There has been a lot of reasons to be excited about Marquette Golden Eagles women’s lacrosse over the first five years of the program’s existence. Sure, they haven’t exploded into national prominence over that time like the men’s team has, but that’s borderline miraculous. The women’s team, under the guidance of Meredith Black, has slowly been growing, and that’s A-OK, bordering on pretty good.
There is, however, one thing that we can not say about the team. They have never held a winning record. Not “haven’t finished a season with a winning record.” They’ve never been over .500 at all at any point. Season #1: lost their opener, but went 2-1 over the next three to get to .500 before losing the next 13. Season #2: Lost the first two of the season, but pulled back to 2-2, 3-3, and 5-5 before dropping their final seven. Season #3: lost the first three, but won the next three to get to .500, but lost the next two and couldn’t it back. The past two seasons, Marquette played a strong non-conference schedule out of the gate and couldn’t find their way back to .500.
That brings us to right now, where Marquette is 2-2 after beating Central Michigan and Kennesaw State last weekend. The Golden Eagles host Stetson on Sunday afternoon with a prime opportunity to break past .500 for the first time in program history. With visits to Notre Dame and Northwestern coming up in the next three games, it would be very, very important for the Golden Eagles to secure this win and give themselves a little mental boost heading into what may be a very rough stretch of lacrosse.
Game #5: vs Stetson Hatters (0-2)
This is the first ever meeting between Marquette and Stetson. This is not that surprising. Both teams are in year six as a division 1 program, so you can see how the two coaching staffs would be more interested in challenging their teams with established teams as they grew.
The Hatters come in with two games under their belt this season, and two losses to boot. One of the losses is understandable. Home game or not, it’s hard to beat a top 20 team like Notre Dame. Would you like to not lose 21-7? Sure, but sometimes these things happen. The other loss is a problem. Arizona State moved to 2-0 as a program when the first year Sun Devils beat Stetson 15-13 in the season opener for the hatters. Stetson has been off since falling to Notre Dame on February 18th, so we’ll have to see how the time off has caused the coaching staff to adjust.
Stetson is coming off a program best five wins last season, but they have 15 freshmen and sophomores on their 27 woman roster. Through two games, they are led by six goals and two assists from Shelby Lehmann. She leads the team in both categories, although she is tied for the team assist lead with Hallie Merz. As you can figure out from here, Lehmann leads the team with eight points. Five different Hatters have already found the back of the net more than once, which is a pretty solid amount given how well Notre Dame shut them down. Liza Diamond has played every minute in net, and because it’s still early and because of that thrashing by the Irish, her goals against average is way up at 18.00. She is stopping 44% of shots on goal, which seems pretty decent given the situation.