Welcome to game five of a seven game road trip.
Marquette is 2-2 so far on the trip, with two wins against unranked teams and two losses to ranked teams. That’s been the story of the season for MU this year, as they opened up the schedule with three straight losses to three ranked teams. If you’re ranked and you’re in Milwaukee, Marquette’s going to give you a fight. If you’re ranked and you’re at home, you’re going to beat Marquette relatively comfortably. That’s how things are going for MU.
That’s not even bad, to be honest. So the Golden Eagles aren’t a top 20 or 30 team. Oh well.
What they need to happen is use that experience of playing all of these high quality teams to turn them into a quality team when Big East play starts, which happens to be in the game after this trip to California. Marquette also needs to not let off the gas when they’re playing the unranked teams on the schedule, which is the situation that presents itself on Thursday evening.
One thing we need to watch out for is the availability of Allison Lane. The junior from New Jersey took a nasty bump to the turf late in the first half against Northwestern last time out and did not return for the second half. There’s been no update on the 6-foot midfielder from the team since then, and with Lane ranking third on the team in goals and tied for fourth in points, MU is clearly a better squad with her motoring up and down in transition.
Game #8: at California Golden Bears (1-7)
When: Thursday, March 16, 2017, at 5pm Central
Where: California Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, CA
Audio/Visual: Pac-12.com will have a video stream which may or may not be free. Live stats are free, though.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB
Marquette has a 1-0 all time record against California. The Golden Eagles defeated the Golden Bears 15-4 last season in MU’s home opener.
Um, the Bears are not good.
They’re 1-7 on the season, with their only victory coming in a 19-7 road trip against first year program Butler. In other words, they’re 0-7 against programs with any kind of establishment. They’re finding multiple ways to lose, dropping two games by exactly 10 goals and two more by exactly nine. They’ve also lost two of their last three games by just one goal margins.
Even those one goal losses were two different kinds of losses. Cal rallied from a 13-11 hole at halftime against Saint Joseph’s to tie it at 16 before the Hawks banged home two goals and held on to win. In their next game, the Bears jumped out to a 4-1 lead, trailed 13-9 at halftime, tied the game at 18 with 68 seconds left, then gave up a free position goal with six seconds left to lose to William & Mary.
The Bears do have three talented scorers, led by senior Jena Fritts, who has 21 goals and six assists in eight games. She’s supported by Elizabeth Pellechi, who has 13 goals on the season, and Susie Ropp, who has notched 11 markers. Cal has only recorded 30 assists on their 88 goals this season, and with only 15 of the goals coming via free position attempts, that’s an awful lot of unassisted goals.
Sophomore Jenny Wilkens has started all eight games at goalie for head coach Brooke Eubanks. However, with a goals-against average of 15.03, she’s been lifted for freshman Makayla Ward on four occasions. Wilkens is only stopping 41% of shots on goal, and with Marquette pumping 68% of their shots on frame this season, that certainly feels like a matchup that the Golden Eagles can use to their advantage.