Two years ago, Duke visited Milwaukee for the second home game in program history and promptly buried Marquette deep beneath the earth. I don't mean "promptly" as in "it was a 19-3 loss," I mean "Brendan Fowler won the opening face off and scored four seconds into the game setting off a 10-1 opening period for Duke."
Last year, Marquette headed out to Durham for a return bout. In that game, it took Duke 41 seconds to score en route to a 10-1 first quarter score. Now, the final ended up being 20-9, so hey, face saved and so forth.
120 minutes of lacrosse and Marquette has been outscored 39-12. That's... sub-optimal.
Now, however, Marquette comes in to a game against Duke with a #15 national ranking and might be playing the best lacrosse in the three year history of the program. Mind you, to get to 10-3 on the season, Marquette has had to win four different games after trailing by four goals, which is bordering on absurd, if not just flat out defying the laws of physics. If Marquette wants to have any chance at all of defeating Duke on Saturday, they absolutely can not find themselves in another four goal pit. With Duke's firepower, MU can not expect to be able to make one of their now traditional ridiculous fourth quarter comebacks.
If you're traveling to Hart Park or tuning in the game on CBS Sports Network, you might notice a few visual oddities about this game. This will be the first ever HEADstrong Foundation Coaches' Classic, so you'll see both teams wearing lime green chinstraps and shoelaces, along with lime green nets. Also, Marquette will be wearing unique HEADstrong Foundation themed helmets for the game. I'll let Marquette head coach Joe Amplo and midfielders Jacob Richard and Kyle Whitlow explain more.
Game #14: vs #6 Duke (9-4)
I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Hey, what the hell is with Duke being ranked number six in the country with four damn losses?" Well, it's exactly what you think for the two time defending national champs: They've only lost to teams ranked in the top four in the country at the time of the game this season, falling to #1 Denver, #1 Syracuse, #4 North Carolina, and #1 Notre Dame. Really, you can make an argument that you have to be considered the best team in the country to be able to beat the Blue Devils.
It's not like the rest of the schedule is made out of chumps, either. Saturday's game against Marquette will be the ninth of the season against a ranked opponent, and as y'all can do simple math, you've already figured out that they've got five wins, too. Two of those wins have come in the last week as Duke defeated #6 Virginia last Sunday and followed that up with a road win over #20 Stony Brook on Wednesday.
Myles Jones is a Death Star to opposing goalies. The junior midfielder has registered a hat trick in eight of Duke's 13 games this season and has recorded at least five points in the same number of games. He's ridiculous, and I remember thinking that about him two years ago when Duke visited Milwaukee, but that's because he threw up a five point game as a freshman. In addition to just leading the Duke scoring attack this season with 61 points on 32 goals and 29 assists, he's also got a point streak dating back to late last February.
Jones isn't the best goal scorer on the team, though. That title belongs to Justin Guterding with 38 markers on the season, and Jack Bruckner slips in between Guterding and Jones with 35. Deemer Class (real name, I assure you) rounds out the four pack of Blue Devil that have found the back of the net at least 30 times this season. No one else on the team has more than 12 goals this season, but hey, when you've got four 40 point scorers on the team, how many more goals can you possibly score in 13 games?
Danny Fowler has started in net for head coach John Danowski in the last four games. It's been a little bit of a rough go of things as the Blue Devils have gone 2-2. However, he was named the ACC's Defensive Player of the Week after making 18 saves against Virginia to pick up his first win of the season. His stats aren't great - 12.54 GAA, .484 SV% - but when your offense approximates the power of a thousand exploding suns, you can afford to be less than perfect.