Marquette players Bryan Badolato and JJ Sagl and Marquette head coach Joe Amplo, all native Long Islanders, in the interview room after Saturday’s win at Hofstra.

* Box score

From press releases

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – The Marquette University men’s lacrosse team played the role of spoiler Saturday, defeating Hofstra 11-9 at James M. Shuart Stadium in the Pride’s season- and home-opener.

But pride was also on the line for the Blue & Gold as a number of Long Island natives celebrated their homecoming with MU’s first victory of its second season as a Division I program. Hofstra was playing the season opener of its 66th season.

“First of all, Hofstra is a great place to play and awesome competition for our guys,” said MU head coach Joe Amplo, a former Hofstra player and associate head coach. “It was more about the local kids we have on our team; it was special for them to play in front of their family and friends.”

Marquette (1-1), which never trailed Saturday, set the tone early after winning its first two faceoffs, opening the game with two unanswered goals. Freshman Ryan McNamara notched his first collegiate tally to get MU on the board two minutes into the contest, and Kyle Whitlow made it 2-0 moments later.

Hofstra (0-1) came back to tie it up at 2-2 and again at 3-3 following McNamara’s second goal of the half. MU goalie JJ Sagl then held the Pride scoreless the duration of the second quarter, making a handful of huge saves and allowing the Golden Eagles to build a 5-3 lead by halftime.

As snow started to fall, Tyler Melnyk doubled Marquette’s advantage, 6-3, at the 11:30 mark of the third quarter with his third straight goal and Conor Gately made it 7-3 six minutes later.

Sagl, who finished with eight saves (.471 save percentage), and the MU defense held Hofstra scoreless for nearly 30 minutes before the Pride was able to get it to within two with a pair of goals in the final three minutes of the third quarter, including a man-up goal at the 1:38 mark.

MU went on a 3-1 run to open the fourth quarter and matched its largest lead of the game at 11-7 on a goal by Jerry Noble with four and a half minutes remaining in regulation to help seal the victory. Hofstra tacked on a couple of late goals as the “We Are Marquette!” chant rang out from the stands.

Sam Llinares ecorded two goals and three assists for the Pride. Senior Lance Yapor and junior Mike Malave each added two goals for the Pride,

Saturday’s performance by the Golden Eagles was huge improvement from last week’s season-opening loss at nationally ranked Lehigh. MU was paced offensively by Melnyk, who registered four points on three goals and an assist, and Whitlow also added a hat trick.

Eighteen of MU’s 30 shots were on cage. The team also controlled the groundball battle 36-28 (MU led 21-12 at one point) and won 50 percent (12-of-24) faceoffs.

Other top individual performers included McNamara, who finished with two goals and an assist to go along with a team-high six groundballs. Longstick midfielder Liam Byrnes caused four turnovers and tallied five groundballs.

Hofstra outshot the Golden Eagles 37-30 but Marquette won the battle on the ground, picking up 36 ground balls to the Pride’s 28.

Hofstra returns to action next Saturday, Feb. 22 when they travel to New Jersey for an ESPNU game at eighth-ranked Princeton. Game time is 11 a.m.

MU continues its seven-game road stretch to open the 2014 campaign next Saturday, Feb. 22 at No. 14 Ohio State.

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