There’s a couple of different ways to look at Marquette women’s lacrosse’s loss to Ohio State last weekend. It was the first home loss of the season for the Golden Eagles, after starting out with four straight wins.
1) Marquette gave up a whole mess of goals and fell behind big time.
2) Marquette flipped things around in the second half and made it interesting 13 minutes to go.
3) Marquette’s defense was much better in the second half, allowing just 13 shots in 30 minutes.
4) The Golden Eagles had the misfortune of playing against OSU goalie Jill Rizzo when the universe was on her side, allowing her to make 17 saves, with 9 in the second half as MU made their push.
Some of all of that falls in the category of “things Marquette can work on/improve.” There’s not really anything that MU can do about the opposing goalie suddenly becoming one with The Force. Scoring a few more goals to not fall behind? Workable. Stopping a few more goals to stay within range? Workable.
The kind of fun part about this game is the fact that Marquette’s first opportunity to bounce back from their first home loss of the year is a road game. The Golden Eagles have only won a single game away from Milwaukee this season, and that one was a neutral site game against Fresno State. They haven’t won a true road game yet this year, and, uh, for reasons that we’ll get into in a moment, MU is definitely capable of winning this one. Getting that road dub directly after the first home loss of the year is a big thing to do for the squad, so let’s all buckle our seatbelts and see what happens on Wednesday afternoon.
It’s also kind of a big deal for Marquette to come out firing in this one as well as Saturday’s game. After Saturday, MU has two weeks off, so going into that off time with positive memories of wins will be good for Marquette. They start Big East play as soon as the break is over, so these are the last two tuneups before the battle for those four conference tournament berths begins.
Game #10: at Detroit Mercy Titans (1-6)
Marquette is 5-0 against Detroit Mercy. The Golden Eagles played the Titans in every season between 2013 and 2016, and the series was renewed last year with a 22-9 MU victory.
We have two, maybe three pieces of evidence to indicate that Marquette should be favored to win this game. ITEM #1: Detroit lost at home to Arizona State by the final score of 24-6. Marquette lost to the Sun Devils as well, but 1) it was on the road and 2) the score was 18-14.
ITEM #2: That 1-6 record on the year isn’t exactly inspiring fear in anyone. Also not working out for UDM is their -12.8 per game goal differential.
ITEM #3: This one’s the maybe, because I’m drawing connections to things that haven’t happened this season. The Titans lost 19-4 to Butler back on February 20th. Maybe Butler is a lot better here in year four of their program, but 1) Marquette has never lost to Butler and 2) Marquette has never allowed more than three goals to Butler.
While the Titans are obviously struggling, things have shown signs of improvement to a certain extent. Kaitlyn Wandelt has played in just four games this season, but they’ve been UDM’s last four games. She’s also leading the team goals now, firing in 12 in her admittedly limited action. Now, that’s slightly misleading, as Wandelt popped in six goals against Winthrop in Detroit’s only win of the year. Still, they only scored 11 goals in that game and five of Wandelt’s goals came after halftime and the Titans were down 7-2.
Kamryn Corraro and Kristina Ellis are the other two double digit point getters for UDM so far this season. Corraro has started and played in all seven games, recording 11 goals and two assists. Ellis missed the opener against Northwestern (a 30-3 loss, bleh), and has tallied seven goals and a team high four assists since then. Ellis has scored at least one goal in each of Detroit’s last five games, which is some nice consistency.
As you might expect, Detroit Mercy’s goaltending situation is a total mess. Hannah Shrader and Maddie Johnson have both played at least 170 minutes this season, with Johnson going the distance against Winthrop to end up with 242 minutes on the year. The Winthrop game is the only one that Shrader hasn’t played in, and the two have been mostly splitting time other than against the Eagles. Shrader started the Butler game, but was yanked with four minutes left in the first half while trailing 9-2. She then got to play the final four minutes after Johnson had let in nine goals of her own.
I got sidetracked trying to find Shrader’s start. Where was I? Oh, right. Neither woman is stopping even 35% of shots on goal, and they’re both allowing more than 18 goals per 60 minutes. Part of this is on them, because y’know, you’re a goalie, make saves. However, their field defense is doing them no favors. Detroit is being outshot by 17 swings per game, and opponents are putting 56% of shots in the net. Just doing some rough math here, that means Detroit is trailing 8-0 on average before the game even starts, if you think about it.