Big offensive days from Marquette’s best offensive players led the Golden Eagles to bounce back from a 7-3 deficit after the first quarter to pull off a 17-15 victory against Robert Morris on Tuesday afternoon. With the win, the Golden Eagles have snapped a three game losing streak and are now 3-3 on the season.
As we discussed in the preview for this game, it was impossible to guess or theorize or predict what we might get from Marquette in this game. It wasn’t exactly easy to figure out what was going to come from RMU, either for that matter. What we ended up getting is one of the wildest men’s lacrosse games of the season, no matter the parties involved.
After head coach Joe Amplo suspended 19 players including the entire starting offense for last Saturday’s game against Cleveland State, things did not start out well for Marquette out in Pennsylvania. The Golden Eagles won the opening draw off a violation and then promptly turned the ball over. Before a minute went by, Robert Morris was up 1-0, and the Colonials played make it/take it lacrosse and suddenly went up 3-0 in less than 90 seconds. When the head coach has gone out in public to question whether a heavy majority of the team actually deserves to wear the jersey, this is not the start that you want.
The hint that we were about to get a nutso game made itself very clear after Amplo called timeout following RMU’s third goal. Off another faceoff violation by Trey Arnold, MU picked up the ball, got it to Connor McClelland, who had committed the turnover to start the game, and boom, just 32 seconds after it was 3-0, it was 3-1. The two teams traded goals, and the Colonials put one more on the board before the quarter ended, and it was 7-3. Considering the 3-0 start, that’s not a bad 13 minutes for Marquette.
Rapid fire goals from the Golden Eagles to open the second started to crack the veneer of calm, and Andrew Romagnoli popped in one of his four goals on the day to make it 7-6 with 9:56 left in the second. RMU would get off just three shots, one going for a goal, over the rest of the half, and somehow, I don’t know how, but somehow, Marquette found themselves up 11-8 at halftime. That’s an 11-5 run over the last 28 minutes of the half after falling behind 3-0 inside of 90 seconds. What a weird game, and it was only halftime.
That lead was gone by the eight minute mark of the third quarter as Marquette struggled to hold onto the ball, and it was back to trading goals. Tanner Thomson and John Wagner both scored for Marquette in the final three minutes, and MU clung to a 14-12 lead with 15 minutes to go. 45 minutes gone, 26 goals scored. What would we get from the final period?
Well, turns out we’d get the quietest quarter in terms of goals scored. Thomson and Wagner scoring near the end of the third led to three more to open the final frame for Marquette, including two more from Thomson for a 5-0 run. It was MU’s second 5-0 run of the game, and just like the first one, it helped burn nine minutes off the clock. That made it 17-12 with 8:43 to go, but no one felt particularly comfortable with that lead, and you had to think that RMU figured they had a chance at this still. When Shane Majewski scored for the Colonials less than a minute later, it definitely felt like it wasn’t over.
But Marquette forced a turnover after RMU won the ensuing faceoff, and after two fairly quick possessions for both teams, Marquette got a ground ball from Nick Grill and then burned two minutes off the clock. They were firing shots to find insurance goals, and Alex Heger made two saves to keep Marquette from locating them. That sent the ball over to the Colonials with 3:19 to go, Ryan Smith scored shortly thereafter, and MU’s Brendan Connolly got sent off for slashing on a delayed call. 17-14, 2:41 to go, and RMU going a man up. Not fun!
But Marquette burned it off, thanks to a pair of saves from John Hulsman. Robert Morris would finally put another one in the net with 1:13 to go to make it 17-15. Hey, they scored three in 90 seconds, and Robert Morris had a slight edge in faceoffs on the day. This wasn’t over. Marquette won this one, though, and turnovers going both ways kind of helped the Golden Eagles burn some time off the clock. Finally, there was just not enough time on the clock for even the potent RMU offense to do anything more, and the Golden Eagles snagged the much needed victory.
Romagnoli, Thomson, and Wagner were all amongst the suspended on Saturday, and they did heavy lifting for Marquette here. Combined, the trio hit for 10 of MU’s goals and added five of the 10 assists on the day. That’s definitely one way, and really the best way, honestly, to respond to your coaching staff’s challenge. Luke Anderson had a goal, an assist, and four ground balls on the day for an outstanding job in the midfield. Chris Rolfing got the nod in net to start for the second straight day, but after seven first quarter goals and just two saves, Amplo turned to John Hulsman for the remainder. The Bellarmine transfer made 10 saves in the final 45 minutes while allowing just eight goals as the Golden Eagles tallied 14 going the other way to do him a favor.
How about some highlights, courtesy of NEC Front Row and RMUColonials.com? It’s a TWELVE MINUTE VIDEO PACKAGE, and yes, it has MU highlights in it, too. Multiple angles and slo-mo, too, which is neat. Shoutout to whoever made the call to show stuff from both teams.
Up Next: Marquette will be back in action on Saturday when they return to Valley Fields to play Michigan. It’s supposed to be sunny and 40 in Milwaukee on Saturday, but I suspect that the rain that we’re supposed to get between now and then will stop this game from being played outdoors. The Wolverines are 3-2 on the season after a 17-11 loss to #4 Yale over the weekend.