When you’re the new team at a school like Marquette, it’s safe to say that all eyes will be on you. The men’s lacrosse squad is up for the attention and the challenges it will face in its inaugural season.
Regular season play will begin for Marquette’s newest team in the spring after it patiently served its two-year moratorium. The Golden Eagles will be playing independently for one season before moving up to play in the Big East in 2014.
Head coach Joe Amplo, formerly an assistant coach at Hofstra, is eager to move forward with practices and developing his players. Although it’s still early to determine exact expectations for the team on the field this season, Amplo would like to see his team give everything it has.
“It’s tough to put a tangible number or goal out there, but just very simply trying to get better every day,” Amplo said. “I think we’ve got to build a foundation for success and our success is just going to be trying to surpass our individual expectations and for ourselves. If we can do that every day, that to me is a tangible goal we can reach.”
Amplo has three Hofstra transfers joining him at Marquette. One of them, sophomore midfielder James Raveret, spent most of his summer in Calgary, Alberta playing in an indoor lacrosse league. His team advanced to play in the championship rounds in Toronto. Raveret said the experience has vastly improved his skills, and he is now looking ahead to helping Marquette become a force.
“As a team, I want to do the best we can,” said Raveret, a native of Glen Ellyn, Ill. “The number one thing I always look for is working hard, always doing your best, never giving up. Even if we’re up or down I want to keep playing our best game and hopefully that’ll do it for us and we’ll get some Ws.”
Amplo is hoping the Hofstra transfers will help the younger players progress in addition to providing leadership and a certain level of comfort.
“The management from Hofstra here isn’t going to be much different in terms of the way we want to do things and what my expectations are on the field as well as off the field,” Amplo said. “My hope is that those guys continue to help the young guys grow in the culture that we’re trying to (create).”
Freshman midfielder Tyler Gilligan played for the Canadian U-19 world championship team this summer and was glad to have the opportunity to face the world’s top players in preparation for the spring.
“I got to see what the competition was like out there,” Gilligan said. “I was fortunate enough to play against all of the best players and see what the level of competition was like. I figure that will help me this coming season.”
Playing against Big East teams in the future will be a tall task for an infant Marquette lacrosse program, but Gilligan views the challenge as a chance for all players to improve quicker.
“I think that’s what everyone comes to college for, to play the best teams and see what the level of competition is like,” Gilligan said. “You only get better by playing the better teams and I feel that we are fortunate enough to have that opportunity to play the better teams.”