That's An Improvement: #19 Rutgers 9, Marquette 4

Claire Costanza (12) and Nicole Gleason (41) have turned into a formidable pairing on offense. - Maggie Casey/MarquetteImages.com

Yeah, it's another loss, but the Golden Eagles hung tight with a ranked Scarlet Knights team for a majority of their contest.

Marquette actually broke through first on a Molly O'Brien goal at the 23:24 mark of the first half. Halley Barnes tied things back up, and then Rutgers got rolling after MU's Katie Bathon got popped with a yellow card with just less than 18 minutes left to go. Katrina Martinelli capitalized on the one-up advantage just 14 seconds in and followed it up with another goal 21 seconds later. Rutgers got another goal before scoring died out for a 13 minute stretch. While the game had a flow to it, it was definitely the kind of game Rutgers wants to play. They're not a high scoring team, and controlling the clock with a lead is what they have to do.

Emily Donovan got a sweet wraparound goal with less than 2 minutes to play in the half to make it just a two goal game at intermission. Marquette couldn't take advantage of a penalty on Hollie DiMuro that spanned across halftime, but Claire Costanza found Kenzie Brown charging at the net to pull MU within 1 with 29 minutes to play.

The Scarlet Knights answered just over a minute later and right at the 20 minute mark, they turned a loose ball in front of their own net into a quick strike and a goal on the other end. That goal pretty much spelled the end for MU, as it was obvious that they weren't going to get three goals in 20 minutes after getting only three in the first 40.

I don't know if Marquette fine tuned their defense or if head coach Meredith Black just lit a fire under them after several blowout losses, or if it was just a function of how Rutgers wants to play, but things seemed to be much better for the Golden Eagles in front of goalie Sarah Priem. Priem made a career high 14 saves to keep MU in the game, and looked much more able to make a play on the ball.

Up Next: Marquette gets a bit of a break over Easter Weekend, as they won't be back in action until a trip to Cincinnati on April 5th.

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