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Marquette Women's Lacrosse Preview: vs Vanderbilt

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

A lot of milestones were reached in Marquette's Saturday afternoon win over Temple (which you can re-watch via TWC's website):

  • Julianna Shearer became MU's new single season goals leader
  • Julianna Shearer extended her single season record for draw controls
  • Allison Lane scored a goal for the 17th consecutive game dating back to last season
  • Allison Lane became the 5th Marquette player to ever record 30 points in a season
  • Marquette reached the 60 assist mark as a team for the first time ever
  • Marquette reached the 140 goals mark as a team for the first time ever
  • Marquette beat Temple for the first time ever
  • Marquette reached two wins in Big East play in a season for the first time
  • Marquette matched the best win total in program history

So yeah, kind of a big deal.

And the season's not even close to over yet.  Marquette is firmly in the driver's seat to earn their first ever appearance in the Big East tournament.  The Golden Eagles currently occupy the fourth and final spot in the conference semifinals, but the path in front of them is favorable.  They play two teams currently below them in the standings at home, including Wednesday's game, and their lone remaining road game comes against the team that currently occupies third place.

Marquette has only ever defeated one of those teams in the first three seasons as a participant in Division 1, so nothing is guaranteed.  Still, you have to feel pretty positive about MU's chances, especially since they're two games up in the loss column on Vanderbilt and Cincinnati.  While Marquette can't clinch anything with this game, they'll merely have to settle for a chance at a sixth win this season, which would be the most wins in any of MU's first four seasons, so that would be a nice consolation prize.

Big East Game #5: vs Vanderbilt (5-9, 1-4 Big East)

When: Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at 1pm Central
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: Mid-afternoon start, so you'll have to make do with live stats only.
Special Promotions: DOUBLE FANATICS POINTS for students in attendance.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

I don't think this season is going as well as the Commodores might have hoped.  Picked to finish fourth in the league this season, they're currently staring at a real possibility of finishing second to last.  They have this trip to Milwaukee and a home date against Villanova on deck, and that's it.  Their lone win this season is against Cincinnati, and remember: the Bearcats have won just one Big East game in their entire history in the Big East.

As a result of that 1-4 run in league games, the Commodores have now lost seven of their last eight.  In addition to the four Big East losses, they also wrapped up non-conference action with home losses to Penn State and Johns Hopkins and a roadie at Boston University.  I guess if you want to give them some leeway on those losses, Johns Hopkins was ranked at the time, Penn State is ranked now, and Boston.... well, Boston is 7-7 on the season and Vandy had a 13-11 lead with 4:23 left.  Ok, maybe not so much leeway on that one.

While the wins have not been stacking up for the 'Dores, the goals have bee stacking up for Kelly Chandler.  The junior from Maryland has 34 goals on the season and ranks third in the Big East behind UConn's dynamic duo of Katherine Finkelston and Grace Nolan in goals per game.  Vanderbilt is actually kind of a fun team offensively, as Chandler's not leading the team in points.  That honor belongs to senior attacker Mallory Schonk, who has 39 points on the season and ranks fifth in the league in points per game.  The reason why VU is kind of fun is being neither Chandler nor Schonk are leading the team in assists, either.  Jill Doherty's 18 helpers are tops on the team in that column, and she's actually tied for second with MU's Amanda Bochniak for the second most assists per game in the Big East.  Both women are trailing Marquette's Riley Hill there, but Hill has a slight advantage because she's only played in 11 games this season.

If you look at Vanderbilt's stat page, you're left with a big question: How has Callahan Kent only started 12 of 14 games for the Commodores when there are no other goalies listed on the stat sheet?  In any case, her 840 minutes played turns out to be exactly the amount in 14 games, so that must be some kind of tech snafu.  She's allowing 10.57 goals per game, which is about one goal per 60 minutes better than Marquette's Sarah Priem.  Kent stops just under half of the shots on goal, but that does have her in the top half of goalies in the Big East.