After decimating Jacksonville in their 2017 opener, Marquette had that turned around on them on Saturday in Virginia. #16 ranked Richmond held the #14 ranked Golden Eagles without a goal for the final 30 minutes on their way to a 9-2 victory at Robins Stadium. Marquette drops to 1-1 on the season while Richmond moves to 4-0 on the year and is sure to jump way up in the polls this coming Monday.
It was pretty much bad from the jump for Marquette, as the Spiders scored the first three goals of the game. Grant Preisler put MU on the board late in the first quarter, but Tyler Shoults beat the buzzer to make a 4-1 game after 15 minutes. If you look at the shot totals for the second quarter, you might think things were turning around for Marquette, as they outshot the Spiders 12-8 in the period. Unfortunately, Benny Pugh made six saves and the Golden Eagles only found the back of the net once on Ryan McNamara’s first goal of the season with less than a minute to play. Combine that with Ryan Lee’s goal earlier in the quarter and the Spiders went to the locker room with a 5-2 lead.
Needing a big half to bounce back into this one, Marquette got outshot 12-2 in the third quarter and turned the ball over four times against just one giveaway for Richmond. The Spiders tacked on three goals in the frame to make it 8-2, and when Eric Haehl scored less than four minutes into the fourth quarter, that was that for Marquette on this day.
MU had injury added to insult late in the first half when face off specialist Zachary Melillo was injured following McNamara’s goal. He did not return for the second half, which could be a major problem for Marquette. Melillo won 56% of his faceoffs last season and was a major component of MU’s success.
The good news, such as it is, is that goalie Cole Blazer made a career high 15 saves. Of course, the obvious reaction to that is “hey, why did Blazer have to make 15 saves?” Well, here’s a sampling of tweets from Jack Goods, noted intrepid Marquette Wire reporter.
2-0 Richmond. This game is going very poorly for Marquette so far. Defender just got killed on a dodge.— Jack Goods (@GoodsOnSports) February 25, 2017
Jordan McKenzie tried pushing down his man, but that just pushed him past him and towards the goal. 3-0 Richmond and MU calls timeout.— Jack Goods (@GoodsOnSports) February 25, 2017
Ryan Lee given too much room as he comes up for X. Connor slides to him late and its 5-1 Spiders.— Jack Goods (@GoodsOnSports) February 25, 2017
Ryan Lee scores again for Richmond, as PJ Cox is forced to chase him from around the back of the net. No slide from man up top. 6-2.— Jack Goods (@GoodsOnSports) February 25, 2017
Richmond's Austin Brown scores on the EMO. He's left alone up top. Beats Blazer five hole.— Jack Goods (@GoodsOnSports) February 25, 2017
Ryan Lee just ran by Noah Joseph, who went for the stick check, and walked to the goal to beat Blazer. 8-2.— Jack Goods (@GoodsOnSports) February 25, 2017
Eric Haehl makes it 9-2 Richmond. Gets by Noah Joseph and runs diagonally to get a spot to the right side of the net.— Jack Goods (@GoodsOnSports) February 25, 2017
We kind of knew that Marquette’s defense was going to be a work in progress this season as the coaching staff had to replace three guys who were around for the first four years of the program and ended up All-Americans at the end. That seems to still be the case in week two. Not surprising, just something that will need to develop quickly, because Marquette’s schedule is no joke.
Up Next: Marquette plays their first home game of the season next Friday night when they host #19 Ohio State in their first game of the Midwest Lacrosse Classic. They’ll be back in action against Detroit on Sunday in the second game of the Classic as well. The Buckeyes are 4-0 on the season after handling Jacksonville on Saturday, while the Titans are 1-4 on the season after falling to Robert Morris. Their one win? Against Jacksonville. What a small world we live in.