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Marquette Women’s Lacrosse Preview: vs #17 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays

The Golden Eagles return to The Bubble with an eye on upsetting the Blue Jays.

Major Snowstorm Bears Down On New York City
A blue jay!
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Another game for Marquette, another team getting national recognition.

The Golden Eagles gave Louisville fits in the season opener before finally falling in a one goal game, then got kind of run over by #10 Notre Dame down in South Bend earlier this week. This is the kind of thing that’s going to happen when you’re a program that’s not quite on the same national prominence level as your opponents. It’s also the kind of thing that happens when you’re returning your offense mostly intact from the year before, but you have to try and reconfigure your defense after some major losses due to graduation.

The good news for Marquette is that this game is back in the Valley Fields Bubble, where MU played 60 minutes of high quality lacrosse against the Cardinals. They’ve been on the edge of finding a way to beat Johns Hopkins over the past few seasons, so perhaps a little home cooking on National Marquette Day helps push the Golden Eagles over the edge for the biggest win in program history.

As I alluded to already, head coach Meredith Black doesn’t need to worry about her offense all that much. Grace Gabriel and Julianna Shearer already have five goals on the season, and midfielder Allison Lane is right behind them with four markers. Claire Costanza has popped right back into the lineup after missing all of 2016 due to injury, registering a goal and four assists to extend her program records for points and assists.

The defense, though.... well, there are questions to be answered. Junior Molly Grozier was yanked from the Notre Dame game after less than nine minutes in favor of freshman Jules Horning. Horning allowed 16 goals in the game, but she also made 13 saves, which is nearly three times as many as Grozier did in her 69 minutes of action this season. The starting job is clearly up for grabs, but with Marquette allowing 34 goals on 68 total shots, the field defense in front of the net has to step up to start denying shooting lanes for opponents. They can’t score if they’re not shooting, and MU has to start focusing their defensive efforts on that before we can get a solid read on which goalie is actually playing better.

Game #3: vs #17 Johns Hopkins (1-0)

When: Saturday, February 18, 2017, at 12pm Central
Where: The Valley Fields Bubble
Audio/Visual: GoMarquette.com has the free video stream for you, plus live stats.
Special Promotions: 1st 150 fans to the Bubble get gold long sleeve MU lacrosse shirts AND mugs!
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

Marquette is 0-3 all time against Johns Hopkins, but you’ve got to throw a little bit of a caveat on that. One of the losses came in double overtime in Marquette’s third season while Hop was ranked #17 in the country, and the most recent meeting was a three goal loss last season where MU woke up in Milwaukee and played the Blue Jays IN BALTIMORE at 1pm Central time. Lousy East Coast freak snowstorms causing rescheduling.

On one hand, Johns Hopkins is coming in ranked #17 in the country in the Cascade top 20. On the other hand, the Blue Jays are picked to finish fourth in the Big Ten in their first year as an associate member of the league. Imagine being one of the 20 best teams in the country, but you can’t even be considered top three in your own league. This is the kind of thing that happens when the reigning national champions (Maryland) are in your league along with a dominant women’s lacrosse power of the 21st century. (Northwestern).

The Big Ten is devoted to doing Watch Lists instead of naming preseason all-conference teams, so I guess the upside is that JHU self-identified their three best players: goalie Caroline Federico, midfielder Haley Schweizer, and attacker Emily Kenul. All three women played a part in Hop’s 18-6 season opening win over American on Wednesday. Kenul led all players in scoring, throwing in five goals on eight shots and chipping in an assist as well. In her free time, she grabbed up four draw controls and caused a turnover. Schweizer did a little bit of everything: a goal, an assist, a ground ball, a draw control, and three caused turnovers. Federico got the start in net, making eight saves split evenly between the two halves. One thing to note is that Federico made six saves in the game, meaning that American put 14 of their 17 shots on frame. Marquette has been ruthlessly efficient at putting shots on net so far this season, so perhaps they’ll be able to find seams in Federico’s netminding.