For the first six weeks of the lacrosse schedule, head coach Joe Amplo has been able to preach focus to his team. Time and time again, Marquette snuck out of various arenas away from Milwaukee with one goal wins. Those wins brought national attention and a national poll ranking to the Golden Eagles, but they were by narrow margins and several involved ridiculous four goal comebacks.
Last Saturday against Georgetown, Marquette found themselves in a six goal hole and almost pulled out of it. They got the game tied at nine, but coinciding penalties sent MU down two men for a minute, and that let the Hoyas get the lead and ultimately, the win. Now Amplo has a new task in front of him. He has to get his team over the loss and ready to take on a Villanova team that narrowly defeated Marquette in Milwaukee a year ago.
It won't be an easy task for Marquette to come away from Pennsylvania with a win, but if Amplo is serious about aiming this team at the NCAA tournament in May, then bouncing back with a win here is crucial. Dates with Notre Dame, Denver, and Duke loom on the horizon. MU is going to need to have a record that can withstand coming out of those three games with a 1-2 record, which is probably a best case scenario. A win against a Wildcats team that ping-ponging in and out of the Inside Lacrosse top 20 will definitely help Marquette in the eyes of the selection committee.
Big East Game #2: at Villanova (5-3)
When: Saturday, March 28, 2015, at 12pm Central
Where: Villanova Stadium in Villanova, PA
Audio/Visual: This one's coming your way on the Big East Digital Network! Add some live stats, too.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax
After starting out 5-1 this season, Villanova has hit a rough patch. You can explain a loss to a Maryland team that was ranked #8 in the country at the time. It's hard to explain losing 11-2, though, and even harder to explain getting outshot 54-20.
While that was not great and borderline bad, what happened next was even worse. Last weekend, Villanova followed up that stomping at the hands of the Terrapins by losing 11-4 on a road trip to Fairfield. After taking a 2-0 lead in the first seven minutes, the Wildcats then went over 40 minutes without scoring a goal as the Stags scored eight unanswered goals. Hey, maybe Fairfield is better than their 5-4 record. But an 11-4 loss when you're attempting to stay in the Top 20 is not what you like to see.
If Marquette is going to defeat Villanova, they're going to have to do it at even strength. MU scores 40% of the time when they have a man advantage, notching 10 EMO goals so far this season. On the other side of the ball, Villanova is the least penalized team in the Big East, allowing just slightly more than two and a half minutes of power play time per game.
Jack Curran is your points leader for VU, but he doesn't lead the team in either goals or assists. Curran's 15 goals trails Danny Seibel's 17, and Sean Cerrone has a team high 15 assists, which is way more than Curran's 7 helpers. Cerrone has the second best assists average in the Big East, while Curran ranks 10th in points and Seibel is sixth in goals per game. Dan Willis and Greg Stamatov are still splitting the goalie duties right down the middle with Stamatov getting the starts and the first two quarters of every game.