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Men's Lacrosse Big East Game 4 Preview: vs Providence (3-9, 0-3 Big East)

The Golden Eagles look to start bolting down their spot in the Big East tournament as they host a Friars team on a major losing streak.

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

When: Saturday, April 12, 2014, at 12 Central
Where: Hart Park in Wauwatosa, WI
Audio/Visual: Only live stats for you if you can't make it out to Tosa.
Special Promotions: Free shuttles from the Sports Annex start at 11am. There will be free MU LAX tank tops and Bubb's BBQ for students. On top of all of that, you can enter a raffle for a MLB Fathead! *whew* All of that AND lacrosse? Hell of a deal, kids.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

After an outstanding defensive show on Sunday where Marquette held St. John's all time leading scorer Kieran McArdle to no goals in their overtime win, Marquette put up a second strong defensive outing against #8 Notre Dame on Tuesday. Ultimately, it was a couple of costly penalties that led to Irish goals and too many unforced turnovers that put the Golden Eagles on the business end of a 12-7 loss.

With the defense clicking along against high quality offenses, we're starting to see what head coach Joe Amplo wants from his team. They already have five players with at least 10 goals this season, and Tyler Melnyk, who missed the Notre Dame game with a hand injury, has already obliterated the single season goals and points marks that he set a year ago.

A win over the Friars would mean that Marquette will match their record of 5-8 from a year ago, which in all honesty, I didn't see coming. 5-8 is a fantastic record for a first year program, and I expected a little bit of a regression to the mean on that topic. Instead, Marquette is tied for second in the Big East at 2-1, although they lose a tiebreaker to Villanova. The top four teams in the league standings qualify for the 2014 Big East tournament hosted by Villanova, and Marquette holds the advantage in tiebreakers against both 4th place Rutgers and 5th place St. John's. Were it not for a 6-1 run by Villanova that stretched across halftime at Uihlein Park, Marquette might actually be finding themselves alone in second place right now, and wrap your head around that, kids.

As for the Friars, they've lost eight straight games, and nine of their last 10. Half of that losing streak has been in their first four home games of the schedule, so this season has started to crater pretty badly for Providence. Although, I suppose I should point out that they only lost to Bryant and Brown by one goal and to Georgetown by two goals, and losing 8-5 to #14 Yale isn't all that bad, especially when it was 6-4 with 10:33 remaining.

Andrew Barton has been a bright spot for Providence, picking up three Big East Weekly Honor Roll notices this season and ranking in the top 10 in the Big East in goals, assists, and points per game. The senior midfielder has the team lead in goals with 26, and a narrow lead over senior attacker and team assists leader Sean Wright in the points race. Barton has 14 assists to give him a round 40 points on the year, while Wright has 21 goals and 18 assists to total 39 points.

Ryan Shaw has taken a majority of the face offs for PC, winning 43% of the time, and the senior from East Hampton, NY, relies on his own skill to gain possession of the ball, leading Providence with 44 ground balls on the season. Tyler Himes continues the parade of senior dominance on this squad, starting every game in net and compiling a goals-against average of 10.64 and a save percentage of .521. That has Himes just two-thousandths of a point behind Rutgers' Kris Alleyne for the best save percentage in the league, and I think we all remember what Marquette did to Alleyne.