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Men's Lacrosse Game Preview: vs #9 Notre Dame (4-4, 2-2 ACC)

With just over 48 hours between games, the Golden Eagles are back in Milwaukee this afternoon to face the nationally ranked Fighting Irish.


When: Tuesday, April 8, 2014, at 4pm
Where: Uihlein Park in Milwaukee, WI
Audio/Visual: Uihlein Park is presumably not rigged up enough for streaming video, so if you're not going, you'll have to make do with just live stats.
Special Promotions: Because it's so far off campus, there will be free shuttles running from the Sports Annex starting at 3pm, and there's free Palermo's pizza on the buses for students!
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

We discussed the details of Marquette's second Big East win of the season yesterday, but today we can point out the recognition of that effort. Golden Eagles took home both of the Big East's individual weekly awards yesterday, marking the first individual weekly conference awards in program history.

Kyle Whitlow earned Offensive Player of the Week honors. The Canadian sophomore extended his point streak to four games with a five point day against the Red Storm. It marked the ninth time this season that Whitlow tallied at least two points in a game as well. He got his points on three goals and two assists, getting his two helpers and wrapping up his hat trick on Marquette's three goals in the first five minutes of the third quarter, in addition to scoring the first goal of the game.

BJ Grill was named Defensive Player of the Week, and if he didn't, we would have needed to organize a protest in Commissioner Val Ackerman's office. On Sunday, Grill was assigned the task of shadowing Kieran McArdle, the 2014 Big East Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. McArdle, who came into the game leading the conference in goals, assists, and obviously points, was held without a goal for the first time since March 19, 2013. "[Grill] has everything we need in a defenseman and he is the heart and soul of our defense," said head coach Joe Amplo in a statement regarding the two awards. "He just did his job yesterday, there was no doubt in my mind he was going to rise to the occasion because he always does."

If you're looking up at that headline and trying to figure out how a .500 team is ranked #9 in the country, let me explain: The Irish started the season ranked #5 in the country and have gone about playing other ranked teams in six of their eight games this season. It's that simple. Even the fact that they've gone 2-4 in those contests hasn't really impacted them, but that might have more to do with the fact that the wins came over teams that were ranked #2 (current #4 North Carolina) and #7 (current #10 Virginia) at the time. If you've been playing close attention, you've already noticed that both of those games were against ACC opponents, and if you're wondering if the ACC is a rough crowd this year, you're right. All six teams that play lacrosse are ranked, and all are ranked in the top 10 of the Warrior Top 20. Hell, Syracuse, which is DFL in the ACC, is currently ranked 7th in the country.

After Marquette's Paul Riportella did a number on Rutgers' Joseph Nardella, dealing with Notre Dame's Liam O'Connor should be a walk in the park. The Irish face off artist ranks 8th in the country, winning face offs at a 63% clip. Unsurprisingly, O'Connor is also 7th in the country in ground balls, recovering 7.11 per game.

Once the Irish get the ball, they look for Matt Kavanaugh. The sophomore has 33 points this season on 20 goals and 13 assists, all team highs, after recording two of each against Marquette in their contest last season. Kavanaugh is the only Irish attacker with more than seven assists on the season, but junior Conor Doyle has contributed 14 goals on the season.

Notre Dame lists freshman Shane Doss as their probable starting goalie for the game. Conor Kelly started the first three games of the season for ND, but he was lifted for Doss after giving up 4 goals in the first nine minutes of the game against North Carolina. Doss has started every game since then and the Irish have gone 2-3 in that span, including each of their last two games. Kelly is healthy, as he did play the final 35 minutes of the last game that the Irish played. Doss has accumulated a goals-against average of 9.41 in his seven appearances this season and a save percentage of .485.