For the second time this season, Marquette has to adjust their schedule on the fly because of inclement weather.
This game against Denver has been moved up nearly 24 hours from Saturday afternoon to Friday afternoon because of a snowstorm that's expected to hit the Rocky Mountains on Saturday. While the Weather Channel's website only predicts as many as six inches, the Denver area was already carpeted with nearly two feet of snow on Wednesday, so you can see how both the Pioneers and the Golden Eagles are a little hesitant about risking the game on Saturday, much less MU's ability to get out of the Mile High City after the game.
Luckily, Marquette was already in Denver when the blizzard hit because school is out for spring break. That led to these pictures that the team posted on their Facebook page, and that walk to practice looks like it sucked.
As mentioned, this will be the second time that MU suddenly had a game moved up on them. Earlier this season, they were supposed to play Johns Hopkins on a Saturday afternoon, but with sub-zero temperatures expected in Baltimore, the game was suddenly moved up to Friday afternoon. However, it was too late for Marquette to change their travel plans, so they arrived in Maryland just five hours before game time. They gave the #17 ranked Bluejays a challenge for most of the game, leading by two goals early in the second half and trailing by just one with 10 minutes to play before eventually falling 11-8.
Hopefully this one goes better for Marquette.
If you were worried about Marquette's offense struggling without Claire Costanza this season, worry no longer. Amanda Bochniak and Riley Hill have both registered at least 10 assists this season. Hill is now just the third player in Marquette history to ever hit 10 assists in a single season, with Costanza doing it in each of MU's first three seasons and Bochniak hitting 20 helpers in 2014. Granted, both stats are slightly padded after both women registered three assists the last time out against Central Michigan. The important part here, though, is Marquette's assist rate. After last Saturday's beatdown of the Chippewas, MU has recorded an assist on 42.5% of their goals this season. That's higher than any full season mark to this point of the program's three-plus year history. The next best season was in 2014, when Marquette had assists on 41.7% of their goals. It's possible that without Costanza around to carve up defenses, Marquette is forcing themselves to make an extra pass to make a play, resulting in an uptick in assists.
Game #9: at Denver (3-5)
The Pioneers were supposed to have a ninth game played already this season. They were scheduled to host Marist on Wednesday, but with the winter storm rolling through, they cancelled the match. With no make up date scheduled, I presume that the Red Foxes never even made it/tried to make it to Denver given the weather.
As it stands, Denver has lost three of their last four games coming into Friday night's contest. The lone win was a 10-6 victory over Fairfield. DU has seen two of the same opponents that Marquette has seen this season, and the Pios have suffered the same fate as the Golden Eagles: Two losses. They lost their opener to Mountain Pacific Sports Federation foe Colorado, 11-10, and they also suffered a 14-3 road loss to Louisville. Denver also tangled with a future Marquette opponent in Vanderbilt, and they took the loss against that Big East opponent, falling 12-7 at Peter Barton Stadium.
Senior midfielder Christa Reese is going to be the focus of Marquette's defensive effort. The Maryland native has 18 goals in DU's eight games this season, which has her averaging just short of a hat trick per game. She's the only Pioneer with double digit goals right now, but there are two of her teammates that are sitting on nine. The Pios have 24 assists on their 63 goals on the season, and sophomore attacker Caitlin Derry accounts for 10 of those all on her own. Junior Maddie Stevenson has played all but 12 minutes in net for Denver this season, and she's doing.... fine. She stops 44% of the shots on frame, and is allowing a bit over eight goals per 60 minutes.