Men's Lacrosse Preview: vs Bellarmine (4-4)

This is actually the mascot of the Newcastle Knights of the Australian National Rugby League. Close enough, I guess. - Mark Nolan

I usually what number game it is in the title, but there's already been two conference games, so do I count this as game #8 or game #10?

When: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 5pm
Where: Hart Park in Wauwatosa, WI
Audio/Visual: As long as men's lacrosse is playing at Uihlein Park and Hart Park, we're probably never going to have streaming video. There will be live stats, though.
Special Promotions: The first 100 students in attendance will receive free pizza from Palermo's. There will be free shuttles leaving from the Sports Annex starting at 4pm.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

Regardless of what happens today between Marquette and Bellarmine, odds are that it won't be as wild as Saturday afternoon, when Rutgers and Marquette "went plaid," as College Crosse put it. While Marquette held a three goal lead at the start of the fourth quarter and a four goal lead just seconds into the last period, they would eventually lose that lead and fall behind Rutgers, only to score the next three goals to retake a two goal lead with 1:28 left to play. THEN Marquette gave up the next two goals, but somehow Conor Gately still managed the game winner with 16 seconds left.

It was NUTS, and it's still available for viewing on the Rutgers website. Skip forward to the 1 hour, 37 minutes mark for the fourth quarter.

In the process of that game, redshirt senior Tyler Melnyk broke Marquette's single season goals and points record. He currently has 27 goals and 40 points on the season, and in case you were wondering, yes, he did break his own records from last season. Marquette played 13 games a year ago, and Melnyk has eclipsed his numbers in just nine contests this season. He wasn't Marquette's assists leader last year, though, so he's still seven assists away from tying Conor Gately's single season record of 20 assists. Melnyk and St. John's Kieran McArdle are the only two players in the Big East that average four or more goals in a game, and they're the only two averaging more than 4 points in a game as well. That puts both men in the top 10 in the country in both categories. That's how great Melnyk has been this season.

How's this for wild: Bellarmine is already done with their conference schedule. The ECAC has just five teams this season (hi, Denver!), so they only have four league games to play. Those four games were their last four contests, and the Knights lost all four games. As such, they've already been eliminated from the ECAC conference tournament, because they can't even end up a tiebreaker with anyone, as everyone has at least the one win. Bad times.

Last year, Bellarmine had All-American goalie Dillon Ward in net, and Marquette still came away with a 9-8 overtime victory on a goal from Conor Gately. Ward was a senior, though, so now the net is minded by Will Haas. The 6'5", 170lb. senior has played all but five minutes and 46 seconds this season. He's assembled a very impressive statistical season, with a goals-against average of 8.68 (14th best in the country) and a save percentage of .521. But he's given up at least nine goals in each of the last three games, including a season high 13 against Air Force. It's still a strong defensive system from the Knights, as they lost to Ohio State by a final of just 10-7, and as you'll remember, Marquette fell to the Buckeyes earlier this year, 11-7.

Tucker Ciessau leads the Bellarmine attack. The freshman has stepped right in to provide pop for the Knights with a team high 17 goals, and his four assists on the season give him the team lead in points at 21. Chad Mitchell and Ryan Scinta are tied for the team lead in assists, and Scinta has accomplished that while coming off the bench for Bellarmine. Junior long stick midfielder Bobby Schmitt has done a little bit of everything for the Knights, leading the team in ground balls with 25 and chipping in six assists as well. Marquette's Paul Riportella is going to have a little bit of an easier time at the face off X against Bellarmine than he did against Rutgers' Joseph Nardella, the best faceoff man in the country. Bellarmine is only winning 36.1% of their face offs, with senior Stephen Soriano taking 94 face offs this season and winning 39% of them.

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