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Marquette Women's Lacrosse Preview: at Connecticut

The Golden Eagles head out to the east coast for their first Big East road game of the season.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Last Saturday, Marquette women's lacrosse opened up Big East action with a home loss to Villanova.  The Golden Eagles outshot the Wildcats in that game and got to more ground balls, too, but that's not how you put points on the scoreboard.  You have to convert those ground balls and shots into goals, and Villanova had the advantage there, taking a 7-1 lead and coasting from there.

MU comes into the game with a 4-7 record on the season in addition to that 0-1 mark in league play.  They'll be looking to avoid their second three game losing streak of the season after opening up 0-3 against Johns Hopkins, Colorado, and Northwestern.  It won't be an easy task against the Huskies, but the opportunity could be there for the Golden Eagles.  They lost to UConn in each of their first two meetings in program history, but last year's contest was a near miss for MU.  They lost 11-10 to Connecticut after leading 7-6 at the half and getting that final goal of the game with just under five minutes left.

Junior Claire Costanza was already Marquette's all time scoring leader with 83 career points, but she's taken things to a new level this year.  After scoring 40 points as a freshman and 43 points a year ago, Costanza has already racked up 38 points this season on 17 goals and 21 assists.  Costanza's next assist will tie her program record for assists in a season, as she dished out 22 helpers in each of her first two seasons as a Golden Eagle.

Big East Game #2: at Connecticut (6-4, 1-0 Big East)

When: Saturday, April 4, 2015, at 11am Central
Where: George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex in Storrs, CT
Audio/Visual: Video will cost you some cash, but there's free live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

It's been nearly a month since the Huskies have played a game in Storrs, where they're 3-0 so far this season.  They've gone 2-1 in that time, with the lone loss coming against a top 5 Boston College team.  In fact, that loss is their only defeat in their last six games as UConn has bounced back from a 1-3 start to the season.

They came away from the Buckeye State with a win in their first Big East game of the season last Sunday when they defeated Cincinnati, 10-4.  Connecticut used a diverse offense to defeat the Bearcats, as four different players jumped them out to a 4-0 lead and seven different Huskies ended up with a goal by the final horn.

The Huskies will be quite the challenge for Marquette.  UConn is the second most potent offense in the Big East, scoring 11.8 goals per game, and they do it through passing, averaging a league high 6.5 assists per game.  Even with those gaudy rankings, there's no individual standing out.  Katherine Finkelston leads Connecticut in goals with 20, but she only ranks sixth in the Big East at two per game.  That changes when we look at the assists column, as five Huskies are in the Big East's top 10 in that category, led by 12 from Carly Palmucci.

Their defense is formidable, too.  They lead the Big East in caused turnovers, and it isn't close: UConn averages 12.5 per game, and the next best team is Cincinnati at 9.73.  Connecticut also leads the Big East in ground balls per game with 20.8, and they have the lowest team goals-against average, allowing just 8.70 goals per 60 minutes.  Shannon Nee is their main keeper, playing all but 40 minutes this season.