The Marquette men’s lacrosse team played the program’s first ever home game at Valley Fields against Concordia on Saturday morning and came away with a 9-5 victory. The win marks the end of the fall season, in which Marquette finished 3-0.
The Concordia victory comes just one week after the Golden Eagles won their first two exhibition matches in program history against High Point and Robert Morris at the Nick Colleluori Classic in Philadelphia.
Tyler Melnyk led the offense last weekend, but an influx of different players provided the offense for Marquette and complemented his goal on the day.
Freshmen Connor Gately, Ryan Buckley and Paul Riportella left their mark on the scorecard with goals. Redshirt freshman KC Kennedy looked at the game as a chance to continue his campaign for more playing time when the spring season comes.
“Right now, I’m one of the many guys battling for time every day,” Kennedy said. “Every time we come out, it’s like a war.”
Freshman Brendan Smith played in his first game of the season and provided a goal at the end of the game.
Before arriving at Marquette, Smith was ranked 80th on ESPN’s top 100 recruits for the class of 2012. Smith’s accuracy and power are among the best on the team, and he savored Saturday’s opportunity to showcase his talent.
Concordia may be a Division III school, but redshirt freshman Dan Mojica made sure the defense did not overlook its competitors.
“You still have to come out and prove you’re the better team by giving it your all,” Mojica said. “It doesn’t matter, because you’re trying to do your best no matter what.”
Rain was coming down at Valley Fields on Saturday morning, but it did not stop hundreds of fans from making themselves at home for the game. Rain does not compete with the snow that the team has put up with in the past preparing for its inaugural campaign.
Coach Joe Amplo said the team’s energy decreased from last week’s victories through the week’s practices and that he noticed a slower start to Saturday’s game.
“Today was a little disappointing in the sense that the emotional energy from last week did not carry over into this week,” Amplo said. “I hope they learned a valuable lesson that the emotional investment that they bring each week needs to be the same.”
Up next for Marquette is a shift in practice focus. Morning lifting workouts with strength and conditioning coach Todd Smith will continue, but there will be more individual focus on each player by the coaching staff.
The next exhibition matches will be on the road against Michigan, Hofstra and Pennsylvania. Marquette does not have a game at Valley Fields until it faces Detroit on April 20. That is one of two home games this season, with the other coming against Duke.