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Marquette Men’s Lacrosse Starts & Ends Badly Against Providence

The middle part was pretty good, but it wasn’t enough to get a win.

John Wagner
John Wagner etched his name as one of the best attackers in Marquette history in the loss to Providence.

Between the 25 second mark of the first quarter and the 13:00 minute mark of the fourth quarter on Saturday, Marquette men’s lacrosse outscored Providence 8-5. That’s pretty solid for a little bit more than the middle half of the game.

The problem, of course, is that on the outsides of the timeframe I just laid out there for you, Providence outscored Marquette 10-0, and thus, the Friars got the 15-8 victory at Anderson Stadium in Rhode Island. With the loss, Marquette is now 6-6 on the year and 2-2 in Big East play. Things are going to be very twitchy for the Golden Eagles in terms of a conference tournament berth, as there is only a home date with Denver remaining on the league slate.

As you’d expect, things went horribly wrong for Marquette straight out of the gate. They got doubled up on shots in the first quarter, 12-6, as the Friars took a 5-1 lead after the first 15 minutes. MU’s first two possessions of the game ended in turnovers, leading to Providence taking a 2-0 lead, and following PC’s third goal of the game, Jared Hershman won the ensuing faceoff to himself to try to get MU going, but pretty much immediately turned it over. Three turnovers in four possessions and already down 3-0, and we weren’t quite halfway through the quarter.

I’m making a big deal about that 10-0 margin in the outsides of the game, but three straight goals by Marquette bridging the first quarter into the second made it a 5-3 game with 10:05 left before halftime. This game would eventually get away from Marquette, but it only looked like that at the end. Marquette’s real problem was that they let the Friars keep them at arm’s length. PC answered that 3-0 run with goals from Brendan Kearns and Matt Grillo, but MU got the next two to make it a 7-5 game. Providence got the last goal of the first half and the first goal of the second half from — surprise! — Kearns and Grillo , and it was back to 9-5. Yet once again, Marquette put together back-to-back goals, this time from John Wagner and Peter Henkhaus, and it was a 9-7 game favoring the Friars with 5:49 left in the third quarter.

We went into the fourth with Providence up 10-7, and Connor McClelland got his 11th goal of the season with 13 minutes left in the game. That pulled Marquette within two goals yet again, and it was anyone’s game. Grillo scored twice for Providence in the next seven minutes, sandwiching a goal from Evan McGreen, and suddenly it was 13-8 with 6:08 to go. That’s bad. You can be sure that Providence head coach Chris Gabrielli made it very clear to his team what happened last year in Milwaukee from that point on. Last year, Providence was leading 11-7 with 1:40 to play before Marquette won in overtime, 12-11. MU got four goals in the final 100 seconds, including a buzzer beater to force OT, and you know Gabrielli emphasized this point to his troops this time around. PC closed it down with two more goals in the final five minutes, and that was that.

John Wagner had two goals on the day, with his first one giving him 70 career goals and thus 100 career points for Marquette. He’s just the third Marquette player to hit the century mark in points, trailing along behind Ryan McNamara (152) and Conor Gately (140). Wagner’s second goal of the day pushed him past Kyle Whitlow on the career goals chart, where only McNamara (102) and Gately (77) are still in front of him.

Up Next: Marquette will be off until next week Saturday, when they’ll play their second neutral site game of the year. This one will be against #7 Duke (10-3), who will be coming in off back-to-back wins over top 10 teams. The game will be played at Bethpage High School out on Long Island in New York as the sixth entry in the Battle At Bethpage series. Proceeds from the game will benefit both the Bethpage Educational Foundation and Island Harvest.