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Marquette Women's Lacrosse Preview: at #16 Louisville

Right off into the frying pan to start the fourth season of lacrosse at Marquette.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Onwards, into the fourth season of Division 1 lacrosse at Marquette.

It's already off to a shaky start, as the Golden Eagles will be without the services of Claire Costanza, the program's all time leading scorer.  No, not because she graduated, instead because she'll be missing the season due to a leg injury.  Not a great way to be kicking things off, to say the least.

After their second consecutive 5-12 season, Marquette returns 28 letterwinners, including nine seniors, four redshirt juniors, and, by the way, 10 starters from last season.  While Costanza will miss the season, head coach Meredith Black will get attackers Amanda Bochniak and Kenzie Brown back from injuries that kept them from playing in 2015.

The defense is going to take some slight reassembling after posting their best season.  Marquette allowed a three year low in goals and shots in 2015, but that was with seniors Jenaye Coleman and Fran Meyer in the lineup.  2016 seniors and team captains Kayce Haverstick and Elizabeth Goslee are still back on that side of the field to anchor things, and three year starter Sarah Priem returns in net for the Golden Eagles.  While they do have a few pieces to figure out on defense, having Goslee, Marquette's lone preseason all-Big East honoree, out there will do a world of good for an offense that's going to have to figure out how to play without Costanza's customary 20+ assists.

Game #1: at #16 Louisville (0-0)

When: Saturday, February 6, 2016, at 1pm Central
Where: Louisville Lacrosse Stadium in Louisville, KY
Audio/Visual: UofL will have streaming for you, but it'll cost you $7 for the day. Live stats? Nope.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

One year ago, the Cardinals finished the season 10-8.  That's slightly misleading, though, as Louisville lost to Duke in their first game of the ACC tournament and then lost to Northwestern in their first game of the NCAA tournament.  So, they finished the regular season 10-6, and still managed to make it into the national championship field of 26.  They got a bit of a rough draw, as the Wildcats were the last of the eight national seeds in the draw.  Then again, they were also 10-7 at the time the field was filled out, so hey, whaddya gonna do.

Last year's Cardinals squad featured five players with double digit goals and eight with double digits in points.  They return four of those goal scorers and five of the point scorers, including the top three in both categories. The most notable returnee is Kaylin Morissette, who finished with 44 goals and 18 assists, both team highs.  It's not going to surprise you to find out that this kind of production earned Morissette First Team All-ACC honors for the second straight season.  Morissette isn't just a scorer, though, as she is Louisville's all time leader in draw controls and ranked second in the country with 10.5 DC per game a year ago.  Even though the Cardinals were an NCAA tournament team in 2015, Morissette was the only UL all-ACC honoree.

Morissette is still their only honoree in this year's preseason all-ACC team.  The Cardinals are picked to finish seventh in the ACC, which strikes me as a little surprising on face value.  Then you look at the Preseason Top 20 and realize that at #16, the Cardinals are the seventh best ACC team, and then everything makes sense.

Ashley Peacock was the goalkeeper for the Cardinals last season, but she's transferred to UMBC for her final two seasons of eligibility.  Brittany Read played slightly more than 100 minutes in nine appearances last year, and if my interpretation of the Louisville roster is correct, she's going to have to be in net on Saturday, because she's Louisville's only goalkeeper.  Read allowed 18 goals in 2015 for a goals-against average of 10.80, and she stopped 56% of shots on goal.