Men's Lacrosse Big East Game 2 Preview: at Rutgers (6-3, 1-1 Big East)

Joe Murphy

The Golden Eagles take their second swing at their first Big East victory as they travel to Piscataway, New Jersey tomorrow.

When: Saturday, March 29, at 11am Central
Where: Yurcak Field in Piscataway, NJ
Audio/Visual: The Rutgers athletic department has to be subsidized by money from the school's general fund to keep themselves afloat, so streaming video or audio is out of the question. Apparently Rutgers doesn't put their video links on their schedule page.  FUN!  At least it's free. We've got live stats, too.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

A shaky middle section last Saturday afternoon led to Marquette digging themselves into a hole against Villanova that they weren't quite able to dig their way out of by end of the game. The Golden Eagles did mount a furious comeback against the Wildcats, but ultimately, they just didn't have enough time to finish the task.

Twice in the fourth quarter, first with Marquette on a two man advantage, and then very late with a chance to tie the game, bad passes cost the Golden Eagles a chance at getting the goal they needed to knot things up with Villanova. Head coach Joe Amplo told The Marquette Tribune the following after the game:

"I told the guys (with a little over a minute remaining), and I kind of look back and in hindsight I probably shouldn’t have said this but I said if we had the ball for a minute we’re going to get a great look," coach Joe Amplo said. "After the game I asked [Tyler] Melnyk and he said what (I) said at the timeout stuck in his mind and he ran into a double team and made a bad pass."

The upside is that Tyler Melnyk had the confidence to try to make the play to get the necessary goal. The downside is that Marquette didn't need to force the issue at that point, as there was still a decent amount of time left on the clock. Hopefully the message of patience and a belief in MU's offensive system will pay off for the squad tomorrow.

Rutgers comes in to Saturday's game after having a four game winning streak snapped in a 17-11 loss last Saturday to #5 Denver. While the game was tied at 4 following the first 15 minutes, the Pioneers ripped off a 10-1 run over the next 29 minutes that left the Scarlet Knights dead in the water. It was an atypical showing for goalie Kris Alleyne who, even after allowing 14 goals before being lifted, still has a goals-against average of 9.51 and a save percentage of .561 on the season.

All season long, we've been keeping track of how Marquette is doing at winning face offs and minimizing unforced turnovers. On Saturday against Rutgers, things are going to be rough when it comes to face offs. Lifted straight from the Rutgers press release on Joe Nardella making the Inside Lacrosse Midseason All-American First Team:

So far this season, Nardella has been dominant at the face-off "X," winning 108-of-135 attempts (.800 percent). The junior leads the nation in face-off winning percentage and is nearly 10 percent better than the second-highest individual mark.

Nardella has won double-digit face-offs in every game he has played in 2014, including a dominant 18-of-18 performance vs. Richmond on March 17. It marks the fifth-best 1.000 percent face-off performance in NCAA Division I history and the best all-time in the BIG EAST.

So, yeah. Best of luck to you, Paul Riportella.

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