When Joe Amplo left Hofstra two years ago to become the head lacrosse coach at Marquette, he decided to retain a Long Island pedigree in his recruits.
The former Sachem High School star played at Hofstra, then spent 12 years with the program, rising from graduate assistant to recruiting coordinator to associate head coach.
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"It's got a special place, Hofstra does, in my heart,'' Amplo said after his new team beat the Pride, 11-9, Saturday in Hofstra's home opener.
"I think for our group, it's about the local kids we have on our team," Amplo said. "It was more special for them. They don't know my feelings for Hofstra. They just know they are playing in front of their family and friends. I think it was more important for them.''
Marquette received significant contributions from several former Long Island stars, and they knew what the victory meant to Amplo.
"I'm just so happy for Coach. Great win,'' former West Islip High School player Bryan Badolato said.
Goalie JJ Sagl, also of West Islip, added: "It was just great walking off the field.''
The senior had eight saves in what Amplo termed the best game of his career. When time expired, Sagl and Badolato, who had a goal and an assist, soaked in the atmosphere.
"We look over to our right and there's six of our friends that we haven't seen in a couple of years that are just cheering us on,'' Sagl said. "That was just so exciting, an unbelievable experience . . . Years ago, we came to Hofstra watching either West Islip play or college teams play. It was like a dream come true -- let's play a big-time game at Hofstra with all of our family and friends. It's a dream come true. Couldn't have been any happier. It's a big win.''
Sagl had plenty of help from his teammates. Canadians Tyler Melnyk and Kyle Whitlow had three goals apiece, Minnesota freshman Ryan McNamara added two and Bay Shore's Jerry Nobile, a Hofstra transfer, had one.
Marquette controlled the ground game with 36 ground balls, five by West Islip's Liam Byrnes.
McNamara and Whitlow scored the first two goals of the game and Hofstra never took the lead. When Hofstra's Sam Llinares made it 7-5 with 1:38 left in the third quarter, Badolato came back with an unassisted goal to start the fourth, and Hofstra never drew closer than two again.
Llinares had two goals and three assists and teammates Lance Yapor and Mike Malave each scored twice.
Marquette (1-1) was 5-9 in its inaugural season. It lost to Lehigh, 13-6, last week. "There was no underestimating here at Hofstra,'' Pride coach Seth Tierney said. "They've got a lot of guys on that squad that can play lacrosse, and coach Amplo did a great job. Our hat goes off to him and his staff.''
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