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Marquette Women’s Lacrosse Preview: vs Villanova Wildcats

The Golden Eagles finally return to Valley Fields for a game as they look to get back above .500 in conference.

NCAA Basketball: Seton Hall at Villanova Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Three games into league play, and Marquette Golden Eagles women’s lacrosse is already bumping into important tiebreaker contests.

At this point of the schedule, there’s a three-way tie for first place in the Big East, with Florida, Vanderbilt, and Georgetown all sitting at 2-0, while Temple, Denver, Villanova, and Marquette are all tied for fourth at 1-1. Four teams are going to make the Big East tournament in May, and the way things are going already, Marquette might end up needing this victory against the Wildcats when it comes down to brass tacks.

Marquette isn’t that far from being in a four-way tie for first instead of a four-way tie for fourth, by the way. The Golden Eagles fell in overtime to Temple in their most recent outing, and had Julianna Shearer, MU’s leading scorer and the 4th best goal scorer in the Big East, not been issued yellow cards 40 seconds apart in the first half against the Owls, who knows how that one might have turned out. Of course, Shearer’s two cards led to Marquette falling behind 12-6, and they rallied without her, so six of one, half dozen of the other, I suppose.

Speaking of Shearer, she is now Marquette’s all-time leading goal scorer with 89 career strikes after scoring twice in the early going against Temple. Her nine assists give her 98 points in her collegiate career, so with a little luck (or perhaps some more forgiving refereeing), Shearer seems like a lock to become Marquette’s fourth 100 point scorer on Saturday.

Big East Game #3: vs Villanova Wildcats (3-6, 1-1 Big East)

When: Saturday, April 1, 2017, at 12pm Central
Where: Valley Fields, presumably in the Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble.
Audio/Visual: Marquette will provide a free video stream, as well as live stats.
Special Promotions: 2016 summer campers get in FREE, everyone else gets in for $1, and the 1st 200 fans get a clear MU tote bag! What’s not to like?
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

Marquette is 1-3 all time against Villanova after picking up a 15-6 victory in Pennsylvania a year ago. The Wildcats had won the three previous games, all of which were in Milwaukee.

The Wildcats are on a bit of a hot streak at this point of the 2017 season. They opened things up with a 1-6 start, capping that off with a 14-12 home loss to Vanderbilt to start Big East action. VU has won their last two games to get on a bit of a roll, defeating Lafayette, 13-11, and then Cincinnati by a score of 16-10 to level out their league record at 1-1.

Much like their male compatriots, the Wildcats are allowing goals all over the place. With the exception of their 8-7 loss to Drexel, Villanova has given up at least 10 goals in every game this season, and they are allowing nearly 13 goals per 60 minutes. Now, this isn’t the biggest advantage in the world for Marquette, as they’re giving up more than 14 per 60 minutes, but when you consider that Marquette has been playing a lot of ranked teams close this season, you would hope that the Golden Eagles will find a way to score.

Katie Comerford, who has been named Big East Freshman of the Week, is leading Villanova in goals and points. Her 23 markers on the season lead a trio of double digit goal scorers, and her nine helpers account for nearly 20% of all of VU’s assists on the season. They have recorded 41 assists on just 87 goals, so Marquette’s defense will have to pay careful attention to the Wildcats’ passing. Julia Michaels (13.62 GAA; .459 SV%) has started every game in net for the Wildcats, but her backups have managed to rack up nearly 200 minutes of action along the way.