One thing I'll say for sure: Jennifer Zandlo getting her first career collegiate start and first action of the season didn't affect the outcome of this game. The redshirt junior was making just her third appearance in a game for the Golden Eagles, playing just over 11 minutes off the top of the game. She made three saves and allowed just two goals before giving way to Sarah Priem for the remainder.
What did affect the outcome of this game was Marquette going without a goal until Amanda Bochniak found Taylor Smith to make it 5-1 with 2:43 left in the first half. Goals were at a premium in this game, and MU couldn't find a way past USC's Liz Shaeffer for the first 27 minutes of the game.
The second half was a different story. Gabby McMahon made it 6-1 to open the scoring in the second half, but three free position goals and a second strike from Smith made it 6-5 with just over 12 minutes to play, and suddenly we had ourselves a ball game. USC got their act together from there, holding Marquette without a shot - not without a goal, without even one shot - while scoring five goals of their own to ice the game.
Caroline de Lyra had a game high six points on three goals and three assists for USC. Alex Moore had two goals and two assists to help the Trojan effort.
Smith's two goals were a team high in both goals and points for the Golden Eagles. Priem made three saves after relieving Zandlo.
It was the final game of the collegiate careers for both Zandlo and Meredith Donaldson. Both women made their first collegiate starts in the game, and while they were never major on field components, we have to thank both of them for their part in developing Marquette's progress through the first two years of Division 1 lacrosse.
Up Next: The offseason. Marquette finishes the season with a record of 5-12, and a 1-6 mark in Big East action. That's a pretty significant jump forward from their 2-15 mark a year ago, which also included going winless while playing a full schedule of Big East games without officially being a member of the conference. Marquette finished two games back from a three way tie for the fourth and final spot in the Big East tournament. With Louisville and Rutgers departing the conference following this season, further progress next season should lead the Golden Eagles to the postseason for the first time in program history.