Grace Gabriel and Allison Lane both posted hat tricks for the Golden Eagles, but Marquette women’s lacrosse dropped their 2017 season opener to Louisville, 13-12, on Friday afternoon.
It was a hell of a contest in the very first official game ever played under the new bubble facility at Valley Fields. We saw four lead changes and eight ties along the way, and the largest lead in the game came with 21:06 left in the first half, when Lane scored her first of the game to put the Golden Eagles up 3-0.
At the end of the day, Marquette just didn’t have the defensive presence to shut down Louisville’s clear cut top two scorers. After both women had big days in UL’s season opener last week, Meghan Siverson and McKayla Conti both had five goals and two assists against the Golden Eagles. Siverson was the one who got the Cardinals on the board after MU jumped out to that lead in the first nine minutes of the game, and Conti made it 4-2 just past the halfway mark of the first half. Conti’s goal was the first of three straight for Louisville in the span of 90 seconds that knotted the game up at four apiece. The two teams traded goals from there, and it was Conti (of course) beating MU’s Molly Grozier for her third of the game with less than 30 seconds that had the Cards up 7-6 at halftime.
Gabriel broke the ice on the second half just 47 seconds in, and Lane tacked on for Marquette less than six minutes later to put Marquette back up 8-7. Conti and Siverson (of course) got the next two for the Cardinals and that put the visitors out in front, 9-8, but also put them in the driver’s seat. All they had to do for the rest of the game is stop MU from scoring two straight and that would keep them in front.
That’s exactly what happened, as the two teams spent the next 12 minutes trading goals back and forth. When Siverson got her last two goals of the game with 4:06 and 3:17 remaining to put Louisville up 13-11, it certainly seemed like that might be it for Marquette..... right up until Lane beat UL goalie Brittany Read to make it 13-12 with exactly 90 seconds remaining.
All of a sudden, we had ourselves a ball game...... and then UL won the ensuing draw...... and then Julianna Shearer got whistled for a yellow card and thus a penalty with 77 seconds remaining. That gave Louisville a one player advantage for the rest of the game, and that effectively ended Marquette’s chances to force a turnover and pop in the game tying marker.
It’s not fun to lose, especially when you had a 3-0 lead and had a 8-7 lead early in the second half. But here’s the deal: Louisville’s good. They’re receiving votes in the media poll and ranked #18 in the coaches poll. Marquette was right there with them, at least offensively, for 60 minutes on Friday afternoon. We knew that MU’s offense was going to be solid this season since they were really only losing one component from last year. We knew that the defense was going to be a bit of a question mark since MU had so many stalwarts on that side end their collegiate careers last season. Maaaaybe this game is a sign that Marquette can do some good things this season when the defense gets a chance to gel a bit.
Junior Molly Grozier made her first career start in net for Marquette, and acquitted herself fairly well. She had four saves, including a three on Louisville free position shots. Those are tricky things to defend, and Grozier kept making stops to keep this game viable for the Golden Eagles.
Claire Costanza returned to action for the first time since the 2015 season on this day, recording a goal and an assist. She missed all of 2016 with a knee injury, and she was still wearing the Stone Cold Steve Austin Bionic Redneck brace. She looked just fine, though, which is a good sign.
Up Next: Well, we’re going to get another solid reading on whether or not Marquette’s defense can support the offense on Tuesday. That’s when the Golden Eagles head out to Indiana to visit #8 Notre Dame. The Irish are 1-1 on the season after getting clipped by #9 Northwestern in their opener but smashing down Liberty on Friday night. They still have a game against Detroit on Saturday before taking a couple of days off to prep for Marquette.