We’ve seen Marquette men’s lacrosse do some pretty wild and amazing things over their first six seasons of Division 1 competition, but sometimes things just get too out control for anyone to do anything about. That was pretty much the circumstance on Saturday afternoon at Valley Fields, as Detroit Mercy opened up a nine goal lead midway through the fourth quarter and hung on to beat Marquette, 15-12. The Golden Eagles are now 2-1 on the season.
The first four minutes of the game were wild enough, with both sides turning it over a bunch. Detroit Mercy got the first goal of the game nearly five minutes in, and just a shade under six minutes later, they were up 4-0. The Titans scored on four consecutive shots to give you an idea of how this was going. Marquette got a goal from Peter Henkhaus shortly thereafter, but it was 4-1 heading into the second, and 5-1 a minute into it.
MU would claw two goals back in the period, but a goal from Brett Erskine with 65 seconds left had the Titans up 7-3 at the half. Not good, but also not unmanageable.
Things that are unmanageable: Giving up four goals in five minutes to start the third quarter. Luke Anderson got whistled for holding AND pushing 30 seconds into the half, Detroit Mercy cashed in their man-up opportunity, and it was off to the races from there. Matthew Vangalen finished off his hat trick with back-to-back goals, and it was 11-3 with 10:07 left in the third. It got worse from there. After an Anthony Orsini goal to break up the run, UDM’s Seth Mendell scored, and to add insult to injury, face-off man Alex Jarzembowski won the ensuing draw to himself, zipped down the middle of Main Street, and beat Gabe Stein for their 13th goal of the game and a nine goal margin.
Ultimately, that was that. Marquette did mount a furious rally, with Henkhaus scoring three straight to close the quarter and Connor McClelland and Griffin Fleming extended it into a 5-0 run with goals in the fourth. But it was 13-9 with 8:47 to go. It was still too much of a pit. Goals from Erskine and AJ Van Voorhis bracketed a marker from MU’s Tanner Thomson to provide insurance for the visitors, leaving two late Golden Eagles goals to essentially be meaningless.
Let’s drop in this collection of comments from head coach Joe Amplo following the game. I mentioned during the game that I couldn’t even begin to fathom the level of frustration and disappointment he was feeling, and I think I was right.
Joe Amplo reacts following the loss to Detroit Mercy on Saturday afternoon. No. 11 Ohio State is up next for the Golden Eagles. pic.twitter.com/oaDhGldJR0— Marquette Lacrosse (@MarquetteMLax) February 23, 2019
That’s a video portrait of a man who is doing something that he is required by his boss to do but has nothing nice to say about anyone in particular but can’t actually say the things he wants to say in this setting. If you’ve been following the Golden Eagles under Amplo’s direction for the last six years, then you know exactly what kind of an indictment of his team it was when he said that they got bullied in this game. I don’t know if this is a thing that Amplo’s using as a measuring stick or not, but the stats show it, to an extent: UDM grabbed more ground balls than Marquette, 32-27, including 17-14 in the second half and 10-5 in the very bad third quarter, and the Titans won the face-off battle for the day, 19-11.
We should, at this point, note that PJ Cox took Brendan Connolly’s spot in the starting lineup on defense, and the 6’3” senior from Maryland did not play at all in the game. Marquette’s defensive situation is such that losing Connolly for this game should not have been a major loss, but he has been a stalwart for Amplo. Hopefully it’s a short term absence for Connolly.
Henkhaus’ three straight goals in the third quarter propelled him to a career high five goals here, so that’s a shiny note on an otherwise dour day. Thomson and McClelland both had two goals and an assist to finish with three points. Noah Richard led the ground ball charge with seven, and he added three caused turnovers to lead the team there, too.
John Hulsman started in net for MU, but after letting in 10 on 12 shots on goal in the first 33 minutes, he gave way to Gabe Stein for most of the remainder. Stein did a bit better, allowing five and saving four, but UDM was up 10-3 when he entered the game.
How about some highlights, such as they are, courtesy of Marquette Wire and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Let’s just say that this was the worst possible time for Marquette to have a disaster of a game like this. The Golden Eagles will head out of town for a neutral site game next weekend, and their opponent is a monster one. They’ll head to Dallas, TX, to face #10 Ohio State on the campus of SMU. Why? Who knows. In any case, the Buckeyes beat Bucknell 16-13 on Saturday to run their record to 4-0 on the season and presumably solidify their spot as a top 10 team in the Inside Lacrosse media poll.