Powered by four goals from Kyle Whitlow and a late game winner from Blaine Fleming, Marquette men's lacrosse moved to 2-0 this season with an 11-10 win over #19 Hofstra on Saturday afternoon. It's the second win over a ranked opponent in program history, and the second in as many weeks as well.
Things didn't look all that rosy after the first 11 minutes. The Pride scored the first four goals of the game and were dominating possession. It's reasonable to figure that Hofstra head coach Seth Tierney had been showing his men clips of Marquette defeating the Pride a year ago in their season opener to get them fired up about the game, so it's no surprise that they came out of the barn with a fury.
Things turned around in the second quarter, when the teams switched sides. For a moment, it looked like the net on the north end of Shuart Stadium was magic, as Jordan Greenfield got Marquette on the board and Fleming cut the lead to just two goals after less than five minutes had been played in the second. The two teams traded goals over the remainder of the half, but that left Marquette trailing by just two goals heading to the break.
Things were looking up at intermission, but quickly went back into the darkness. Mike Malave scored his second of the game for Hofstra, as did Brier Davis, and suddenly the Pride were leading 8-4. It was that same four goal deficit that MU saw at the end of the first, but if there's one thing head coach Joe Amplo has taught his players over the last three years, it's to keep fighting. Whitlow cashed in a feed from Greenfield on an extra man opportunity to break the Pride's run, and in rapid fashion, Ryan McNamara potted his first of the game, and Whitlow beat Hofstra goalie Chris Selva again to cut the lead to just one goal.
Davis gave the Pride some breathing room before the quarter ended, but Conor Gately opened the scoring in the fourth quarter off a feed from K.C. Kennedy after Kennedy won the opening face off of the quarter. Preseason All-American Sam Llinares popped one past MU goalie Jimmy Danaher to push the lead back to two goals at 10-8, and for a while, it seemed like the Pride might hold on. The clock kept evaporating out from Marquette, but after Finn Sullivan, Hofstra's best defender got whistled for slashing, Whitlow finished his hat trick with less than four minutes remaining. The redshirt junior added his fourth of the game on a powerful swing less than 80 seconds later, and the game was tied at 10.
With things tied at 10, Tyler Gilligan forced a Hofstra turnover, and after a Liam Byrnes ground ball and a timeout from the MU bench, Fleming snapped home the game winner with 1:18 remaining. Hofstra had one final chance to tie it up, and even got it right in the slot for a perfect chance on Danaher, but Logan Tousaw poked it out of Chris Clarke's stick. All Jacob Richard had to do was snag the ground ball and start running out the clock, and MU came away with the come from behind victory.
Danaher put together a heroic performance in net for Marquette, making 13 saves, including 10 in the first half to keep the game within shouting distance. Selva made 12 saves in the losing effort for the Pride. Whitlow had the game high in points with four, although he was tied by Greenfield, who matched his teammate by gathering up a goal and three assists. Hofstra's scoresheet was topped by three goals from Davis and three points (2G, 1A) from Llinares.
Up Next: For now, the ranked opponents streak ends. Marquette will be back in action next Sunday when they travel to Virginia to take on Richmond. The Spiders (2-0) are in their second season as a Division 1 program, but they are battle tested. They won the Atlantic Sun conference tournament a year ago and already have one NCAA tournament appearance under their belts.