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Marquette Women’s Lacrosse Preview: vs Oregon & at Kent State

It’s a surprise game not quite outta nowhere on Friday before a previously scheduled trip out to northeast Ohio.

UC Irvine v Oregon Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

This was always going to be a weird season for Marquette women’s lacrosse, just like it was always going to be a weird season for every college sports team in 2020-21. I don’t want to get too far over my skis when I talk about this, so keep that in mind as I say this.

Marquette women’s lacrosse is running out of time to figure themselves out.

The Golden Eagles are 0-2 on the year with a pair of one goal losses. At face value, not the biggest problem in the world, things happen. However, MU had a 19-17 lead with four minutes left in the first game, and they were tied 8-all with 21 minutes to go in the other.

That’s not ideal.

We’re previewing two more non-conference games here, and then next weekend features two more. That’s it for the Golden Eagles this season, unless the “postponed” Notre Dame game comes back around, and then it’s just the 10 game Big East schedule after that. Oh, and one of next weekend’s non-con games? Against the Central Michigan squad that just beat Marquette after being tied at eight with 21 minutes left.

That’s not a lot of space to figure out what’s going on with the team before these things start counting for one of the four spots in the conference tournament.

But again, MU was on the verge of winning those games. Maybe there’s not that much to figure out. If Megan Menzuber doesn’t get tossed on two first half yellow cards against CMU, maybe that ends up going Marquette’s way. Maybe head coach Meredith Black has already isolated what she needs to and imparted that information to the team. Maybe we’re good to go from here. Maybe this coming weekend’s two opponents are exactly what the doctor ordered for the Golden Eagles.

Game #3: vs Oregon Ducks (0-2)

Date: Friday, February 26, 2021
Time: 7:30pm Central
Location: Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble, Valley Fields, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: GoMarquette.com
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

This is the first ever meeting between Marquette and Oregon.

We should explain why this game is happening, particularly since it popped up on short notice. Oregon was supposed to have a 6pm Central time start against Notre Dame on Friday. However, the same COVID pause that wiped out Marquette’s game against the Irish last weekend has taken out that game. Normally, Oregon would just throw up their hands and say “oh well,” but they were already scheduled to play at Central Michigan on Sunday as well. That meant that they had travel plans to be in the general midwestern area ahead of Friday night’s game in South Bend and they kind of had to stick to them because they were still going up to Mount Pleasant. May as well get in a game while you’re here, and seeing as Northwestern is at Johns Hopkins on Friday afternoon, the Ducks’ best option was Marquette. Ta-da!

As you can see from the record, things have not started out super great for Oregon this season. They couldn’t rally and lost by two, 11-9, on the road against San Diego State, and then let UC Davis open up an 11-4 halftime lead on the way to a 20-9 loss. That might not be a total surprise, though. The Ducks were 2-5 in 2020 when the season was brought to a halt, and 3-15 the last time they played a full season. On top of that, Oregon was picked to finish fifth in the six team Pac-12 this season, although that’s not as bad as it sounds. USC, Stanford, and Colorado are all preseason top 25 teams according to the IWLCA poll, so finishing fifth in the poll behind those three and Arizona State isn’t that much of a surprise.

With just two games in the books, it’s a little early to be saying anything super specific about Oregon’s offense. Still, Hanna Hilcoff has scored twice in each game to lead the Ducks in goals and points so far with four. There’s three women with three points, with two of them — Nakeeya McCardell and Lillian Stump — getting there on three goals. Both of them went for two against SDSU and just one against Davis.

Senior Alle Dunbar looks to be the goalie of choice for third year head coach Chelsea Hoffmann. Dunbar played the whole game against the Aztecs and was lifted with 18 minutes left against UC Davis. That sounds like she’ll be the starter again here, but I suppose it’s possible that Hoffman turns to Cassidy Eckert, the Canadian freshman who came on in relief last time out. Then again, she gave up three goals in her first seven minutes of action. Then again again, maybe that’s more a question about what the Ducks are doing defensively in front of their netminder.

Game #4: at Kent State Golden Flashes (0-1)

Date: Sunday, February 28, 2021
Time: 11am Central
Location: Dix Stadium, Kent, Ohio
Streaming: Boxcast.tv
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

This is the first ever meeting between Marquette and Kent State.

That’s not for lack of trying, though. Sunday’s game will literally be just the 25th game in Kent State women’s lacrosse history as they’ve only been a program since the 2019 season and the 2020 season was cut short after six games for the Golden Flashes. It will be just the 12th home game in Kent State history as well.

For those of you who remember the beginning of the Marquette program, it will not surprise you to find out that Kent State does not have many victories. Their season opening loss to Fresno State dropped them to 2-22 all time with the wins coming back in their inaugural season against Delaware State (21-6) and Howard (17-1). As you’d expect, there’s a lot of lopsided losses in there, and the kick off against the Bulldogs went 20-11 in the other direction. That one really fell apart in the second half, as it was only 9-4 at halftime. FSU scored the first seven goals of the second half and that was that.

With that said, Kent State is picked to finish third in the MAC this season. Marquette already got a look at MAC favorite Central Michigan this year, which is the first season that the conference is sponsoring the sport. Part of the reason they’re third is because Akron is a third year program just like the Golden Flashes and associate member Youngstown State is a fifth year program. I have no explanation as to why they’re picked ahead of Detroit, other than I remember that MU’s first ever win as a program was against Detroit, and that probably says a lot about where the Titans are as a program even today.

Every woman that recorded a point in 2020 is back for Kent State this season, so that kind of continuity is nice. It’s also not hard for that to happen since they only had two non-freshmen on the 2019 roster. Abby Jones was their scoring leader a year ago, putting up team highs in goals with 17 and assists with eight in just six games. Jones had four of KSU’s 11 goals against Fresno State and an assist as well, so clearly she’s right back to doing the same thing she did last year. Kenzie Sklar also recorded a hat trick against the Bulldogs after scoring just three goals in six games in 2020, so MU may need to watch out for her as well.

Madison Flannigan started the FSU game in net for Kent State, but was pulled after giving up 14 goals in 37 minutes. Taylor Monturo came on in relief, giving up six in 22, but the game was kind of well decided by that point. Head coach Brianne Tierney has to figure out what she has with her goalies after Grace Merrill, last year’s starter, did not return to the program for her junior campaign.