Marquette dodged a near-disaster in their most recent game.
I think, generally speaking, MU’s first three games went about as well as one could have expected, outside of the part where winning would have actually been more fun. In three games against three ranked teams, the Golden Eagles ran right with two of them up until the final horn. Sure, Notre Dame ran away from them quickly, but hey, whatcha gonna do.
Last Thursday’s game against Central Michigan should have been Marquette’s chance to get themselves on the right path in 2017, since the Chippewas are a second year program. Instead, what happened was Marquette was losing at halftime and gave up a three goal second half lead before finally pulling away for the victory. A W is a W, no matter how you get it, and putting the first one in the win column this season was a good thing. But Marquette took the longest, most out of the way path to get to their first win of the season, and instead of coming away feeling good about the brand of lacrosse that they’re playing, the Golden Eagles were left with questions about what they need to do better in the future.
Thankfully, they get another crack at getting on that right path against a Kennesaw State team that ended up letting their first ever head coach go after just four seasons. It seems a little harsh to judge a coach for going 12-47 with a program that didn’t exist before she got there, but that’s what the Owls did to Kristina Llanes. Now Laura Maness is running the show, and Marquette has been reasonably successful against her Detroit teams in the past. Hopefully the Golden Eagles can find that thread again on Tuesday afternoon, because this road trip is going to see much stiffer competition very quickly after this game.
But that’s for a later date. Fingers crossed.....
Game #5: at Kennesaw State Owls (0-1)
When: Tuesday, February 28, 2017, at 12pm Central
Where: Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw, Georgia
Audio/Visual: ASun.tv will have live video, and it appears to be free of charge. Live stats will be here.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax
This is the first ever meeting between Marquette and Kennesaw State, which is a little bit surprising. KSU is in their fifth season of Division 1 play, just like Marquette.
The Owls are 0-1 on the season, but Marquette has played three of their four games this season since KSU was last in action. They kicked off the 2017 campaign back on February 11th, one day after Marquette opened up against Louisville, and since falling 17-5 to Big East foe Vanderbilt (that’s not a typo), the Owls have just been practicing against each other. The game against Vandy was a road trip for them, so this will also be their home opener at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.
This is Marquette’s second consecutive game against a team from the Atlantic Sun Conference, and yes, I did mean Central Michigan is in the A-Sun. This is what happens when schools want to have lacrosse but their primary conference is a bag of jerks that doesn’t sponsor the sport. In any case, KSU was picked to finish seventh in the A-Sun this season, one spot higher than the CMU squad that gave Marquette fits for 45 minutes.
Like CMU, Kennesaw State doesn’t have any players on the A-Sun preseason all-conference team. They did, however, put two players on the watch list, although that might just be the list of players that every team submitted. Anyway, we should keep an eye on freshmen Maura Palandro and Izzy Palermo. Palermo, a midfielder, scored one of KSU’s five goals on a free position attempt. Palandro, a defender, came off the bench against the ‘Dores, but only contributed a turnover to the scoresheet. As far as returning players go, the focus should probably be aimed at Connor Zophy, who scored 19 goals for the Owls last year, as well as Laura Jordan, who has racked up 51 caused turnovers in her first two seasons in Georgia.
Sophomore Alex Bunn played just over 45 minutes against Vandy, giving up 14 goals along the way. She played in 10 games a year ago with five starts, compiling a save percentage of .324.