Last weekend did not go so well for Marquette women’s lacrosse.
The Golden Eagles let a 7-4 lead with 21 minutes to go slip through their fingers last Friday, eventually falling 11-9 to Ohio State. Things got worse on Sunday, as High Point ripped off six goals in a row in the second half to break the game wide open on their way to handing Marquette a 20-9 loss.
What makes these two losses particularly troubling is that both are results of Marquette having bad second halves. As discussed in last weekend’s preview, Marquette had been going through a three game run of having monster second halves. Those three big second halves in a row had resulted in a 2-1 record, so things weren’t super perfect going that way. It’s also not great that Marquette is suddenly not having those high quality second halves to power their way back into games and/or maintain their leads. It’s definitely preferable to rally to win than struggle to hold on to a lead, but the third option — have a consistent performance and win — is much, much better.
Sunday’s game down in Florida marks the turning point on Marquette’s seven game string of road games. They’re 1-2 so far, but you can clearly make the argument that the two losses were to teams that were better than MU in the first place. I don’t believe you can make the same statement about Sunday’s opponent, and the same goes for MU’s next three opponents as well. That’s good news, in a way. It gives the Golden Eagles a chance to learn what they need to learn from last weekend and build up a head of steam across the next four games before they play their next home game. That one will be their final non-conference game before Big East play starts, and it comes against Northwestern, which is currently ranked #9 in the country. That could be a big deal for the Golden Eagles. We’ll see if MU can get things straightened out, starting on Sunday down in Florida.
Game #8: at Stetson Hatters (0-4)
This will be Marquette’s second all-time meeting with Stetson. The first was last season, with Marquette getting a 22-12 victory at Valley Fields. Five Golden Eagles recorded hat tricks, led by five goals from Grace Gabriel.
Things have gotten progressively worse for the Hatters in terms of margins this season. They opened with a 14-13 loss to Quinnipiac and a 16-11 loss to Monmouth, both at home. They then traveled out to Arizona State for an 11-3 loss to the Sun Devils, and then returned home for a 19-11 loss to Fresno State. If we’re being honest, it seems a little funny for both Stetson and Fresno State to travel all the way over to the east coast of Florida to play that game, even if there was a week between the two contests.
That’s how you get to 0-4 to start the season. I suppose that’s about what you could expect for a team that’s picked to finish fifth in the seven team Atlantic Sun. That’s with first year Kent State and 1-12 last year Howard as the two teams finishing behind them in the preseason poll, to give you an idea of what we’re talking about here.
With Stetson averaging a bit over nine goals a game, they’ve got a couple of scorers that Marquette is going to have to keep an eye on all game long. Shelby Lehmann has eight goals and six assists for 14 points on the season. Those are team leads in all three categories, although she has to share the assist lead with Riley Reagan. Reagan has six goals through four games, as does Marina Rotella.
Sophomore Kiera McCarthy has been the full-time netminder so far this season after appearing in six games last year as a back-up. Unsurprisingly, her goals-against average is a wee bit on the high side at 14.79, as SU’s best defensive effort on the year is 11 goals allowed. McCarthy is only stopping 43% of shots on goal this season, so if Marquette can get clean looks at the net, they should be able to beat her.