Jacksonville Holds Off Marquette, 9-8

from press release

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In a contest where the offense showed signs of awakening after a cold start to the season, it was the defense that delivered the victory for the Jacksonville University men's lacrosse team in the end. Forcing a turnover in the final 30 seconds and drawing a yellow card that they would turn out not to need, the Dolphins (1-4) picked up their first win of the season by shutting down a late charge from Marquette (1-4) to come away with a 9-8 win at D.B. Milne Field on Saturday.

Things didn't click right away for the Jacksonville offense. Twice in the opening minutes the Dolphins would hit a post on a shot attempt, in which time Marquette had gotten out to a 1-0 lead courtesy of Kyle Whitlow. Once JU found the back of the net, the game began to open up quickly. Mike McCredie got the ground ball on a Golden Eagle turnover and the ball ended up in the stick of Quint Miller, who scored his third of the season to knot the game at 1-1 halfway through the first quarter. A couple minutes later, Jacksonville ended up in possession after the teams traded turnovers and Miller deposited it into the lower right corner to give the Dolphins the lead at 2-1.

Before the first quarter ended, JU made it a 3-1 lead when freshman Blake Knobloch scored his first career goal, using his speed to pick apart the middle of the Marquette defense. Jacksonville made it four straight goals in the second quarter asChase McIntyre set up shop in front of the Marquette goal and took a feed from Duncan Clancy, Clancy's team-leading eighth assist of the season. The Golden Eagles would regroup though, getting a pair of goals from Tyler Melnyk before the quarter was over to make it a 4-3 game at the half.

The Dolphins were on the attack early in the third quarter when a turnover seemingly derailed them from a scoring opportunity. With the ball loose, a scrum ensued and Rob Moore came out of the pile in possession. He flung the ball to an open Miller, who completed his hat trick for a 5-3 advantage. The two-goal lead was short-lived, as Melnyk converted a hat trick of his own on a man advantage opportunity to slice JU's lead to 5-4 with 9:13 left in the third. Jacksonville put the clamps on Marquette the rest of the quarter though, and used goals from McIntyre and Moore to take a 7-4 lead into the fourth.

Once again with a man advantage, Henry Nelson got his first goal of the season to stem the tide and bring Marquette back within two at 7-5 within the first 30 seconds of the fourth quarter. The Golden Eagles were then able to win the face-off but a turnover and ground ball from Charlie Archer put Jacksonville back on offense and Moore scored his second goal of the day, circling out from behind the net and going low to beat Marquette keeper Jimmy Danaher.

Less than a minute later, Marquette cut the lead back to two yet again, with Bryan Badolato scoring his first of the day after a five-goal explosion a week ago. That goal made it 8-6 with 11:53 remaining, and when Moore completed his hat trick halfway through the fourth, things seemed firmly in command for JU. Moore's third was set up by Miller, who nearly beat Danaher low. Though Danaher made the initial save, he lost sight of the ball and Moore was right on the spot for the pick-up, dumping it over the goalie for the 9-6 lead.

Marquette had one push left in them. Ryan McNamara scored with 3:41 remaining to make it 9-7, then the Golden Eagles forced a Jacksonville turnover inside the final 90 seconds as the Dolphins looked to bleed the clock. Sprinting upfield, the ball went to McNamara again. His second goal of the game gave Marquette life with 1:17 remaining and the JU lead down to one at 9-8.

The Jacksonville defense was put under even more pressure after Marquette won the ensuing face-off, giving the Golden Eagles one last chance on offense. The Dolphins stood firm though, ultimately forcing a wild attempt from Badolato as he went to the ground. Pete DeLuca was there for his eighth and final save of the day and a penalty was whistled on Marquette simultaneously. JU was able to retain possession for the final 30 seconds, giving the team the hard-fought win.

Jacksonville stays at home next weekend, welcoming in another team that will likely be happy to enjoy some Florida weather. The Dolphins entertain Air Force on March 15 beginning at 12 p.m. at D. B. Milne Field.

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