April 2, 2013
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WILMETTE, Ill. - No. 5/4 Notre Dame made its argument Tuesday why it still belongs in discussions as the top men's lacrosse team in NCAA Division I. One day removed from falling out of the top spot in the national rankings, the Fighting Irish (7-2) rolled to a 17-5 neutral-site victory over a less-experienced Marquette (2-5) squad at Loyola Academy's Hoerster Field.
The Golden Eagles, who started seven underclassmen including a half dozen freshmen, kept things close early on following a fairly pedestrian first quarter in which both sides tried to control the tempo by being highly selective on the attacking end.
Co-captain Ben Dvorak got Marquette on the scoreboard with 40 seconds left in the opening frame to knot the score at 1-1. It didn't stay even for long, however, as Notre Dame's John Scioscia closed out the first quarter by registering the first of his six goals on the day.
The score remained in favor of the Irish, 2-1, until near the midway point of the second quarter. Notre Dame then got on a roll, adding its third tally at the 8:22 mark to make it 3-1. The Irish never looked back from there, out-scoring Marquette 6-0 in the second to grab an 8-1 halftime lead.
Notre Dame went on to rattle off nine unanswered goals while holding the Golden Eagles scoreless for a span of nearly 22 minutes that stretched from the tail end of the first quarter until the 8:55 mark of the third. Kyle Whitlow unleashed a low-to-high shot past Irish goalie John Kemp, unassisted, to pull MU to within eight at 10-2.
MU went toe-to-toe with Notre Dame from that point on. The Irish, who boasted 11 different goal-scorers, were just three goals better than MU the rest of the way, out-scoring the Golden Eagles 7-4 over the course of the last quarter and a half of action.
Golden Eagles' goalie JJ Sagl made seven saves, playing the majority of Tuesday's game between the pipes before giving way to Matt Barone for the last four minutes, 40 seconds of play. Offensively, Connor Bernal added two fourth-quarter goals to lead MU with two points, and freshman Phil McFarland notched his first collegiate goal with 41 seconds remaining in the contest.
Head coach Joe Amplo went with a platoon at the Faceoff X, where Marquette won 15 of 25 faceoffs between Cullen Cassidy (7-13), K.C. Kennedy (6-9) and Paul Riportella (2-3). The Golden Eagles also won the battle for groundballs, 25-21, led by eight groundballs picked up by defenseman Liam Byrnes.
Tuesday's announced attendance was 1,530, making it was the largest crowd of the season to watch a Marquette University men's lacrosse game.
Things don't get any easier for this week for the Golden Eagles, who travel to Denver for a Friday night matchup against the No. 3/3 Pioneers. Faceoff is set for 8 p.m. Central time.