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Marquette Women’s Lacrosse Preview: at Central Michigan Chippewas

What a long strange trip this is going to be for the Golden Eagles.

Central Michigan
I don’t know if they have a mascot, so here’s their logo.
Facebook.com/CMUAthletics

I hope you got a chance to get out to the Valley Fields Bubble to see Marquette women’s lacrosse in one of their two home games that they’ve already played, because you aren’t going to see them there again for over a month.

After going 0-3 against three teams that were ranked in one poll or the other to start the season, Marquette heads out onto the road for their next seven games. That’s five non-conference games and the first two Big East games of the season. It’s also a lot of miles, considering where they’re going to be headed.

It’s an interesting mix of challenging games as well as games you might call cupcakes if it wasn’t for the fact that they’re road games and there’s no such thing as an easy road game.

Seven different Golden Eagles have recorded a point so far this season, led by 10 (8G, 2A) from Grace Gabriel. Julianna Shearer is matching her step for step for the team lead in goals, while Claire Costanza’s passing hasn’t missed a beat even though she missed the 2016 season with an injury. She’s got a team high six assists, which accounts for more than one-third of all of MU’s helpers on the year.

Marquette’s defense continues to be a work in progress. Junior goalie Molly Grozier has had two pretty strong performances in MU’s two home games, but she got firebombed on the trip to Notre Dame. That’s how you end up with Grozier playing 2.5 times as many minutes as freshman Jules Horning, but Horning has one more save than the upperclasswoman. To this point of the season, the Golden Eagles are averaging more ground balls and more caused turnovers than they did last season, but they might need to kick that up a notch to keep a few more shots away from Grozier and/or Horning.

Game #4: at Central Michigan Chippewas (1-1)

When: Thursday, February 23, 2017, at 1pm Central
Where: CMU Lacrosse/Soccer Stadium in Mount Pleasant, Michigan
Audio/Visual: CMU is streaming this one for free, which is nice. There’s also live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

Marquette is 1-0 all time against Central Michigan, mostly because this is just year two of Division 1 play for the Chippewas. The Golden Eagles had their best offensive day in program history when they smashed CMU 17-4 at Valley Fields. MU jumped out to a 4-0 lead, handed two back, and then went on a 12-0 run to ice the game away.

Even though this is just Year Two for Central Michigan, they’re picked to finish eighth in the Atlantic Sun this season, which is pretty impressive and/or horrible for Stetson, Delaware State, and Howard, depending on how you look at it. They didn’t place anyone on the A-Sun preseason all-conference team, but the league announces a preseason watch list, and that’s where Tyra Prince and Anna Schoonover picked up some recognition. Prince is a freshman, but she’s already racked up three goals and three assists in CMU’s first two games. Schoonover was an A-Sun all-freshman team performer a year ago, and right now she’s tied for the team lead in points with seven (6G, 1A). Shannon Doyle is the other half of that tie, and she’s gotten there with seven goals on the season to lead the Chippewas.

I suppose we have to throw a little bit of an asterisk on Schoonover’s offensive output. She got all six of her goals in CMU’s season opening 20-10 victory over St. Francis (PA), but was then held scoreless in their 21-6 loss to Robert Morris. Doyle, on the other hand, split her markers up 4 & 3.

Dominique Hamman is the goalie of choice for head coach Sara Tisdale. She took the brunt of that 21-6 loss in their most recent game, which explains why the sophomore has a goals-against average of 16.15 at this point of the season. Hope Murray has gotten playing time in both of CMU’s game, so don’t be surprised to see Tisdale send her freshman netminder out there at some point.