The Big East announced postseason awards for men’s lacrosse on Wednesday, and YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles had four men named to the all-conference teams. Junior attacker John Wagner and junior long stick midfielder Noah Richard were included on the First Team while sophomore defender Nick Grill and senior face-off specialist Zachary Melillo were added to the Second Team. Richard was one of 10 unanimous choices on the 14 player First Team.
Here’s the Big East’s writeup on MU’s First Teamers:
Marquette, the No. 4 seed, also had two players on the All-BIG EAST First Team with unanimous selection Noah Richard and John Wagner. Richard, a junior long-stick midfielder, picked up 44 ground balls, 24 in conference play to rank third. Wagner was a clutch attacker for the Golden Eagles this season scoring five game-winning goals, four coming in overtime. Wagner led Marquette in points with 35 (27 goals, eight assists).
Somehow, that’s actually undervaluing both guys, I think. It neglects to mention that Joseph contributed 11 of Marquette’s caused turnovers this season. That has him at just over one per game (he missed three games), and accounts for more than one-seventh of MU’s team total on the year. If you’re saying “hey, 11 in a season can’t be that impressive,” well, let me leave you with this: Coming into 2018, Kyle Whitlow had the 10th most career caused turnovers with 10 in four seasons.
On some level, I’m shocked that Wagner wasn’t a unanimous choice for the First Team. Sure, sixth in the conference in goals per game isn’t all that impressive, I’ll grant you that. However, five of his 27 goals on the year were game-winners, second most in the league, and he recorded the winner in all three of Marquette’s Big East wins. Beyond that, all five of Wagner’s game-winning goals this season have come in either the final 10 seconds of regulation or in overtime, and that has to count for something.... especially since MU only has six wins total.
Here’s the GoMarquette.com writeups on Grill and Melillo:
Grill, also earned second team all-league honors as a freshman and is the primary shutdown defender for the Golden Eagles. The Bridgeview, New Jersey native has 22 ground balls and five caused turnover this season after posting 15 and nine as a freshman.
Melillo, who earns the third second team all-league accolade of his career, has won nearly 60 percent at the face-off X in 2018, checking in at a .596 clip (124-of-208) and leads the team with 47 ground balls. After returning from a midseason injury, Melillo won almost 70 percent in the next four games, which included contests against St. John’s and Providence and top-10 squads in Villanova and Notre Dame. The Warren, New Jersey native is Marquette’s all-time leader in face-off wins and winning percentage and ranks sixth nationally among NCAA active career leaders in wins.
It’s important to recognize that Grill is already one of the best defenders in the Big East as a sophomore and has been essentially from the moment that he stepped onto campus. Melillo is likely undervalued in terms of his impact on play in the Big East, but that’s through no fault of his own. He merely had the misfortune of playing at Marquette at the exact same time as Denver’s Trevor Baptiste, the best face-off man in college lacrosse history.
Here’s the rundown on all of the all-conference teams and the individual awards as well:
Attack Player of the Year
Ethan Walker, Denver, So., A
Midfielder of the Year
Trevor Baptiste, Denver, Sr., FOS ^ #
Defensive Player of the Year
Dylan Gaines, Denver, Jr., D
Goalkeeper of the Year
Nick Marrocco, Georgetown, Sr., G
Freshman of the Year
Keegan Khan, Villanova, Fr., A ^
Coaching Staff of the Year
All-BIG EAST First Team %
Daniel Bucaro, Georgetown, Jr., A ^
Christian Cuccinello, Villanova, Sr., A ^
John Wagner, Marquette, Jr., A
Ethan Walker, Denver, So., A ^
Craig Berge, Georgetown, Sr., M ^
Colton Jackson, Denver, Jr., M ^
Connor Kirst, Villanova, So., M ^
James Barclay, Providence, Sr., D ^
Dylan Gaines, Denver, Jr., D ^
Dylan Johnson, Denver, Jr., D
Noah Richard, Marquette, Jr., LSM ^
Trevor Baptiste, Denver, Sr., FOS ^
Nick Marrocco, Georgetown, Sr., G
Tate Boyce, Providence, Jr., G
All-BIG EAST Second Team @
TJ Comizio, Villanova, Jr., SSDM
Austin French, Denver, Jr., A
Nick Grill, Marquette, So., D
Matt Hanley, St. John’s, Sr., G
Ryan Hursey, Georgetown, Sr., SSDM
Joe Madsen, St. John’s, So., A
Aidan Marron, St. John’s, Jr., D
Evan McGreen, Providence, Fr., M
Zachary Melillo, Marquette, Sr., FOS
Keegan Khan, Villanova, Fr., A
Owen Prybylski, Villanova, Fr., D
Joe Reid, Denver, Sr., M
Danny Seibel, Villanova, Sr., A
Gibson Smith, Georgetown, Fr., D
Lucas Wittenberg, Georgetown, Jr., M
^ - denotes unanimous selection
# - Midfielder of the Year in 2015, 2016 and 2017
% - due to a tie in voting, there are two goalies on the all-conference first team
@ - due to a tie in voting, there are 15 players on the all-conference second team