Marquette women’s lacrosse is over .500 on the season!
We’re going to celebrate this, because the Golden Eagles opened up the season on the road against the #7 team in the country, so merely fighting back against an 0-1 start is something to be proud of here.
The catch here, though, is that the Golden Eagles have won all three games in the comforts of the Valley Fields bubble, while they are 0-2 away from Milwaukee. This week’s offerings on the schedule involve not only leaving the city, but also the time zone. Both games on the schedule will be out in Arizona, as it appears that Arizona State is willing to host Marquette playing another team, since that other team is coming into town to play the Sun Devils as well a few days later. That’s a nice bit of cooperation from the third-year ASU squad, but I suppose it works in their favor to mix up the availability of teams that they can get in to play. Let’s face it: Tempe is 1) outside the bounds of the traditional lacrosse strongholds in this country as well as 2) very much a smart place to go play lacrosse in the middle of February.
If you’re so inclined, there’s reason to believe that the Golden Eagles can win both of these games. As mentioned, Arizona State is a third year program that has racked up identical 6-12 seasons in their first two years of existence. Fresno State, MU’s other foe on this trip, is coming off back-to-back .500 seasons after posting their first winning season in program history in 2017. That’s a perfect opportunity for Marquette to flex their muscles and stick wins up on the board. It might not be easy, of course, but you’re not trying to schedule easy things all the time.
Marquette is going through a few things on the defensive end of the field, which does lead to things not being easy all of the time. Preseason all-Big East honoree Jocelyn Miller missed both of MU’s games last weekend, so it seems likely that she might not be available for this road trip either. On top of that, Marquette has split the goalkeeping duties straight down the middle in their last two games. Sophia Leva performed particularly well in the second half of Marquette’s game against Canisius on Friday, and thus earned the start on Sunday against Niagara. Jules Horning had the other half of both games, so at least for now, it seems that head coach Meredith Black is at least opening up the door to figuring out who her best netminder is before business picks up next over the next few weeks.
Game #5: at Arizona State Sun Devils (2-2)
This is Marquette’s first ever meeting with Arizona State.
This will be the first home game of the season for the Sun Devils, after they’ve been bouncing all over the country for their first four contests of the year. They started off with a 16-12 win over UC Davis, which is up by Sacramento, then went out to the Midwest the next weekend for a 24-6 win over Detroit Mercy and a 28-12 loss to then-#3 Northwestern. Most recently, they were in southern California for a 19-18 loss to San Diego State. Thursday’s game will be the first of six straight at home, so hopefully Marquette doesn’t let the Sun Devils get comfortable right away.
ASU has an offensive pairing that’s going to be hard for Marquette to defend. Kerri Clayton, a redshirt senior from Maryland, has already tallied 16 goals on the year, twice as many as any other Sun Devil. She also has five assists on the year to tie for the team lead in points at 21. Emily Glagolev is the woman that Clayton is tied with in points. The junior from New York is going the other direction from Clayton, recording 13 assists along with eight goals to get to 21. Arizona State has 39 assists as a team this season, so Glagolev is accounting for a full one-third of that all on her own.
Berkeley Bonneau has been the starter in net in all four games this season for head coach Tim McCormack. Her stats are not particularly great, with a goals-against average of 17.43 and a save percentage of just .338. Part of the problem there is that she was lifted after allowing 18 goals in 22 minutes against Northwestern, and then left after letting in just four in 40 minutes against Detroit Mercy. The redshirt junior from Texas didn’t get the extra 20 minutes of what amounted to garbage time in a 24-6 win to balance out the nightmare that was facing the Wildcats, so her stats are a bit skewed. Still, she let in 12 and 19 respectively in ASU’s other two matches.
Game #6: vs Fresno State Bulldogs (2-1)
Date: Saturday, February 29, 2020
Time: 1pm Central
Location: Sun Devil Lacrosse Stadium, Tempe, AZ
Streaming: Pac-12.com, because Arizona State is nice.
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax
This is Marquette’s first ever meeting with Fresno State.
After two matches in South Carolina and one date back at home in Fresno, the Bulldogs are 2-1 on the year and have now won two straight. They lost 12-11 in their opener on the road against Furman, giving up six goals to the Paladins in the final 17 minutes to cough up a 9-6 lead. From there, it was on to Winthrop, where they triumphed over the Eagles, 17-12, although Winthrop did score four in a row to cut it to 14-12 with 11 minutes to play. Last Saturday gave FSU a home win over Stetson, 21-13. It’s hard to say anything definitive about that one, as the Bulldogs were up 14-4 at halftime, but were then outscored 9-7 after the break.
Quite honestly, that’s a pretty good start to the season, seeing as head coach Jessica Giglio quit her job back on January 8th. Obviously, that’s weird timing, and it’s made even more weird by the fact that she was cleared of malfeasance by an investigation into Giglio’s management of the program a year ago. In any case, Kara Concheck, a former FSU player and a former head coach at St. Francis, was hired as an assistant in the fall and will be the interim head coach as the 2020 season goes on.
Much like ASU, the Bulldogs have a pair of women at the top of the stat sheet that will be the primary names for the MU defense to focus on. Sydney Skalstad is averaging five goals a game this season after throwing in eight against Stetson the last time out. Even more impressively, all 22 of her shots this season have been on net. Marquette will need to find a way to if not stop her from shooting at all but at the very least prevent her from getting quality looks. The other half of the tandem is Lauren Kiszely. The junior from New Jersey has only two goals on the season, but has assists on 12 of FSU’s 49 goals. That’s easily the team high as no one else has more than four. Merely disrupting Kiszely’s distribution would go a long way towards a Marquette victory.
Senior and California native Laurel Maunder is the Bulldogs’ goalie this year. She’s stopping 43% of shots on goal, and has a 12.33 goals-against average so far this season. Fresno State has a problem with allowing quality shots this year, with just over 80% of shots against coming between the pipes. The shots may be plentiful for Marquette, but Maunder seems to be doing a good job cleaning up behind her defenders.