#14 Denver took Marquette out of their comfort zone over the final 45 minutes of action on Friday night, as the Pioneers rallied to win, 9-8, at Valley Fields. Marquette drops to 6-8 on the year, and will need help from Providence and St. John’s on Saturday to extend their season.
The first 15 minutes of the game were fantastic. Marquette found the back of the net five times in the opening quarter, led by two goals from Ryan Fazio. The Golden Eagles outshot Denver 12-8, created five Pioneer turnovers, and won the ground ball battle 9-8. It was about as perfect a 15 minutes of lacrosse as you could possibly want against the #14 team in the country, and at the end of the frame, Marquette led 5-1.
The Golden Eagles would score just three more times for the remainder of the game.
The writing was on the wall at halftime, as the Pios flipped the game nearly all the way around with a 4-1 margin in the second quarter. Only Griffin Fleming’s goal at the 5:38 mark broke up the Denver run to pull them within one of Marquette at the break, 6-5. The real problem was the final two goals of the half, to be honest. Denver’s first three goals of the game came from guys scoring their third, eighth, and sixth goals of the season respectively, and quite honestly, the third one was a bit of a lucky shot as Danny Logan threw it in from beyond midfield as Marquette attempted to ride Denver into a 20 second clearing violation.
WARNING: 10-man ride at your own risk. Danny Logan finds the back of the net from just in-front of the Marquette bench heading into the second-quarter media timeout. #SCTop10 #PioneerTogether #MARQvDEN pic.twitter.com/ih1B2mpqLT— Denver Men’s Lacrosse (@DU_MLAX) April 27, 2019
Goal #4 came from Ethan Walker, Denver’s leading scorer, his first of the day. Goal #4 came from Ted Sullivan, who was tied for third on the team in goals coming into this one. Marquette was controlling the game when they were keeping Denver’s potent offensive players from finding lanes and angles. The final two goals of the half came from said potent players, and that was not good.
The pair from Walker and Sullivan to end the half were the beginning of a five goal run by Denver. Walker scored to open up the third quarter, and Austin French, yet another of DU’s talent on offense, fired in two goals less than a minute apart. All of a sudden, Denver found themselves leading for the first time, holding a margin of 8-6. That’s a 7-1 run for Denver from the end of the first quarter over the next 19 minutes, and as much as the first frame was exactly how you beat the #14 team in the country, this was the opposite.
Marquette got the show back on the road with goals from Bob Pelton and Peter Henkhaus late in the third to knot the game back up at eight each. This was still very much in their grasp, at least until 45 seconds after Henkhaus’ goal. Sullivan scored to put Denver up 9-8 with 2:10 left in the third, and the astute reader has already realized that’s the final score of the game.
The Golden Eagles would be gifted three extra man opportunities in the fourth quarter, marking the first penalties on Denver since the first quarter ended. However, nothing terribly productive came from them, and ultimately, Denver was able to just burn out the clock and leave Milwaukee with a win.
I really feel that I have to tip my cap to John Hulsman here. He made 10 of his 11 saves in the game in the final 45 minutes to do what he could to keep the Golden Eagles in this game. The defense in general made stop after stop after stop, especially in the fourth quarter, to give the offense a chance to throw goals in the net, but Denver was not allowing Marquette to get the motion and crisp passing that was leading to the goals in the first quarter.
Up Next: Maybe more lacrosse, maybe nothing. In fairness to everyone involved, that was going to be the first part of this section win or lose here. Marquette was going to need help to get into the Big East tournament even if they had scored their first ever regular season win over Denver. The difference is that instead of needing one of two possibilities, MU will now need both possibilities to come in for them to reach the postseason. Providence needs to beat Villanova and St. John’s needs to beat Georgetown in order for the Golden Eagles to get one more game this season. Both games start at noon on Saturday, with Providence’s game on the Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go and St. John’s getting the spotlight on CBS Sports Network.