in the preseason Warrior Top 20, and 3) the CAA is the conference that our friends over at College Crosse has nicknamed THUNDERDOME! due to its yearly volatility.

This will be the opening game of Hofstra's season, as they come off of a 7-7 season in 2013. They return six starters for 2014, including all-CAA goalie Chris Selva. The junior netminder anchored the third best defense in the country last year in terms of goals allowed per game. The Pride also return seven of their eight top scorers from last year, including both of the top two men, senior attacker Torin Varn (30G, 2A) and sophomore attacker Sam Llinares (19G, 13A). Llinares is Hofstra's lone representation on the all-CAA preseason team, which is evenly split between attack, midfield and defense.

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