Eight straight unanswered goals by Villanova spelled the end for Marquette on Saturday, as the #8 ranked Wildcats beat the Golden Eagles, 14-9. Marquette is now 4-4 on the season and 1-1 in Big East action.
When we hit halftime, we had a nice little lacrosse contest going on. Marquette scored first, Villanova threw in the next three, two from Keegan Khan, to go up 3-1 midway through the first quarter. The Golden Eagles answered with three straight of their own, capped by a man-up goal by Anthony Orsini to rally and re-take the lead, 4-3. Orsini’s goal came 16 seconds into the second quarter, and while Villanova scored three goals through the rest of the frame, it was just 6-4 at the break. That’s a perfectly reasonable score for a lacrosse game at halftime, and while giving up two three goal runs isn’t ideal, trailing the #8 team in the country by two goals at halftime is no big deal.
The problem, of course, is that Villanova’s three goals to end the second quarter were merely the first three of the aforementioned eight goal run for the Wildcats. Khan scored three straight to close out that streak and put VU up 11-4 with 9:07 left in the third. That’s not great. Peter Henkhaus provided a moment of life for the Golden Eagles when he snapped the VU run, but by then it was kind of too late. Marquette had already gone over 18 minutes without a goal, and MU wouldn’t score again for another 13 minutes. That’s pretty much that. MU did score the final three goals of the game, all in the final two minutes, to give us a final score that looked a little closer than the game actually was.
The good news, I guess, is that Marquette did a pretty good job shutting down Christian Cuccinello and Danny Seibel. That pairing had combined for 44 of Villanova’s 100 goals coming into the game, and they only managed two goals, although Cuccinello did have three assists. The bad news is that Marquette had no idea what do do about Keeghan Khan. I’ve already mentioned five of Khan’s goals in the game by way of explaining what happened in the process of the game, but the freshman from New Jersey finished the game with a near mind-boggling seven goals and an assist. He had 15 goals on the season BEFORE the game, and when you allow a guy to score the equivalent of 47% of his output through nine games in just one 60 minute session, it’s not what you want.
Beyond the mere score of the game, there was a certain amount of good news/bad news for this game. Good news: Zachary Melillo returned from injury and won 17 of the 26 faceoffs in the game to give Marquette their usual advantage on draws when Melillo’s in the lineup. The bad news came in terms of Marquette not being able to take advantage of that advantage. Coming into the game, Marquette had been whistled for just nine penalties in their previous seven games. The Golden Eagles had to suffer through EIGHT extra-man opportunities for Villanova in this game. Yeah, they killed off six of them, which is great, but Marquette just could not get on a solid path in this one, especially once they got whistled for four penalties during the third quarter. If you’re trying to pull an upset of a top 10 team, you definitely can not attempt to match your seven game total for penalties in just 60 minutes.
Up Next: Well, the good news is that Marquette doesn’t play a ranked team next. St. John’s was earning votes this past week, but they lost to Providence on Saturday to drop to 6-3 overall and 0-1 in Big East action. The Red Storm is better than expected this season, as the loss to the Friars was their first to a team that wasn’t ranked in the top 10 in the country at the time. First draw in Queens is scheduled for noon Central on Saturday, April 7, with the streaming broadcast coming on WatchESPN.