Let's not make any mistake here: After Louisville took an 8-0 lead into halftime, things were pretty bleak for Marquette. The Cardinals had outshot the Golden Eagles 18-1, and Emma Salter made just four saves. Salter made her first career start in this game following a second half appearance against Villanova where she made two saves on four shots from the Wildcats. Unfortunately, there's a gap between Villanova and Louisville, and Marquette struggled with controlling the ball as easily as they did in the second half against VU.
Hayley Baas got Marquette onto the board six minutes into the second half, and Nicole Gleason and Devyn Antolini scored 44 seconds apart to make the score 8-3 with a little bit more than 21 minutes left on the clock. Suddenly Marquette's offense was throwing everything into the net and the defense was running wild, partially because Sarah Priem had taken over in net at halftime. Priem finished the half - THE HALF - with 10 saves, including four on free position shots by the Cardinals.
With 15:46 remaining, Marquette made use of a yellow card on Nikki Boltja, and Claire Costanza found Amanda Bochniak over the top of the net to make it 8-4. The goal gave both Costanza and Bochniak 41 points on the season, surpassing the program's record of 40 points in a season, set by Costanza last year. It took Marquette just over 14 minutes to cut the halftime advantage in half, and now we had a game.
Well, only for three and a half minutes. UL's Faye Brust scored twice 70 seconds apart, and with a 10-4 lead and only 11 minutes to play, Marquette's momentum and chances had mostly evaporated. Another six minutes wound off the clock before Marquette would score again, and the game was decided at that point.
Marquette finishes their first season in the Big East with a 1-6 record. The good news is that Marquette had two losses by just one goal in that run. The bad news is that they had to make two furious comebacks to get to those one goal losses. That's what happens when you have a second year program, though: inconsistency across 60 minutes. Head coach Meredith Black can turn around next year and point at those second halves against Connecticut and Villanova and that 14 minute run against the Cardinals and say: THIS is what we can accomplish if we focus and play together for a whole game.
Up Next: Meanwhile, the season is not quite over yet! Marquette returns home for one final game. They'll host USC (8-7) on Sunday, the day after the Trojans take on Northwestern at Wrigley Field. It will be Senior Day for MU starting at 1pm, as they honor Meredith Donaldson and Jennifer Zandlo for their contributions to the development of Marquette's still young program.