Finally, the road trip reaches the end. Just to get to this afternoon's game, Marquette has already traveled over 12,700 miles, at least if you do the driving directions from city to city on Google Maps. Here's the crazy part: I had to divide that up into two different itineraries, because Google only allows you a certain number of stops on each trip. After today's game, the Golden Eagles will be able to finally have their home opener, a Big East contest required by the conference.
But they have to get through the game against Bellarmine first, of course.
Marquette might have played their best game of the season against Villanova on Saturday. They endured a game that was never more than one goal in either direction before finally having the lead when 60 minutes expired. It wasn't just your average one goal game that Marquette has participated in so far this season, even though it was the sixth one out of nine games. The reason it might have been their best performance is because they dredged up enough goals to beat the Wildcats with leading scorer Jordan Greenfield (22G, 12A) suspended after being ejected against Georgetown in their previous game.
If Marquette can replicate that effort, they'll almost assuredly come away from Kentucky with their ninth win of the season. There's no doubt in my mind that head coach Joe Amplo will have them focused on that task, especially after the Knights came away from Milwaukee with a 10-7 win last season.
Game #10: at Bellarmine (2-5)
Bellarmine was the favorite to win the Southern Conference this season, and if that sounds familiar to you, it should. This is the fourth (and final) game that Marquette has played against a SoCon opponent this season, and they've come away with wins in the previous three. If MU wins this one, I think it's time to demand that the Golden Eagles get the SoCon's automatic bid to the.
The Knights have won just one of their last five contests, with the W coming in a 17-7 decision against VMI. Between their travels through the SoCon and the Midwest Lacrosse Classic Weekend that they hosted and Marquette participated in, Bellarmine has three opponents in common with MU so far this season, and BU has come out on the losing end in all three games. First it was losses to Ohio State and Detroit in the MLCW, then a 8-6 defeat at the hands of Mercer in their most recent outing.
Sophomore attackman Austin Shanks leads Bellarmine in scoring this season with 17 goals and two assists. That's not an unfamiliar name to the Golden Eagles, as Shanks had a goal and assist against them last year at Hart Park. In fact, the top of Bellarmine's stat sheet is loaded with guys that scored goals in BU's win over Marquette: Tucker Ciessau (10G, 5A), Ryan Scinta (3G, 6A), and Daniel Zamora (2G, 4A). The only unfamiliar face that Marquette's defense will have to worry about is sophomore Jack Perkins, who forms a trio of double digit goal scorers with Shanks and Ciessau.
The Knights have turned their net over to a freshman this year. Dallas native Drew Goethals has started all seven matches this season and played all but 32 minutes. He's allowing over 10 goals per 60 minutes played this season, but he is stopping more than 51% of the shots on net.