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Marquette Men’s Lacrosse Preview: vs #3 Duke

The Golden Eagles head to Long Island for a neutral site game with local charity implications.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - East Regional - Washington DC Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Look. I’ve gotten tired of talking about how badly Duke has completely owned Marquette men’s lacrosse over the past six years. Duke has a +65 goal differential in the series, and that is in just six games. It’s been bad for the Golden Eagles, and it’s not fun to try and pretend to talk about how Marquette might win this game. On top of that, this game is essentially meaningless for Marquette. Their at-large hopes for the NCAA tournament are completely out the door at this point, so even if they pull off the biggest regular season win in program history here, it’s not getting them into the field. All that matters is getting into the Big East tournament to try to get the automatic bid, and Duke is in the ACC.

Thus, I’d like to talk about how great The Battle At Bethpage is.

Bethpage Union Free School District has a financial support program called Bethpage Educational Foundation. They’re an official non-profit organization that “seeks o provide meaningful assistance to the educational program in the Bethpage Schools.” They round up money through fundraisers and alumni connections, and pour all of that back into the school district. Here’s some examples of what they do with the money, although these examples appear to be out of date:

We recently assisted the district with the purchase of a piano for JFK, support for the Challenge Day experience for all high school sophomores, and the mentoring program at Bethpage High School. We continue to underwrite all of the 21st Century Scholarships for this year’s graduating class. Through a grant we received from the Verizon Foundation, we are sponsoring writing projects via the K-12 21st Century program and we are assiting the district to pilot the new Achieve 3000 Literacy Program at John F. Kennedy. Our Minigrants for Teachers program, challenged teachers to think of classroom resources they could use to engage students in new ways. We supported grants in each of the five schools in the district.

I say this appears to be out of date because earlier on the page I’m getting that from, they talk about how the Battle at Bethpage between Duke and Denver was 1) recent and 2) their most successful fundraiser to date. That game was in 2011. That was eight years ago. Still, all of those programs sound pretty great and awesome for a local school district. It’s also pretty great and awesome that lacrosse, specifically Battle At Bethpage, is the most successful thing that helps the Bethpage School District.

In addition to financially supporting extra programs for the school district, at least this year’s Battle at Bethpage is also assisting Island Harvest. Active since 1992, Island Harvest has become Long Island’s largest hunger relief organization. They help distribute food to 570 food pantries, soup kitchens, and other non-profit organizations on the island, which seems pretty great. Money taken in from tickets for the game is going to Bethpage Educational Foundation, but anyone attending the game is asked to bring at least two cans of food to donate to Island Harvest. I’m seeing notes across the internet that capacity at Bethpage High School is 6,000 people, and HOOOOOBOY, 12,000 cans of food sounds like it would be very beneficial to Island Harvest.

In short: Great lacrosse going to benefit two great organizations on Long Island. That is a very good thing, and I’m very happy to see Marquette getting a chance to help out.

Game #13: vs #3 Duke Blue Devils (10-3, 2-2 ACC)

Date: Saturday, April 20, 2019
Time: 10am Central
Location: Bethpage High School, Bethpage, NY
Streaming: Nope.
Wait, what? Yeah, no streaming. I presume Bethpage HS isn’t wired for it, but the game will air on tape delay in the NYC area on Verizon FIOS.
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax

Marquette is 0-6 all time against Duke, with one meeting in each of the program’s first six seasons in Division 1. Duke has won by 10 or more goals in four of the previous encounters, including last year’s 17-5 decision at Koskinen Stadium in North Carolina.

This is the regular season finale for the Blue Devils. They wrapped up ACC action with a record of 2-2 after losing their first two conference games and then winning their last two games coming into Saturday’s contest against Marquette. It’s a weird league with just five teams, of course, and Duke’s losses were to unranked North Carolina and #12 Syracuse, both on the road, while the wins were at home against #9 Notre Dame and #4 Virginia. Wild! Following the game against the Golden Eagles, Duke is headed to the ACC tournament, which will involve all five teams and take place over the next two weekends.

Outside of the two ACC losses, Duke’s only other loss on the year came in the second game of the season. They lost at home by a score of 13-9 to High Point, and that game got out of control in the fourth quarter. Duke took a 7-6 lead early in the quarter before the Panthers ripped off six straight goals to hold a 12-7 lead with nine minutes left. Since then, they’ve racked up wins against six ranked teams, so a letdown against a High Point squad that appears to be headed to a SoCon regular season title isn’t the worst thing in the world in terms of losses at this point.

As expected for a top three team, Duke’s efficiency is great on both ends of the field. Lacrosse Reference has the Blue Devils as the 12th most efficient offense in the country and the 10th most efficient defense. This might not be a particularly high scoring game, as MU head coach Joe Amplo is a disciple of Duke head coach John Danowski, having played for him and worked as an assistant coach underneath him at Hofstra. Both men do not have their squads playing at a particularly fast pace on offense, with both squads ranked below #45 in the country, and remember, that’s out of 73 teams.

If you round up, Duke has a trio of 30 point scorers for Marquette to worry about here. Joe Robertson leads the way with a team high 33 goals and 15 assists, giving him a team high 48 points. Brad Smith has paired his team high 20 assists with 20 goals for 40 points on the year, while Joey Manown is Mr. Round Up with 20 goals and nine assists to be the guy who isn’t quite to 30 points yet. That’s a pretty great diversity of scoring options for the Blue Devils this season, and all three are shooting over 33%, too.

Turner Uppgren will be your goalie barring some kind of weird malfunction. He’s allowing just 8.97 goals per 60 minutes, which is probably very bad news for Marquette. He’s stopping 51.4% of shots on goal, which is fine, not great. This tells us that Duke’s defense is very good, but if you can find lanes to shoot on Uppgren, you can put the ball in the net.