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Men's Lacrosse: #12 Marquette 14, St. John's 12

It was closer than it needed to be, but the Golden Eagles came away with the win in their 2015 home opener.

Let the debate begin: Is Jordan Greenfield the best player to ever wear #47 for Marquette?
Let the debate begin: Is Jordan Greenfield the best player to ever wear #47 for Marquette?

In their first home game in 355 days, Marquette men's lacrosse got hat tricks from Jordan Greenfield and Ryan McNamara as the Golden Eagles held on to win against St. John's by a final of 14-12.  With the win, Marquette moves to 2-1 in Big East play, which ties them for second place with Georgetown behind 2-0 Denver.

The game saw a pattern emerge early on.  Marquette was lively on offense to start the game, showing an energy and enthusiasm that seemed to be lacking earlier in the week in their loss to Bellarmine.  The Golden Eagles scored four times in the first 7:13 of the game, including one each from long stick midfielders Liam Byrnes and Tyler Gilligan.  This gave them a 4-1 lead, and while there was a lot of lacrosse left to be played, it seemed like Marquette was off to the races.

That was not to be the case, as St. John's bounced back, and not slowly, either.  Jason DeBenedictis and Eric DeJohn scored less than a minute apart and the first quarter ended favoring MU, 4-3.  St. John's tied it up on a strike from Nick Sherry less than a minute into the second period, and thus the pattern started again.  Goals from McNamara, Conor Gately, and Greenfield built a three goal lead for the Golden Eagles in the first five minutes of the period, but SJU came back late to make it close at halftime again, and tied it up early in the third.

McNamara and DeBenedictis traded goals, keeping things even at eight, and then Marquette took over.  Over the last 5:17 of the third, Marquette got two goals from Blaine Fleming, plus tallies from Kyran Clarke, Jacob Richard, and then Greenfield with just two seconds left.  Greenfield's goal was particularly advantageous, as Stefan Diachenko had broken Marquette's four goal run and made the score 12-9.  The third quarter was the only one where St. John's didn't make a run late to make the game close again, and the goal from Greenfield spiked their attempt to make it reasonable.

Both defenses would hold strong over the first nine minutes of the fourth before McNamara scored Marquette's final goal of the game with 5:56 remaining.  That gave the Golden Eagles a five goal lead at 14-9, and it would be just enough.  St. John's would score three more times before the final horn sounded, but they just ran out of time to get the offensive chances they needed to tie the game.

Greenfield's hat trick gave him 26 goals on the season and moved him into second place on Marquette's single season scoring list, trailing only the 36 goals that Tyler Melnyk registered a year ago.  Add in his 14 assists (currently tied for 4th most in a single season, and that gets Greenfield to 40 points on the season, just 11 behind Melnyk's 2014 for the program record.

Up Next: Now comes death.  Yes, Marquette is 9-2 at this point in the season.  But nothing easy is left on the schedule.  On Tuesday, the Golden Eagles will be in South Bend to take on a Notre Dame.  The #1 ranked Irish are 7-1 on the season after defeating Duke on Saturday, and their only loss was to Denver.  Amazingly enough, that last sentence contains the name of three of Marquette's final four regular season opponents.  Wrap your head around that one, kids.