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John Wagner Provides The Heroics As #20 Marquette Men’s Lacrosse Beats Jacksonville

Things got dicey in the second half, but the Golden Eagles prevailed in the 2018 season opener.

John Wagner
John Wagner’s third and final goal of the game gave Marquette the win over Jacksonville.

John Wagner rolled to the middle of the field and fired, scoring his third and final goal of the game with seven seconds remaining in regulation to lift #20 Marquette men’s lacrosse to an 11-10 win over Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon. It was the season opener for the Golden Eagles, so they move to 1-0 on the season, while JU drops to 1-2.

You’ll be hard pressed to find a more entertaining lacrosse contest to open a season. The Golden Eagles started things off on the right foot, with Connor McClelland breaking the ice on the game less than two minutes in. Wagner got his first of the game off MU’s first extra man opportunity of the season, and Colin Riehl tacked on to make it 3-1 Golden Eagles after one.

Things kept trending in MU’s direction in the second quarter. Chase McIntyre pulled the ‘Phins within one at 4-3 at the 10:36 mark, but freshman Anthony Orsini’s second goal of the quarter and McClelland’s second of the game had the Golden Eagles up 6-3 at intermission.

That was a nice first 30 minutes of lacrosse, and things went totally bonkers after halftime. While the shots were mostly even, 8-7 favoring Marquette, Jacksonville dominated the scoring, putting in three goals unanswered in the third quarter to knot things at 6-all heading to the fourth.

I want to make this totally clear at this point: The two teams had combined for 12 goals in 45 minutes at this juncture of the game.

They would tally up nine markers between them in the final 15 minutes.

The first two were from Marquette, first McClelland, giving him a hat trick, and then Peter Henkhaus. You’d think you’d be a little comfortable with a two-goal lead with 9:27 to go, and perhaps Marquette was too comfortable. Jacksonville got goals just 64 seconds apart from Tommy Barnhorst and Alec Drosos, and we were starting from scratch with 7:44 to go.

It happened again, as Wagner and McClelland posted MU to a 10-8 lead, but McLean Chicquen and Eric Applegate pulled the Dolphins back even with 2:28 to go. The endgame turned into one of the most predictable situations possible: Jacksonville won the ensuing faceoff, but as could be expected, the referees threw the stall warning on with 1:19 to go. Marquette’s defense held tight for the next 30 seconds, to the point where JU had no other play than to just throw the ball high in the air to avoid the turnover and at least force Marquette to play from a restart instead of a transition play. Marquette cleared across midfield, head coach Joe Amplo called time out, and ta-da, cue the heroics from Wagner.

It was a big day for Marquette’s offense, as they got seven of their goals from players who had never scored a collegiate goal before. McClelland’s four goal performance to lead the way for MU is particularly fascinating, as he spent 2017 as a defensive midfielder for the Golden Eagles. Anthony Orsini got the start in his first ever college game, posting two goals and an assist along the way. Colin Riehl might be a senior for MU, but he had never scored before, and in fact had only taken three shots from his defensive midfielder position in the past. Marquette’s assists game from unfamiliar names as well, with Ryan Fazio and Colin O’Donnell recording their first ever collegiate points on helpers.

Oddly, it might be the Marquette defense that has the most question marks right now, as the Golden Eagles allowed 10 goals on just 21 shots. The defensive corps is stocked with veteran presences, and the Golden Eagles are going to need to make teams work harder to score against them in the future.

How about a full highlight package, courtesy of

Up Next: Marquette returns to action next week Saturday, but they’ll head out on the road for that one. They’ll be in Michigan for one of their three trips to the Mitten State this season, this time to face Detroit. The Titans are 0-1 on the season after a 10-7 loss to Notre Dame, and they’ll play at Mercer on Sunday and at Jacksonville on Tuesday before hosting MU on Saturday.