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Grace Gabriel & Shea Garcia Earn Individual Big East Women’s Lacrosse Honors

PLUS: Four more Golden Eagles earned All-Big East honors!

Shea Garcia
It was an excuse to use a Shea Garcia picture instead of a Grace Gabriel picture, sorry/not sorry
Facebook.com/MarquetteWLax

Time to put on your time traveling shoes and wander back with us to last Wednesday, when the Big East released their 2019 postseason women’s lacrosse awards.

It was a big day for Marquette, as two Golden Eagles earned major individual awards from the league. Senior Grace Gabriel was named Co-Midfielder of the Year along with Georgetown’s Francesca Whitehurst, while attacker Shea Garcia was named Freshman of the Year.

Here’s the league’s write-up on Gabriel:

Gabriel repeats as top middie after leading the BIG EAST in goals (56, 3.29 per game), game-winning goals (three), and shots (141, 8.29 per game), while ranking second in draw controls (111, 6.53 per game) and third in points (3.65 per game). The five-time BIG EAST Midfielder of the Week added 22 caused turnovers and 32 ground balls over 17 games, leading Marquette to its first top-25 win in program history and its highest seeding (No. 2) in the BIG EAST Championship.

Everything make sense here. Gabriel finishes her Marquette career with the program record in points (199), goals (175), and draw controls (332), and sits in the top six in assists, ground balls, and caused turnovers. I’m saying she was very very good for four straight years and Marquette is very much going to miss her next year.

Let’s turn the spotlight towards the explanation for Garcia’s honor:

Garcia becomes the first Freshman of the Year out of Marquette. The rookie attacker has totaled 37 points off 29 goals and eight assists, 16 ground balls and four caused turnovers. She’s taken 63 shots on the year, 54 of which have landed on target for an .857 shot on goal percentage. Garcia was tabbed BIG EAST Freshman of the Week four times in 2019.

Garcia may have just edged out Villanova’s Alexa Moro for the top rookie honors. Moro also had four Freshman of the Week honors and she was named the all-conference Second Team, something that Garcia can not say. Then again, it’s a little bit easier for goalies, as there’s just one per team that would get a nod. Someone’s gotta make the second team out of a six team league, y’know?

To give you an idea of what kind of freshman year Garcia had, if all she does as a sophomore is repeat her freshman year stats, she’ll be #11 all time in points, #10 all time in goals, and #9 all time in assists after just two seasons. Yes, Marquette’s program is still relatively young, but that’s still pretty wild stuff for a team that had Grace Gabriel tearing up the stat chart.

Gabriel was one of seven unanimous choices by vote of the league’s coaches to the All-Big East First Team. With seven unanimous choices and only 12 women in a starting lineup, I can’t help but wonder why the Big East First Team has 17 women on it. That seems wildly unnecessary, even with a tie in the voting resulting in someone (someones?) extra being added to the squad. In any case, Gabriel was joined on the squad by two teammates: Sophomore defender Jocelyn Miller and senior attacker Cate Soccodato. Here’s how the MU athletic department explained the honors:

Gabriel is joined on the All-BIG EAST First Team by classmate Soccodato, who proved to be the main distributor for the Marquette offensive with a team-high 42 assists during the regular season. The senior, who was a Second Team All-BIG EAST selection last year, assisted on nearly 20 percent of all of MU’s goals and had at least one assist in all but two of the Golden Eagles’ 17 games this season. Despite having only six goals, Soccodato managed to rank second in points (49) behind Gabriel.

Miller, who has started all 17 of Marquette’s games, scooped up 35 ground balls and caused 23 turnovers in her sophomore campaign. In conference action alone, she tallied a team-leading 14 ground balls and forced nine turnovers, also ranking first for Marquette.

The Golden Eagles also had two Second Team honorees in graduate student midfielder Charlotte McGuire and junior defender Erin Dowdle. Both seem more than worthy of their honors here, and here’s what MU had to say about them:

McGuire ranked second on the team in goals (41) and shots (85) as well as third in points (45). The graduate student totaled nine hat tricks in Marquette’s 16 games and never notched below a .500 shots-on-goal percentage.

Dowdle anchored the Golden Eagles’ defense, leading Marquette in ground balls (36) and caused turnovers (24). The junior also collected 37 draw controls, enough for third on the team.

Dowdle came into the year without a draw control to her name, and she’s already one shy of landing in MU’s all-time top 10. That’s pretty impressive work.

Elsewhere in the Big East, Denver picked up a bunch of hardware, because that’s what happens when you go undefeated in league play. Sophomore Quintin Hoch-Bullen was named Attacker of the Year, Katherine Fischer was a unanimous choice as Defensive Player of the Year, Carson Gregg was named Goalkeeper of the Year, and the Pios were named Coaching Staff of the Year, also by unanimous vote. In case you were wondering, yes, that is all of the awards not won by Gabriel or Garcia. Seven of the 17 women on the all-Big East First Team play for Denver, and another four landed on the Second Team. They’re very good at this game.

You can check out the full rundown of all of the league awards right here.