Four goals from Devon Cowan led the way for the Golden Eagles on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough as Villanova men’s lacrosse prevailed to hand Marquette a 16-14 loss at Valley Fields. MU drops to 0-2 on the season and 0-2 in Big East play.
Marquette led 4-3 early in the second quarter on a strike from freshman Russell Melendez, but what happened next can be viewed as where Villanova won the game. Over the next three and a half minutes, the Wildcats powered in four goals bookended by a pair from Matt Campbell to take a 7-4 lead with 8:02 left in the quarter. Villanova would never get more than three goals away from Marquette the rest of the day, but to suddenly swing the game like that.... it was a problem that MU chased the rest of the afternoon.
The lead didn’t even last, honestly. Cowan answered the run with his first goal of the day a little more than 30 seconds later, and after Eric Overbay scored for the Wildcats about a minute after that, the next three goals of the game all came off MU sticks. Connor McClelland cashed in a Villanova penalty, Cowan scored again, and Anthony Courcelle scored his first career goal in transition to tie the game at eight each.
With 3:08 left in the second quarter. Yeah, that’s five goals scored combined in less than five minutes. This game went like that, and no, that wasn’t the final goal of the half. That one went to Campbell, who took advantage of a McClelland pushing violation to put the Wildcats up 9-8 at the break.
Another goal by Campbell started off the third quarter, and Marquette was chasing down two again. Villanova would get another three goal advantage with 7:50 left in the quarter on a goal from Austin Fraser, and you start to see how having to chase down that first three goal lead was a problem here.
Still, an EMO goal from Griffin Fleming and the first goal of the season for Morgan Macko made it a 13-12 Villanova lead heading to the fourth quarter. After a goal by Colin Crowley early in the period, Cowan and Melendez scored less than two minutes apart to knot the game at 14 with 9:37 to play. This is the important part here: Marquette had a chance to win. Down three multiple times in the game, and the victory was within their grasp. Anything can happen in nine minutes of lacrosse.
Unfortunately for Marquette, the “anything” here was two goals for Villanova. Corey McManus hit the net at the 7:28 mark, and Keegan Khan scored with 5:05 to go. Villanova won the ensuing faceoff after Khan’s goal, and burned out as much clock as they could. MU didn’t need to hurry, but Cowan’s shot was saved by Will Vitton with exactly three minutes to go. A VU possession was the last thing that MU needed right there, and the time just started evaporating on the Golden Eagles. A body checking penalty on Logan Kreinz with 1:28 to go ended whatever chances MU had left.
Cowan’s four was the best mark on the team, and he topped the charts in assists to lead the squad in points with six. McClelland, Fleming, and Melendez all scored twice, and Fleming added an assist as well. Thomas Washington had nine ground balls while winning 14 of his 31 faceoffs in the game. Peter Henkhaus and Mason Woodward tied for the GB lead amongst field player with five each, and both Woodward and Zach Granger had two caused turnovers.
John Hulsman started the game for Marquette and played the first 30 minutes, making three saves while allowing nine goals. Gabe Stein replaced him at halftime, and he made 12 saves while allowing seven goals. No sign of Sean Richard, who was the game #1 starter for the Golden Eagles. It’s still unclear what head coach Andrew Stimmel’s intent is with his netminders, as he has swapped them out at halftime in both of Marquette’s games.
Up Next: Things get harder, as MU goes from a ranked team to a preseason ranked team that dropped to merely receiving votes to a ranked team. Georgetown was the #5 team in the country in last week’s poll, and they did nothing to dissuade voters this weekend. They are 2-0 on the year and are currently outscoring their opponents by a margin of 35-2.
No, that’s not a joke. They have held both of their opponents — including the Villanova team we just talked about — to just one goal each while scoring at least 16 against both of them. Literally scoring two goals will be a major accomplishment as MU ventures out for their first road game of the season next Saturday, although the Hoyas might blow their streak when they visit Mount St. Mary’s on Tuesday evening. Or maybe they’ll shut those guys out! Who knows!? First draw on Saturday in Washington is set for 11am Central.