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Women's Lacrosse Big East Game 5 Preview: vs Temple (5-8, 2-2 Big East)

After two road games in three days last week, Marquette returns home to pull the same trick again.

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

When: Thursday, April 17, 2014, at 3pm Central
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: Only live stats for this one.
Special Promotions: Every student in attendance gets a mid-afternoon snack, courtesy of Pizza Hut.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

If Marquette wants to qualify for the Big East tournament, they're in about the best possible position that a 1-3 team could be in. There are two teams tied for the fourth and final tournament slot at 2-2 in league action, and both of those teams are coming to Milwaukee over the next 48 hours. MU will follow up those two contests by closing the Big East schedule out with a trip to face Louisville, the team currently in first place with a sterling 4-0 record. It's not a fun path following last weekend's 0-2 trip to Rutgers and Connecticut, but it's the path that Marquette has to walk.

While Marquette doesn't have a player in the top 10 of the conference in goals average, they have two in the top ten in assists average. Claire Costanza and Amanda Bochniak are both tied for fourth best at 1.31 assists per game. In addition to that, goalie Sarah Priem leads the league in ground balls per game with 2.77 per game. However, this may not be a compliment, as three of the other players in the top five listed on BigEast.com are midfielders, with the fifth and final slot going to Cincinnati netminder Meg Gulmi. The Bearcats are 6-8 overall and 0-4 on the season.

This will be Marquette's first encounter with Temple, even though the Golden Eagles played a full Big East schedule last year without being an official member of the conference. With the Owls moving from the Atlantic 10 to the American Athletic Conference this season, Temple, like Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, and Rutgers, needed somewhere to compete and the Big East is more than happy to have them (translation: The other 5 schools in the AAC have no intention of starting lacrosse and the Big East already has an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.)

Back when we wrote our conference schedule preview, the Owls were only 3-6 so far this season. Since then, they've played their way into contention for the Big East tournament by splitting their league games. Somehow, Temple has managed to play nothing but home games in Big East action so far, which means that they'll finish with three straight road games.

Midway through the season, Temple made the switch to Jaqi Kakalecik full time in net, and with the exception of a little bit less than 12 minutes over the last two games, Kakalecik has stayed in the net. It hasn't worked out the best for her, as her goals-against average has gone from 10.16 before the conference season started up to 10.49 now. Still, going .500 is better than going 3-6, so it's hard to argue with the results.

Jaymie Taybor is amongst the league leaders in scoring (5th in goals/game, 7th in points/game), but it's Nicole Tiernan that's on the most recent Weekly Honor Roll. Temple's second leading goal scorer registered six goals last week, including four of Temple's six goals on just five shots against a nationally ranked Louisville team. She also forced three turnovers in that game.