Before Thursday, Marquette was beating unranked teams and losing to ranked teams this season. Sure, that resulted in MU having a record of 2-5, which is not a lot of fun, but hey: it happens. That all changed when they went out west and lost to California by a final of 18-11. That was just the second win of the season for the Golden Bears, and their first came against Butler, which is playing their first season of Division 1 lacrosse this year.
So that’s a problem for the Golden Eagles.
The problem, specifically, may be the absence of junior midfielder Allison Lane, who has 12 goals, two assists, and double digit ground balls, draw controls, and caused turnovers. The 6-foot tall New Jersey native went down with a knee injury midway through Marquette’s 18-10 loss to #14 Northwestern. Losing by eight goals to a ranked opponent in desperate need of a win (the Wildcats were under .500 at the time due to playing a lot of top 10 teams) isn’t a surprising result with or without Lane...... but Northwestern was only leading 8-5 at halftime. They outscored Marquette 10-5 after the break, and then the Golden Bears, who definitely can score in bunches, ran wild all over MU.
There’s no word as to the severity of Lane’s injury, so we have no idea if she’s out for the year or if she’ll be back soon. Either way, Marquette may need to figure out how to replace her two-way play in a hurry with Big East play starting in this game.
In more exciting news, Julianna Shearer is six points away from becoming Marquette’s fourth ever 100 point scorer. Her 25 goals and one assist this season have jumped her way up the list, although she hasn’t actually passed anyone since she ended last year as the fourth best scorer in program history. Amanda Bochniak actually became the third 100 point scorer in MU’s last game, so it would be kind of fun if MU had that happen in back to back games.
Remember when I said Shearer has 25 goals in Marquette’s eight games this season? Shearer needs just three goals to tie Hayley Baas’ program record for goals in a career (88), and with nine Big East games left on the schedule, she needs just 12 goals to break her own record for goals in a season.
Big East Game #1: at Cincinnati Bearcats (3-4)
When: Sunday, March 19, 2017, at 11am Central
Where: Sheakley Athletic Center in Cincinnati, OH
Audio/Visual: UC is going to make you pay for a video stream because they hate America. Live stats are free, though.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWBB
Marquette is 3-1 all time against the Bearcats with wins in each of the last three seasons. The first two games, a Cincinnati win and a Marquette win, were decided by nine and eight goals respectively, while each of the last two games were both 8-7 MU victories.
On one hand, the Bearcats are already one win away from matching their win total from all of last season. That sounds an awful lot like improvement, but unfortunately for Cincinnati, it’s really not. Last year, they finished the season 4-13, but they lost every single one of their Big East games for the third straight season. The Bearcats weren’t picked to finish last this season, but the only thing stopping them was Butler starting their team up this season. After 21 straight league losses, I’m going to need to see them pull out a victory before I start to think that they’re turning things around.
Cincinnati is coming in on a two game winning streak, including a 21-6 victory over Gardner-Webb on Friday. Monica Borzillo set two school records in the victory, recording six assists and nine total points in the game. Borzillo, the sister of former Marquette player and current MU Director of Operations Jacqueline Borzillo, had a crazy number of targets to get those helpers, as five different Bearcats recorded hat tricks. The win before that was a 15-4 crushing of Central Michigan where Cincinnati blew out to a 13-1 lead over the CMU team that Marquette struggled to beat with Allison Lane in the lineup.
While those six assists were a program record, they weren’t out of character for Borzillo. She now has 21 on the season against just 18 goals for a team high 39 points. Borzillo has more than twice as many points as anyone else on the UC squad, and even if she went without a point against Gardner-Webb, she’d still have exactly twice as many points as any of her teammates. Borzillo is one of four players to record 10 goals already this season, but her 18 markers are best on the team. Amanda Donovan, Katie Stegmann, and McKenna Rushford are the other three, and brace yourself here — those three all shooting at least .500 on the season.
Cincinnati has a somewhat of an evolving goaltending situation. Junior Alex MacAffer has started their last three games and five games total, but she hasn’t yet played 300 minutes this season. MacAffer and her goals-against average of 11.84 will likely be in the net on Sunday, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see freshman Madison Foery, even if MacAffer has been the better goalie.