16 shots, four goals, but it was the last one on both accounts that mattered for Marquette on Saturday afternoon.
John Wagner’s final shot of the day became his final goal of the day and it pushed the Golden Eagles to a 9-8 overtime victory against #18 Georgetown at Valley Fields. The win snaps a three game losing streak for Marquette, but it also posts them to a 1-0 record in Big East play, as this was the league opener for both squads.
I’m giving this its own paragraph, because this continues to blow my mind for a sixth year program: Marquette is now 19-7 all time in games decided by one goal.
Wagner’s name goes in the headline for his game winner, but the hero of the day might actually be Noah Richard. It looked like Georgetown was going to win the draw to start off the four minute sudden victory session, but it was this diving stick check that sent the ball over to Marquette.
Noah Richard with the big play to start OT, diving to jar the ball out of a Hoya player's stick and into John Wagner. Richard also with five GBs and an assist for Marquette. pic.twitter.com/wkwSexEvzC— Marquette Lacrosse (@MarquetteMLax) March 24, 2018
The Golden Eagles took a time out immediately upon gaining possession — and why wouldn’t you after that nuthouse of a play by Richard — but the fact that this one was going to Wagner all along was a secret to no one. After all, he already had two game winning goals in MU’s first three wins of the season. Well, maybe it was a secret to the GU defender that let Wagner slip past him and get the low shot off on the run. Check it out.
Wagner's OT winning goal pic.twitter.com/StaIImrCqh— Marquette Lacrosse (@MarquetteMLax) March 24, 2018
If you’re head coach Joe Amplo, you can definitely make the case to your team that this game should not have been close and it should not have gone to overtime. After two straight awful first quarters again Robert Morris and Michigan, the Golden Eagles reversed that trend, scoring three times in the first five minutes and once again later in the period to jump out to a 4-0 lead on the Hoyas. As things transitioned to the second quarter, the two teams started trading goals, and Wagner’s second of the day had MU up 6-2 with 6:58 left before halftime.
And then the wheels came off for Marquette, as they gave up four goals in the final six minutes of the half, including two in the final two minutes and one with 12 seconds left, and bada bing, bada boom, the two squads went to the locker room knotted at six goals each. Like I said: Shouldn’t have come to this.
Wagner polished off his hat trick early in the third, and the only other goal of the quarter went to GU’s Daniel Bucaro, who was the party responsible for the 7-7 tie heading to the fourth. Things got a little twisted sideways for Marquette late in the third and early in the fourth, as they had stall clock violations on either side of the break that could have ended up spelling doom for them down the stretch.
That problem was drawn into sharp focus when Bucaro scored his fifth goal of the game at the 12:29 mark of the fourth to put Georgetown out in front for the first time all day. Patience was the order of the day, as Marquette would eventually work it around to Connor McClelland for his second goal of the afternoon and eighth on the season to even the show out at eight a piece. Six more minutes of scuffling around led to nothing by either side, and that led to the heroics from Richard and Wagner.
Somehow, we’ve managed to get this far in this recap without talking about Cole Blazer. The senior MU goalie recorded 15 saves in the game to do his part to push the squad to the victory. The big quarter for Blazer was the third, where he made six stops — honestly, a full game’s level of work — to hold Georgetown to only the goal by Bucaro in the frame. Part of the reason why Blazer was bombarded in this game was the turnovers by the Golden Eagles. MU lost control of the ball 16 times in the game, with only seven of them coming as errors forced by the Hoyas defense.
Up Next: Things do not get easier for the Golden Eagles. The good news is they’ll be back in the Valley next Saturday. The bad news is that they’ll be hosting #8 Villanova. Well, at least the Wildcats are currently ranked #8. They’re 6-2 on the season, but as of this writing, they’re up 3-2 in the second at home against Fairfield.