On Friday afternoon, Marquette women’s lacrosse couldn’t get out of their own way, particularly out of the gate, as they lost in their season opener to Notre Dame. Whatever their problems against the Fighting Irish were, they were solved in a major way on Sunday afternoon. The Golden Eagles scored on their second, third, fourth, fifth, seventh, and eighth shots of the game while opening up a 6-1 lead over Louisville in the first 11 minutes. It got dicey in the middle parts, but that lead was enough to help push Marquette to a 15-12 win by the final horn. MU is now 1-1 on the season.
I’m not saying it was perfect, by the way. The Golden Eagles had their fair share of turnovers in the early going, but they balanced that out with defense of their own to help give the offense chances to put it in the net. Where MU got into trouble was the back end of the first half. After Marquette had gotten out to that lead, the Cardinals put together their own 6-1 run in less than 12 minutes. Five different UL players scored, including the final two of the run from Shayla Scanlan to even the whole thing out at seven goals each with 2:28 left to go before intermission.
That’s when Grace Gabriel went to work. The Big East’s preseason Offensive Player of the Year drew two fouls inside the fan less than 30 seconds apart and cashed both of her free position attempts to give MU a 9-7 advantage at the break. The goals favored Marquette there, but the shots didn’t, with Louisville coming away with a 16-13 margin in that department.
Louisville struck first in the second half, with Caroline Blalock scoring her first goal of the game just 61 seconds in. That made it a 9-8 game, and the looming red threat that we saw in the first half reared its head again. Quickly, though, Madison Kane, Lindsey Willcocks, and Gabriel all fired goals into the net, and perhaps none more important than Gabriel’s marker at the 22:26 mark. It came during a woman-down period due to a yellow card on freshman midfielder Lydia Foust. That shortie gave Marquette a 12-8 advantage, and that became rather important rather quickly.
The Cardinals came bouncing back with three more of their own, and it was just that Gabriel shorthanded goal that kept Marquette with the lead, 12-11 at that point. Charlotte McGuire for MU and Ally Hall for UL traded goals, and again, it was the Gabriel shortie that kept MU in front, 13-12. Seven minutes and change to go, and it was really anyone’s game.
That meant it was Grace Gabriel’s game. She scored just 44 seconds after Hall’s goal to put Marquette up 14-12, and with the breathing room, it was time for the defense to stand up. The Golden Eagles got two turnovers in the next two minutes paired with a yellow card on Hall. Sarah Blalock threw a shot wide, and Jules Horning made two saves, one with 2:53 to go on Alex McNicholas and one with 1:02 remaining on Caroline Blalock, and after Marquette cleared that out, it was Lindsey Willcocks putting the finishing touches on it with her third goal of the game with just seconds left to go.
The two sides ended up dead even in shots at 30, but MU held the on goal advantage at 23-21. They had the saves advantage too, with Horning making nine stops against eight between Rachel Florek, who was lifted after just 10 minutes after allowing five goals and making just one save, and Lexie Ball.
Gabriel finished the day with five goals to lead all players in both goals and points. Willcocks and Kane both had hat tricks for Marquette, while Cate Soccodato had a goal and two assists to finish with three points. Gabriel and Anna Gallagher both had three ground balls to lead Marquette, while Willcocks and Erin Dowdle both had two caused turnovers.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: Marquette embarks on their first road trip of the season for their next encounter. It’ll be down Ohio way as they visit former Big East squad Cincinnati for what has been an exciting rivalry match of sorts over the past several seasons. The Bearcats are 1-1 on the season after losing to Ohio State on Friday and beating Kent State on Sunday, with both games coming at home.