It was bound to happen.
Marquette women’s lacrosse finally lost a game at Valley Fields this season. A 7-0 run for Ohio State in the first half provided the spine and the Buckeyes fended off a second half rally by the Golden Eagles to issue that loss, 16-14. Marquette is now 5-4 on the year and 4-1 in Milwaukee.
Last year’s game against Ohio State was a close and low scoring affair in Columbus. It took a while for this one to get going, with Marquette taking five minutes to score the first two goals of the game. After that 2-0 start, Ohio State started getting some fluidity to their offensive movement, using transition opportunities to put shots on goal and goals in net. Sophie Baez kicked off that aforementioned 7-0 run with a goal at the 24:44 mark of the first half, and Ashley Turner capped it almost exactly 10 minutes later on a feed from Clare Johnston at the 14:47 mark.
Boom, 7-2 Buckeyes.
During the run, Marquette managed just three shots. Ohio State won four of the six draw controls inside the streak, and that allowed the Buckeyes to maintain control and possession. You can’t do much to break the streak if you don’t even have the ball, and that was MU’s biggest problem in that 10 minutes.
Step one for Marquette was, at this point, merely slowing Ohio State down. Caroline Steller scored to snap the run, and let’s count it as an accomplishment that the Bucks only added five more goals in the final 10 minutes of the game. Marquette scored the final two goals of the half, both in the final five minutes, and it was 12-7 at the break. Sure, it’s not much different than 7-2 in terms of margin, but at least you started scoring with them.
Madison Kane’s 10th goal of the year broke the ice on the second half just over a minute in, but three straight from Ohio State made it 15-8 with 23:12 to play. This run, short as it is, was most likely the backbreaker for the Golden Eagles. Steller kicked off a 5-0 run at the 20:25 mark, and by the time she scored her fifth goal of the game with 13:44 to play, the Golden Eagles were within two, 15-13.
That’s a very small margin with an awful lot of time left to go, so we had ourselves a game again.
Steller (of course she did) won the ensuing draw, but that possession ended on a turnover. Sophia Leva made a save, and MU went the other way. Save by OSU’s Jill Rizzo on a Steller free position shot, but MU maintained possession, only for Rizzo to make another save.
The Golden Eagles forced a turnover. It turned into another saved shot by Rizzo. Leva stonewalled Liza Hernandez on an FPS.... but Marquette couldn’t convert the clearance. 64 seconds later, boom, Maura McGregor, 16-13. 6:34 left to go. More than seven minutes disappeared on Marquette, and they couldn’t get it closer than two.
Shea Garcia would score 44 seconds later to get the margin back to two goals. Rizzo made a save. Marquette induced a shot clock violation, and then got Nicole Ferrara to commit a penalty. Two minutes of woman up action..... and Rizzo made another save. Time just kept ticking away, and Marquette never got another shot on goal.
Steller was joined in hat trick territory by Lydia Foust, who now has a hat trick in MU’s last three games and five of the last six. Steller’s five goal day was enough to top the chart in points for the team. Foust also led the team in ground balls with 4, so she’s having a hell of a year. MU had 11 caused turnovers in the game, led by three from Erin Dowdle.
Jules Horning and Sophia Leva split the goaltending duties almost right down the middle, as Horning came back for the final 50 seconds of the game. Leva made more saves (7 to 5), and allowed fewer goals (4 to 12), but there’s questions about how much changes in what the team was doing at halftime helped Leva out there. Jill Rizzo made 17 saves to preserve the game for her team, which ties the team record for saves against Marquette. MU doesn’t track individual opponent stats, nor would I expect them to because that is bonkers, so I’m not sure if that’s an individual record or not. The point is, though, that it took one of the best defensive efforts against the Golden Eagles to hand MU the loss on this day.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: It’s another Wednesday/Saturday week for the Golden Eagles, but they have to split this one road and home. On Wednesday afternoon, Marquette will be in Michigan to square off with Detroit Mercy. The Titans are 1-5 on the year after picking up their first win of the season against Winthrop on Thursday. They lost 24-6 to Arizona State and 19-4 to Butler already this year. They’ll visit Gardner-Webb on Sunday afternoon before returning home to get ready for Marquette.