The Golden Eagles could have clinched a Big East tournament berth with a victory, and as of the end of the day on Friday, they had not done that. However, Georgetown and Villanova came through on Saturday, picking up wins against Old Dominion and Butler respectively. That dropped the losing teams to 0-4 on the year in league play, and since Marquette can’t finish worse than 2-3 with one game left to go, that means that the Golden Eagles are guaranteed to finish no worse than fourth and have qualified for the Big East tournament.
The start of Friday night’s game was not fun.
Denver scored on their first 10 shots of the game. The first six came in the first eight minutes of the game, and the Pios were up 6-0. When they finally missed a shot — Julia Feiss at the 10:10 mark, blocked before it even got to the net — Denver was up 10-3 because Marquette had gotten a goal from Charlotte McGuire 45 seconds earlier. It was 13-5 at the half, and Marquette had been outshot 16-8. 12 turnovers from the Golden Eagles in the first half did not help their case, as the draw controls were fairly split in the first half. Marquette had 10, Denver had nine.
Things kind of got a little bit better right after the half. MU picked up the first two goals of the half, one from Grace Gabriel and one from Megan Menzuber, to make it 13-7 with 26:24 left to play. Denver answered with a woman-up goal from Bea Behrins, and Menzuber answered back with 23:45 left to go. 14-8 was the score, and while it’s not what you want, it’s not ridiculous. Score a couple quick ones, win some draws to play make it/take it, and put some pressure on.
Marquette didn’t score again for another 10 minutes.
Denver’s two goals in that 10 minute stretch were incidental to the issue. Marquette needed the time to rally, and burning off one-third of the second half without a goal was not something that they could really do. By the time that Gabriel scored twice to answer the Denver markers, it was 16-10, but only 13 minutes to go. The time had started to evaporate for Marquette at that point, and they would score just one more goal the rest of the way.
Gabriel led the day with four goals for Marquette. Menzuber also put up a hat trick on just three shots, which is pretty neat. Denver got six goals from Eliza Radochonski, five from Quintin Hoch-Bullen, and another four from Julia Feiss. It’s probably not an understatement to say that Marquette’s biggest problem on the day was the free position shot. MU went 5-for-7 when drawing a foul in the fan, while Denver went 8-for-11. When you’re allowing more goals than you’re gathering attempts, things are probably not going to end up going well for you at the end.
How about some highlights, courtesy of DenverPioneers.com? They treated it like a real sporting contest and put some MU highlights in the package, which is not always the case for college sports.
Up Next: Marquette will host Georgetown on Saturday in their final regular season game of the year. The Hoyas are 9-7 on the year and 3-1 in Big East action with the loss coming in the form of a 12-9 defeat at home to Denver. If my math is correct, I believe a win would mean Marquette would finish third in the Big East. Presuming that Denver beats Villanova in their season finale, third place means avoiding a semifinal match up with the Pioneers at Valley Fields.