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Marquette Women's Lacrosse Preview: vs #4 Notre Dame

Oh, this might not be fun.

Nice flag.
Nice flag.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Here's the task in front of head coach Meredith Black: Remind her squad about the games against Johns Hopkins and Northwestern while making them forget about Friday's game against Denver.

Against the now #18 Blue Jays, Marquette led 6-4 with 27 minutes remaining and trailed by only one with 11 minutes left before eventually losing 11-8.  In the contest against the now #15 Wildcats, Marquette bounced back from a 5-1 early hole and 9-5 at the half to make it a 12-10 game with 8:42 remaining.  Again, they ended up taking a loss by a final score of 17-11, but they were right there late.

The Denver game, though... that was not great.  Against a Pioneer squad that came in with a 3-5 record, Marquette allowed six straight unanswered goals across a 23 minute span before ending up with an 11-5 loss.  If that was the outcome from the JHU or Northwestern game?  Hey, that's what happens.  Against a Denver team that at a glance you should have had a legitimate shot at beating?  That's tilting the dial towards bad.

Regroup.  Refocus.  Remember the concepts that made them competitive against those ranked teams earlier this season.  That's what Black and her staff have to get across to the team heading into Monday's game against the Irish.

Game #10: vs #4 Notre Dame (9-2)

When: Monday, March 28, 2016, at 2pm Central
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: Just live stats.
Special Promotions: Got a US Lacrosse membership? Then it's 2-for-1 admission for you.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

As if playing a top five (maybe top 10 depending on when that new poll comes out) wasn't going to be hard enough for the Golden Eagles, things got a little more difficult when Syracuse upended the Irish in South Bend on Saturday.  It's not like that was a massive upset, as the Orange are ranked #5 in the country.  You'd still prefer to see a not annoyed Irish squad coming to Milwaukee as opposed to one that's looking to right the ship against the Golden Eagles.

It was going to be an uphill battle for the Golden Eagles anyway, as Notre Dame is outscoring their opponents 16-7 on average this season.  That's not not even taking their +150 shot advantage into account, nor is it addressing their +75 margin in caused turnovers, either.

Seven Irish women average at least a goal per game, and eight manage at least one point per game.  The offense is led by Cortney Fortunato, who is averaging a hat trick and five points per game.  That's nutty.  Fortunato has a 21 point lead on the rest of her teammates, with Rachel Sexton's three-plus point per game average as the next closest offensive threat to her.  The scary thing is that Fortunato isn't just a one-dimensional player, as she's second on the team in caused turnovers with 23 on the season.

The Irish depend on a freshman in net, but the pressure is obviously way off Samantha Giacolone given how offensively dominant ND is.  Giacolone stops 49% of shots on net and between ND's possession advantage and the defense in front of her, she's allowing just 6.52 goals per 60 minutes this season.