For what has to be the first time in program history, Marquette enters a weekend with two games where they should be disappointed if they don't come out of it with two wins.
The Golden Eagles have played a total of three games against Michigan and Detroit in the first two years of the program and they've come away with a 3-0 record. Detroit was the victim for Marquette's first ever home victory, and MU picked up the win in the return trip to Michigan last season. There's only been one season of Wolverines lacrosse, but Marquette handed them a loss during their inaugural season last year.
So, with that kind of history in mind, it seems reasonable to think that Marquette can come away with two wins before Sunday comes to a close. If that were to come to pass, MU would find themselves with a record of 5-4. First, that would match the program record for wins in a season, plus it would also be the first time that Meredith Black's squad has had a winning record at any point in a season. They've had chances to get there in the past, most notably this past Sunday against USC, but they have never managed to push past the barrier.
Marquette's scoring is down a little bit from last season, but that's fine. The Golden Eagles are playing the best defense of their time in Division 1. They've dropped their goals allowed per game from 14.94 their first season to 11.41 last year, to a miniscule 8.57. When you're not allowing goals, things tend to get a little bit easier on the offensive end, just because you don't feel a desperate pressure to knock one into the net.
Game #8 : vs Michigan (4-3)
You know what? We're nice people. Let's go ahead and say that the Wolverines are 4-2 on the season. Why are we going ahead and throwing one of their losses out? Because it took Michigan just over 65 minutes to find the back of the net this season. Yes, that's right, they 1) got shut out by Florida in their opener, 2) lost 21-0 to the Gators, and 3) went down 3-0 to Winthrop in their next game before finally scoring their first goal of the season. I don't know about you, but this entire story makes me not very excited to see what Marquette can accomplish against Florida, even if the game will be played at Valley Fields.
So, other than that massacre of biblical proportions, Michigan's been doing pretty good this year. They bounced back from that 3-0 hole against Winthrop to eventually take a late 10-9 lead before falling in overtime. After that, they rattled off three straight wins, one at Oosterbaan Field House against St. Bonaventure, and then two on a road trip out west against California and Saint Mary's. They returned to Michigan for their most recent two games, which they split. Virginia Tech beat them in overtime, but the Wolverines recovered for a 15-8 win over Niagara in their most recent game.
This is the second season of women's lacrosse at Michigan. The Wolverines return 23 of the 27 freshmen that comprised their entire roster last season, and they've added 12 freshmen to the squad for this season. Michigan has four players that have tallied double digit goals in 2015, and all four are ranked in the top 10 in the Big Ten in goals per game. While the Wolverines have scored 93 goals in their seven games, they're only getting an assist on about one-quarter of those goals, with just 25 helpers on the season.
Allison Silber takes care of the netminding duties for the Maize & Blue. She's allowing just slightly less than 11 goals per 60 minutes, largely because if you get your shot on net, it'll probably go in. Silber is stopping just 39.5% of shots on goal this season.
Game #9: vs Detroit (3-4)
When: Sunday, March 22, 2015, at 1pm Central
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: No video hookup on the East field, so just live stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax
Here's the deal with the Titans: Two of their losses this season are to teams that were ranked in the top 15 at the time of the game. They got cracked by 15 on a trip to #10 Ohio State, then, 16 days later, they got popped by #11 Notre Dame by a final margin of 17-5. Other than that, they're 3-2, which is pretty good.
I think we have to ask questions about their 13-10 loss to UC Davis, though. That's the self same Aggies squad that Marquette beat 5-4 in overtime, so I don't know which UC Davis team is the real one. Or, perhaps, Detroit is just a fast paced team that dragged even the slow it down Aggies into a barnburner.
Kylie Birney, who you might remember from scoring 4 goals against Marquette last year, is currently leading Detroit in goals. She's got 15 goals this season to lead a pack of five Titans with double digit goals so far this year. Tessa Keuler has managed 10 goals in 2015, but she's tallied an assist on 13 of Detroit's 86 goals, which is a team high as no one else as more than three. That also gives Keuler the team lead in points for the year.
Senior goalkeeper Lexie McCormick has started all seven games for the Titans and has played all but 34 minutes. She's allowing just slightly more than 12 goals per 60 minutes out there, and she's stopping slightly fewer than half of the shots that her opponents put on frame this year.