Quinnipiac scored the first and last goals of the first half, but in the meantime, six different Golden Eagles scored to boost Marquette to the halftime lead and eventually to the 11-5 win over the Bobcats on Saturday afternoon.
In between those two QU goals, Marquette outshot the Bobcats 14-4 while holding them scoreless for over 25 minutes. Robbie Pisano scored his first goal of the season to get Marquette back level with Quinnipiac, and then it was off to the races for MU. Ryan McNamara scored the first of his four goals on the day less than 80 seconds later, and Blaine Fleming hit for his first of two goals less than 100 seconds after that.
Kyran Clarke scored with a minute left in the first, and Joe Dunn and Conor Gately both got markers in the second quarter as Marquette lengthened out their lead. Quinnipiac committed 12 turnovers in the first half, including two on failed clearances as Marquette dominated the possession end of the show as well as the scoreboard.
It was Quinnipiac's last possession of the half that's going to stick out in head coach Joe Amplo's mind, though. Drew D`Antonio scored the second goal of the game for the Bobcats with less than a second left on the clock before the halftime horn. That last second defensive letdown reared its head against when Nate Nibbelink scored with seven seconds left in the third quarter. Sure, both tallies were the only goals that Quinnipiac would score in both 15 minute frames, but Amplo wants to see a full 60 minutes performance from his squad because he knows what looms in front of them: Road trips to Denver, Duke, Notre Dame, and a home date with Villanova.
"I thought we played really hard to start the game and had a great first half, but there were lapses at the end of two specific quarters when we gave up goals and that can't happen," Amplo told GoMarquette.com after the game. If Amplo looks at the QU stat sheet, he'll probably be more heated by the goals, as they were the first goals of the season for both D`Antonio and Nibbelink. Give up a goal to their best hitter? Things happen. Give up a goal to the second string attack? No bueno.
From a "full 60 minute game" perspective, things got worse in the fourth quarter for the Golden Eagles, as they got outshot 15-7 and outscored 2-1. Yes, they were up 10-3 at the start of the period, so it's not the worst thing in human history by any stretch. But when you're going to have to go through four top ten teams in your final seven games, including the two squads that have won the last three national championships, letdowns can't be happening at all.
While Amplo would most likely be emphasizing a complete game because of those upcoming games regardless of anything else, his current lineup situation makes it more important. Without all-Big East midfielder Kyle Whitlow in the lineup due to a season ending knee injury, Marquette is going to have to have guys playing unexpected roles for the rest of the season. Complete efforts were going to be required to beat the Dukes and Denvers of the world anyway, and the margin for errors dipped way, way down with Whitlow's injury.
The good news, if you can think of it that way, is that Whitlow is no longer Marquette's all time leading goals scorer. With his goal at the 9:54 mark of the third quarter, Conor Gately passed Whitlow on Marquette's all time goals list. Whitlow's position as the #2 scorer in program history isn't stable, either, as Ryan McNamara scored four times against QU to move to 57 career goals, and 14 over the rest of the season for the Minnesota native isn't really asking that much.
Up Next: Marquette returns to the Valley for the first Big East match of the year. They'll be hosting Georgetown at 12pm on Saturday, and if you can't make it down to the game in person, that's fine, as it'll be broadcast on FS1. The Hoyas started the season ranked in the top 20, but are just 1-6 on the season after Saturday's 20-6 loss to #9 Duke. They'll host Loyola-Maryland on Wednesday before making the trip to Milwaukee.