The third season of Division 1 women's lacrosse at Marquette got off to a rousing start last Sunday when the Golden Eagles pushed #17 Johns Hopkins to double overtime before falling to a sudden victory goal from the Blue Jays. It was arguably the most exciting game in MU history, perhaps only eclipsed by Marquette's very first win, which also came in double overtime against Coastal Carolina back in 2013.
Now the Golden Eagles head out to Colorado to face the Buffaloes. It should be an interesting test of where the Golden Eagles are as a program. Colorado's a second year varsity lacrosse program that has already experienced more success than the Golden Eagles have in two full seasons. This game could also provide Marquette with a little extra insight for an upcoming game. Colorado head coach Ann Elliot was a starter on three national championship teams at Northwestern, while assistants Colleen Magarity and Hannah Nielsen were both major players for the Wildcats and teammates themselves in 2008 and 2009. Probably not coincidentally, Marquette will play Northwestern in their next game, so squaring off with a team that is going to be heavily influenced by the Wildcat style should pay a dividend or three.
Game #2: at Colorado (0-1, 0-1 MPSF)
In their first season as a Division 1 program, Colorado went 11-8, including a 6-3 record during Mountain Pacific Sports Federation play. They advanced to the MPSF semifinals before falling to a nationally ranked Stanford squad, ending an incredibly successful first go-round.
The Buffaloes return 18 players from their first year of play, including all 12 starters. Most notably, they return junior midifielder Johnna Fusco. The 5'4" Georgia native tallied a team high 62 points in 2014, including a team high 45 goals. To put that into perspective, Marquette's Hayley Baas is the program's all time leader in goals with 50 and points with 57, which includes Baas' goal against Johns Hopkins. Colorado will go with sophomore Paige Soenksen in net. Last year, she finished second in the nation in saves and posted a 10.08 goals-against average.
The Buffs were picked to finish fifth in the MPSF this season, and in an oddity of the scheduling process, opened up their season on Wednesday by squaring off with the favorite to win the league, Denver. The #19 Pioneers left Boulder with the win in that game, 10-6. Fusco led Colorado in scoring in that game, tallying three goals. All three game in the first half as CU finished the opening 30 minutes with a 5-2 lead. Denver scored the first six goals after intermission, all in the first 15:30 of the frame, in order to take control and walk away with the win. Soenksen went the full 60 minutes and made seven saves.