Three unanswered goals in the fourth quarter, including two with an extra man, gave Marquette the advantage at the final horn against Air Force on Tuesday afternoon, defeating the Falcons, 7-6. Marquette moves to 5-2 on the season, and 2-1 against foes from the Southern Conference.
If we learned one thing from the first 30 minutes of the game, it was that this was probably going to be a close finish. After Air Force scored first, Marquette scored the next two goals of the game for a 2-1 lead, but we were already into the second quarter by the time that happened. Air Force got the next two markers, and a tally from Andy DeMichiei through some contact with 8:33 left provided us with the 3-3 tie that still sat there at halftime.
The DeMichiei goal was assisted by classmate Grant Priesler. pic.twitter.com/mo4dumuOY8— Marquette Lacrosse (@MarquetteMLax) March 28, 2017
Ryan McNamara’s second goal of the game started the scoring in the second half and gave the Golden Eagles a 4-3 lead with 12:49 left in the third quarter.
The McNamara goal was the go-ahead for the Golden Eagles, who lead 4-3, to start the second half. pic.twitter.com/ZmqFfldJBf— Marquette Lacrosse (@MarquetteMLax) March 28, 2017
It would also be the only good news of the period for the Golden Eagles, as Air Force ran together three goals for the first string of longer than two in the entire game. The first AFA goal was a gift from Nicholas Eufrasio, courtesy of his 60 second slashing penalty, while Nick Hruby found the back of the net twice at even strength for the Falcons to give them the game’s first two-goal lead at 6-4 at the end of the third.
Saying Marquette needed a miracle would be a strong term, but MU definitely needed their best 15 minutes of the day in order to top the Falcons while down two with 15 minutes to play. Sophomore John Wagner got things off on the right foot at the 12:46 mark, and DeMichiei decided to add some degree of difficulty points to his scoring through contact goal from earlier in the game, going behind the back to knot the game at six less than a minute later.
Marquette still needed a gamewinner, and they got it from their Tewaarton Trophy Watch List candidate. McNamara wrapped up his hat trick with some fancy footwork and a little bit of snazzy stickwork, too.
McNamara's third goal of the day put Marquette ahead of Air Force, 7-6, with under five minutes remaining in the game. pic.twitter.com/J5H1ac07Fh— Marquette Lacrosse (@MarquetteMLax) March 28, 2017
That came with 4:35 left on the clock, and the game was very much not over, even with Marquette up 7-6. It would take two saves from goalie Cole Blazer, including one with 27 seconds remaining while Colin Riehl was on the sideline with a pushing penalty, to keep the Falcons off the board and preserve the lead until the final horn.
McNamara finished with maybe his best offensive day of the season, racking up four points on three goals and an assist. Wagner matched him in points thanks to two helpers and two goals. The best news for the Golden Eagles might be that they held Chris Walsch, AFA’s leading scorer, to just one assist in the game even though he fired off four shots.
Here’s a full highlights package, courtesy of GoMarquette.com:
Up Next: The Golden Eagles head back out onto the road as they resume Big East play on Saturday. They’ll be out in Pennsylvania to visit Villanova, with face off scheduled for 12pm Central. The Wildcats are 5-4 on the season, but have won four straight, including an overtime road victory over at-the-time #4 Maryland.