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Marquette Women's Lacrosse Preview: at #17 Johns Hopkins

Back at it again, with another ranked team standing on the other side of the field.

Facebook.com/HopkinsAthletics

Marquette's first game of the 2016 season went the same way as the first three season openers went: a loss.

You have to feel a little bit okay with how last week's loss to #16 Louisville went, seeing as Marquette did a pretty good job mounting an attack against the Cardinals.  The shots were there, but they just weren't going in the net, thanks to Cardinals keeper Brittany Read.  The story was different on the other side of the field where Sarah Priem couldn't match Read's effort, letting in seven goals on 11 shots in the first half.  Without being able to see the game (shoutout to Louisville's paywall), I can't tell you if that it was more a case of Priem not having it on that day or if it was a case where shooters were getting free in the MU defense.

While most of the names in the box score are familiar from past seasons, we did get to see some new additions.  Three of them made their way into the score line, as Lindsey Willcocks and Grace Gabriel scored their first collegiate goals in their first ever game, while sophomore Charlotte McGuire chipped in Marquette's lone assist on the day as she made her collegiate debut.  Cate Soccodato also made her Marquette debut against Louisville, registering a caused turnover in the game.

Game #2: at #17 Johns Hopkins (0-0)

When: Friday, February 12, 2016, at 1pm Central
Where: Homewood Field in Baltimore, MD
Audio/Visual: GoMarquette.com says go here for stats and video, but no specific links right now.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

Johns Hopkins enters their second year as an independent.  It's kind of an odd route for them, as they'll be joining the Big Ten as an associate member next season, and the JHU men's lacrosse team is already an associate B1G member.  Hopkins was left without a conference when the ALC disbanded due to - wait for it - the Big Ten beginning to sponsor women's lacrosse last season, but the Blue Jays opted to go independent for the ladies while joining up with the B1G for the gentlemen.  If you want to make any sense of all of that, go ahead and knock yourself out.

Last year, JHU qualified for the NCAA tournament for the second straight season and the fifth time in 17 Division 1 seasons under head coach Janine Tucker.  They went 14-3 to get to the tournament as the #17 ranked team in the country before dropping their opening round game to #7 ranked Penn State.  It's kind of surprising that they made it in the field, considering that they played four ranked teams with just one win.  Then again, that accounted for all of their losses, so there you go.

Anyway, the point is that they were pretty successful.  We can expect that to continue this season.  Johns Hopkins returns all but one of the nine double digit scorers from last season.  By the way: when I say "double digit scorers," I don't mean someone squeaked in with nine goals and two assists.  All nine of them had at least 20 points on the season and all nine scored at least 10 goals.  Dene DiMartino led the way for the Jays a year ago with 52 points on 40 goals and 12 assists for her junior campaign.

While the offense returns nearly intact from last year, the defense might be in a bit of transition.  JHU returns three of the four field defenders that started all 18 games in 2015.  Returning 75% of your defenders would actually be pretty good as long as you were returning your keeper, too, but that's not the case for Hop.  KC Emerson is gone to graduation, meaning the goalkeeping duties have likely been handed to Caroline Federico.  The 5'5" junior from Baltimore played nearly 300 minutes in relief of Emerson last season, and she posted a goals-against average of 8.07 and a save percentage of .444.  Those are some pretty good numbers, so it seems likely that freshman GK Haley Crosson will end up as the backup.  Of course, you never know what's going on in early season practices.