All five of Marquette’s goal scorers recorded hat tricks, led by a six goal outing from Grace Gabriel, and the Golden Eagles outlasted Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon, winning 19-15. MU is now 1-0 in Big East play and 5-4 on the season.
From the jump, it was clear that this was not going to be an easy victory for the Golden Eagles. Not only did Cincinnati score first, but after Marquette scored the next two goals, the Bearcats started trading goals back and forth with Marquette across the first 10 minutes of the game. Amanda Donovan scored the first goal of the second 20 minutes of the game to put UC up 5-4, and then it was Marquette’s turn to answer and tie on Charlotte McGuire’s 20th goal of the season.
That’s when the Bearcats started to show that maybe they had the guns to grab the road W. Monica Borzillo scored the first of her two goals in the game, and Sam Mlkvy got the first of her four goals, and UC was up 7-5. Allison Lane answered seconds later, but Mlkvy pushed the lead back to two a little more than three minutes after that. That made it 8-6 favoring the visitors with 8:18 to go in the first half.
That was enough for Marquette to see, and they kicked into high gear. Over the final 4:09 of the half, Marquette threw in four goals, including two from Lane to wrap up her hat trick, and the Golden Eagles went to the locker room up 10-8. Cincinnati would get another goal from Mlkvy to break the ice on the second half, but the two teams traded goals over the first 10 minutes of the period, just like in the first half. That had Marquette up 14-11, and Gabriel’s sixth goal of the game pushed the margin to 15-11 with 18:44 to go.
Whatever last hopes Cincinnati had of a comeback ended when Megan Menzuber scored two goals less than 45 seconds apart to jam the lead to five at 17-12. That allowed Marquette to be patient, or at least as patient as you can be with a shot clock, and two more goals from McGuire was enough to outweigh three extra strikes from Cincinnati down the stretch.
The slightly crazy part about all of this? Marquette went 0-for-7 on free position shots in the game. Every single one of their 19 goals in the game came within the run of play. That’s not necessarily a bad thing: You have to be pretty proud of your offense when you win without an FPS. Still, it’s surprising that the Golden Eagles were unable to convert one. On the flip side, Cincinnati was able to convert only one of their seven FPS opportunities, and that came with less than seven minutes remaining, so shoutout to Julianna Horning on her goaltending work. She recorded saves on five of the other six FPS tries from the Bearcats, with the sixth hitting the post and turning into a ground ball by MU’s Alex Gambacorta. Horning made nine saves overall to record the W.
What we haven’t mentioned here is the program record tying seven assists by Cate Soccodato. That’s a career best for the junior from New York as she draws even with Claire Costanza in the record book. Marquette’s passing overall was pretty on point, as the rest of the team chipped in three more helpers for a total of 10 on MU’s 19 goals. That was a significant advantage for Marquette in the game, as the MU defense forced Cincy to score unassisted repeatedly, allowing just five assists in the game.
As a team, Marquette was a little fumble fingers in this game, turning the ball over 21 times against only 18 for Cincinnati, with both sides causing 10 turnovers by the other team. MU made up for it by getting more ground balls, 27-23, and easily winning the draw control battle, 21-15. All of that helped lead to a shot advantage for the Golden Eagles, as they pounded away on the Bearcat defense to the tune of a 47-28 margin.
Up Next: Marquette takes their 1-0 Big East record and tie for first place on the road next Saturday. The Golden Eagles will be out in Pennsylvania to take on Villanova with an 11am Central first draw. The Wildcats are 5-3 on the season and 0-1 in the Big East standings after falling 19-10 in their league opener to Georgetown.