Three Golden Eagles scored twice on Friday evening at Valley Fields as Marquette scored late and held on for an 8-7 win against Cincinnati.
The good news of the win? It was the seventh of the season, which is a new single season program record. It was also the fourth league win of the year, thus giving MU a 4-3 record in the Big East. It's not just the first time that they've finished with a winning record in league play, it's the first time that Marquette has had more than one Big East win in a season.
The bad news of the win? It didn't guarantee Marquette a spot in the Big East tournament. It did make their chances better, though. MU's postseason hopes are now completely pinned on Saturday's Georgetown-Temple game in Philadelphia. Marquette will be the #4 seed in the Big East tournament if the Hoyas win, and they'll be the #3 seed if the Owls win by three or fewer goals. A Temple win puts Marquette, Georgetown, and Temple into a three way tie, and the tiebreaker to settle things out there is goal differential. With a winning margin of four or more goals, Temple will end up shoving Marquette out of the tournament completely. This is a preferable situation to just needing Georgetown to win, so you have to take small victories where you can get them.
To be quite honest, it was kind of surprising that the game ended up as high scoring as it did. Julianna Shearer opened up the scoring in the game before 90 seconds had elapsed to put Marquette up 1-0. The score stayed there for the next 23 minutes and change as the two teams combined -- COMBINED -- for just five shots. Cincinnati tied the game with just fewer than five minutes left in the first half, but MU answered with two more goals before halftime, including one with a man advantage from Riley Hill with just 27 seconds left.
In the second half, the two teams combined for 20 shots and 11 goals as it turned into a back and forth affair. Courtney Curtis tied the match at four, and after Hill gave MU the lead again, Brooke Kovinsky scored two in a row on free position shots to put the Bearcats out in front. That's when MU head coach Meredith Black said "screw this crap," and made a goalie change. However, she had already switched her keepers at halftime, so her change with 11:44 remaining and Cincinnati leading meant starter Sarah Priem replaced her backup, Emma Salter.
Whether it was the "get it together" message of ending Salter's appearance on her Senior Day or something else entirely, things drastically turned around for Marquette once Priem was back in the game. The Bearcats got just two more shots off for the rest of the game. By the time UC got their first shot off on Priem after her return, Allison Lane had scored twice to extend her goal scoring streak to 20 games and Grace Gabriel had hit the net for her lone goal of the game. Sam Mlkvy scored one more goal for the Bearcats with 2:13 remaining, but MU won the ensuing draw control and burned off most of the rest of the clock. Schuyler Nissen forced Alex Gambacorta into a turnover with 33 seconds left, but the final Bearcats shot of the game was blocked before it got to Priem and that iced the win for the Golden Eagles.
While it was Senior Day for the Golden Eagles, only one of their 11 points on the day came from a senior. Hayley Baas extended her career goals record by one more early in the second half for that lone point. Everything else came from the underclassmen, and to help soften the blow of losing the first four year class in Marquette women's lacrosse history, seven of the points in the game came from freshmen and sophomores.
Up Next: Well, nothing for now. As mentioned above, Marquette will have to wait for the result of Saturday's Georgetown-Temple game to see what happens next. If you're so inclined, you can watch that game using this link starting at noon Central time.