We’re inching closer and closer to the start of the Marquette women’s lacrosse season. There’s already a rundown of all of the returning players that head coach Meredith Black has to rely on this year, so if you haven’t read that yet, y’all need to go do that right now.
Here, we’re going to talk about the freshmen on MU’s roster. There’s three attackers, six midfielders, two defenders, and a goalie. There’s spots in the Marquette rotation for any of the 11 field players to earn their way into the lineup on a regular basis. Shea Garcia burst onto the scene in a big way last year and ended up as the Big East Freshman of the Year, so it’s possible that we could see someone do that again this year.
I think we have to start this group with Mary Schumar, a 5’10” attacker from Michigan. Her Marquette bio says that she was a two-time All-American in high school, so that seems pretty good. Schumar wrapped up her prep career with 101 goals and 62 assists....... during her senior year. That campaign was capped off with eight goals in the state title game which, yes, East Grand Rapids won. That was the second state title that Schumar won in high school after hosting a trophy as a freshman, too.
Elizabeth Escudero has some pretty good credentials, too. The 5’6” attacker from New Jersey had 133 goals and 71 assists in her career while winning four city championships and a state title in 2017. Emma Soccodato was a four-time letterwinner in high school in both lacrosse and tennis, and was all-conference all four years in both sports, too. She was named to the Under Armour 150 as a senior and led her Bishop Kellenberg squad in goals, assists, ground balls, and draw controls during her senior year. She also played on the 2017 Italian national team with her sister, and yes, you know her sister. That’s Cate Soccodato, who was one of MU’s best attack players in program history.
We’ve got six women to talk about here, so buckle up, it might be a minute.
Emily Becker, a 5’3” middie from Kenosha, Wisconsin, seems like she might be the most decorated of the newcomers in this group. A three-time all-state performer out of Indian Trail High School, she’s also been her conference’s Player of the Year twice as well as a US Lacrosse All-American twice. With 247 goals and 61 assists in her prep career, she is her high school’s career leader in goals and points, and adding that kind of production in the midfield is never a bad thing.
Becker isn’t the only Wisconsinite in the group here, as Aubrey McLaren hails from Whitefish Bay. The 5’1” McLaren led her high school team in goals and assists in both her junior and senior campaigns and finished with 170 goals and 78 assists while turning in two All-American performances.
A three-time state champion is never a bad addition to a team, and that’s what Marquette is getting in CJ Froemming, a 5’9” Minnesota native. She was a US Lacrosse All-American twice, and was a finalist for Ms. Lacrosse in Minnesota as a senior.
At 5’11” and 6’0” respectively, Leigh Steiner and Hannah Greving add some size as well as depth to Marquette’s midfield. Steiner earned five varsity letters in lacrosse out of Holy Family High School in Eden Prairie, Minnesota where she was teammates with new goalie Bella Dervin. She finished her career with 125 goals and 54 assists, even with an injury shortened senior season. Greving comes to Marquette by way of Lyons Township High School in Illinois, and was a four-time all-state performer there. Her 244 career goals are second all-time for her high school team, and she also added 96 assists, 243 ground balls, 427 draw controls, and 101 caused turnovers. That’s a lot of stuff going on in four seasons.
That leaves us to wrap up with 5’9” Mary Blee, who played both lacrosse and field hockey at Mount De Sales Academy in Maryland. Her sister plays at Davidson, and has 53 career goals for the Wildcats entering her senior season this year. Let’s say that we’re all cheering for Mary to have the better collegiate career.
I’ll be honest here: The official Marquette bios for both of Marquette’s two new defenders are not particularly heartwarming. Kate Pearson won a Minnesota state title as a freshman and a sophomore at Eden Prairie High School, but she also had her senior season cut short by way of injury. Colleen Graham is a multidimensional athlete with four varsity letters at Chatham High School in New Jersey in both lacrosse and soccer, as well as two more in track & field.
Aaaaaaand that’s all I’ve got to say about either of them. No discussion of caused turnovers or ground balls for the pair in their official biographies. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If they both played stay-at-home roles on their various teams, then they weren’t the ones who were supposed to be gambling on forcing turnovers anyway. In any case, Marquette is looking for a new starting defender this season, and their depth amongst returning players is thin. Both Pearson and Graham have a shot to crack the lineup for the Golden Eagles.
With three goalies coming back from last season, including Julianna Horning who started all 18 games and Sophia Leva who saw action in 14 of those games, odds are that Bella Dervin won’t see the field much at all this year. She was a four year starter at Holy Family, so that’s something. As a senior, she stopped 43% of shots on goal, which is pretty good. I have no idea if that’s something that translates to the Division 1 level, but I have to note that Dervin is 5’3”, and making that many stops at that height/size tends to indicate some pretty good reflexes and/or stickwork.