With two ranked teams in the Big East, all of Marquette’s games against the other seven squads become incredibly precious. Unfortunately for the Golden Eagles, Temple is one of two Big East squads also receiving votes in the Cascade media top 20 poll.
Marquette is fighting for their first ever postseason appearance this year after missing out last season due to tiebreakers, and with those games against Florida and Denver still on the schedule, they need to take advantage when situations present themselves. The odds of it are that the Big East tournament is going to come down to Florida, Denver, Temple, and Vanderbilt at the moment, and if Marquette wants to find a way into that group of four, they’re going to need at least one win over those four early favorites in order to do it. We’ve seen how Marquette stacks up against the Gators in the past few seasons, and that seems to be an unlikely victory. Marquette has never defeated a ranked foe and last year’s 11-5 loss to the Pioneers doesn’t give a lot of hope in that regard.
So that means Marquette has to strike now, and get the early advantage on the rest of the pack.
They’ll likely be without junior midfielder Allison Lane. The New Jersey native went down with a knee injury in the first half against Northwestern and has not returned to action since. At six feet tall, Lane provides the Golden Eagles with a significant size advantage on both sides of the field. Even after missing two and a half games, she’s still third on the team in goals and draw controls this season. MU’s offense seems to be largely unaffected by her absence, but it was always going to be the defense that needed to rise to the occasion this season after losing two senior defenders and a senior goalie from last season. The Golden Eagles will need a big defensive showing in order to snag the win against the Owls.
Julianna Shearer Watch: With 27 goals on the season, Shearer is up to 87 career goals. Marquette’s all time record is 88, held by Hayley Baas. Brace for impact when that record falls on Saturday. She needs four points to become Marquette’s fourth ever 100 point scorer as she chases along behind teammate Amanda Bochniak, who reached that milestone against Cal last week. Shearer is also two draw controls away from tying Allison Lane for the program’s all time record. Lane had 88 when she went down with that injury, while Shearer has 27 on the season to boost up to 86 in her career. Her next point will move Shearer into a tie for the 10th most points in a season, and her next goal will tie her with Baas for the third most goals in a season.
Big East Game #2: at Temple Owls (7-2)
When: Saturday, March 25, 2017, at 12pm Central
Where: Howarth Field in Philadelphia, PA
Audio/Visual: Temple will be providing a video stream for the game, and it appears to be free. Live stats will definitely be free.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax
Marquette is 1-2 all time against Temple after picking up the 12-10 victory last season at Valley Fields. The two losses were both by 11-7 margins, but the Golden Eagles rallied from an 8-5 halftime deficit at Valley Fields in 2016 to get the first ever win over the Owls.
Temple is coming off of a loss in their Big East opener, but you can’t fault them all that much for a 14-6 loss to a ranked Denver team. That loss snapped a five game winning streak for the Owls where they scored at least 11 goals in each game. In fact, that’s a barometer of victory so far this season for Temple: If they can get to 10 goals, they win. They managed just three markers in their loss to at-the-time #13 Princeton and the aforementioned six strikes against the Pioneers, but every win this season has seen at least 11 goals.
Brenda McDermott will earn the lion’s share (owl’s share?) of the defensive attention from Marquette. The senior from Harleysville, PA, is tied with Amber Lambeth for the team lead in goals with 16 on the season, but it’s her passing that Marquette needs to worry about the most. McDermott has 19 assists on the season, giving her an average of more than two per game and ranking her fourth in the Big East in terms of average. Last time out, Marquette was able to hold Monica Borzillo, the Big East’s leader in assists per game, without a helper and the Golden Eagles may need to do that again in order to get the win in Philly.
Freshman Maryn Lowell has been the goalie of choice for Temple head coach Bonnie Rosen lately, getting the start in Temple’s last five games. She’s clearly statistically better than redshirt freshman Kelsea Hershey, who won the job at the start of the season, but Lowell was lifted with 11 minutes left against Denver. Then again, it was 11-4 at the time, so maybe that was just Rosen capitulating to the eventual final score. Lowell is only stopping 42% of shots on goal, so if the Golden Eagles can be accurate with their shooting, they can have a solid chance at the upset victory.