Lord almighty, that should not have gotten as stressful as it did.
Okay, splashy headline: Marquette Golden Eagles men’s lacrosse is 2-0 on the year, 2-0 under head coach Andrew Stimmel, and 1-0 at home after an 11-10 victory over Bellarmine on Saturday afternoon. Clap hands, squeal for joy, etc. High fives all around.
So, you’d think a one goal win was a bit stressful at the end, and rightly so. This should never ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever ever have gotten to this point. By the time the horn sounded to end the first quarter, Marquette had taken a 7-0 lead over the Knights, and six different Golden Eagles had found the back of the net. Just over two minutes into the second quarter, Connor McClelland scored his second goal of the game to make it an 8-0 lead.
Right now you’re doing the math in your head, aren’t you?
Over the next 42 minutes and 52 seconds, Bellarmine outscored Marquette 10-3, including a 3-0 run in the second quarter to make it a 9-4 game at the half, and the last two goals of the third quarter to make it a 10-6 game with 15 minutes to go.
That sounds like it was a safe lead, and if you’re a fan of Lacrosse Reference, you can go check on their live win percentage algorithm to see that it, y’know, probably was. Meanwhile, for those of us at the Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble at Valley Fields, things just kept getting more and more real all the time.
Chris Kirschner’s goal with 10:50 to play put Marquette up 11-6, and quite honestly, was quite relieving at the time. It was MU’s first goal since McClelland scored his fourth of the game with 13:07 to go in the third, and it gave someone not named Connor McClelland a goal for Marquette since the first quarter ended. However, the relief was very short lived, as BU got a goal from James Whiteford less than a minute later to make it 11-7.
Landon Trout hit the net with 6:03 to go, and the Knights had pulled within three. Marquette kept trying to burn clock to protect their lead, and Odin bless them for it, but it was not helping the ratcheting of the tension in the Bubble. Slowly but surely, nearly five more minutes bled out of the game with the Golden Eagles still up three. Morgan Macko, Bellarmine’s leading returning scorer from last year, got his only goal of the game with 80 seconds left to make it a two goal game. Still, 80 seconds is exactly one shot clock worth of time. All MU needed to do was win the faceoff and run around for a while.
They did get the win when Luke Anderson speared up the ground ball, but, uh, well, he turned it over. Trout picked that one up, the Knights called timeout with 59 seconds to go. Their play call worked nearly perfectly, as Macko drew attention from MU’s John Hulsman, who watched Macko run past him to the right of the cage but no one deterred Brayden Brown from following Macko. One quick flip backwards to Brayden Brown, and while Hulsman turned, Brown shot. Hulsman’s reaction was too late based on how close Brown already was.
11-10. 46 seconds to play.
So very much not over, even after that 8-0 lead.
And then Bellarmine won the ensuing faceoff.
And then Bellarmine was running some very strong looking offense.... and then a pass just got cut off in the middle when it hit a Marquette defender. It wasn’t a play on the ball, it was a badly thrown ball that hit a Marquette defender.
And then Moey Lardy said “enough with this crap,” and kicked the ball — not swatted with his pole, literally kicked with his shoe — 30 yards down field and into Marquette’s defensive end. Peter Henkhaus picked up the ground ball, Stimmel called timeout because duh, even with just two seconds left, and bang, Marquette wins.
IT KIND OF SUCKED, TO BE HONEST.
But it’s a win.
Connor McClelland was a machine for Marquette, essentially singlehandedly keeping the Golden Eagles in the game with four goals and two assists. Three of the four goals came after the end of the first quarter, which were all very very important in retrospect. Holden Patterson had two goals in the first quarter and an assist as well for a three point day. Ryan Fazio led Marquette with five ground balls, and seeing as Fazio plays attackman, that should tell you a whole hell of a lot about how this day went for the Golden Eagles. If it didn’t, the fact that fellow starting attacker Devon Cowan had four GBs should lock that in for you. Mason Woodward had another quality day in his second collegiate game, spearing two ground balls and recording a team high three caused turnovers.
Up Next: Marquette will be back in action a week from now, and they’ll be back at Valley Fields again. It’ll be Jacksonville coming to town to be the opposition, and they’ll be 0-1 after a 15-14 home loss to Detroit Mercy in their opener. They were supposed to host Vermont on Saturday, but that game was cancelled due to the Catamounts’ inability to travel to Florida for the game.