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Marquette Women’s Lacrosse Preview: vs Connecticut

The Golden Eagles begin Big East play in a very interesting format.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 12 Wichita State at UConn Photo by Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We have moved into the Big East portion of the Marquette women’s lacrosse schedule, and with that comes a bit of a twist as to how the season is going to go from here on out.

For the most part, Marquette has been playing one game at a time, or one game a week this season. That now changes for the rest of the regular season. For Big East play, Marquette will either stay at home or travel each weekend and will play one singular opponent at whatever location twice in the same weekend. This weekend, it’s two games against Connecticut at home on Friday and Sunday. Next weekend, it’s two games against Villanova on the road on Friday and Sunday. You get the idea.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this goes. Marquette is going into the start of Big East play with a 3-3 record, but they have won three of their last four games. Sure, the loss was in the most recent game, but it was also a pretty closely contested game against a ranked team after three straight definitive victories. I choose to read this as “head coach Meredith Black has figured out her team for the year and things are going in a good direction for the rest of the year.” We’ll see if that holds up, but I feel good about how things are going.

In the six team Big East, the top four squads will advance to the conference tournament in early May. Usually, this means whichever teams do the best in a five game schedule. Now, this year, there are twice as many games to define who are and are not the top four teams. There are twice as many opportunities to grab wins and get into that top five. But, along with those twice as many opportunities comes along with the requirement of playing the same team a second time just two days after you played them the first time. Who is that going to benefit? The home team? The team that wins the first game? Is this going to lead to a lot of splits?

It might be a lot of fun, it might be a lot of craziness. We have no idea what could happen, and that air of mystery is fun. Let’s roll the nets out and see what happens.

Big East Game #1: vs Connecticut Huskies (4-2)

Date: Friday, March 19, 2021
Time: 4pm Central
Location: Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble, Valley Fields, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: GoMarquette.com
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

Big East Game #2: vs Connecticut Huskies (4-2)

Date: Sunday, March 21, 2021
Time: Noon Central
Location: Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble, Valley Fields, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: GoMarquette.com
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

Marquette is 1-5 all time against Connecticut. The Huskies won the first five meetings in the series between 2013 and 2017, but the Golden Eagles won the last meeting, 15-14, at Valley Fields back in 2018. That win happened to clinch Marquette’s first ever Big East tournament appearance.

The Huskies come into this game coming off their second loss of the season. However, that’s not all bad news for them. First of all, the loss was in overtime, and NCAA lacrosse plays a sudden victory overtime. Things happen when you have to be the first team to score to win. Second of all, the game winner from UMass came with two seconds left in the overtime session. They caught a bad break before nearly forcing double overtime. That stinks. Third of all, UMass was ranked #22 in the country in the IWLCA poll the week before....... when UConn beat them 12-11 ....... in overtime.

Yeah! That’s a lot!

Marquette’s biggest chore in these games is going to be defending Sydney Watson. The senior from Maryland has 23 goals in UConn’s six games this year. Yeah, 3.8 goals per game is pretty good. Watson’s two assists give her 25 points on the year, which is only two more than Lia LaPrise. The junior attacker has 10 goals and 13 assists so far this season, and yes, she leads the team in that second group. Kate Shaffer has tallied 15 goals this season to rank second on the team behind Watson, and she has two assists as well.

Landyn White has started every game so far for UConn this season, and she’s played every minute of the last three games. She allows 10.71 goals per 60 minutes and stops 48% of shots on goal. She’s getting close to averaging nine saves per game, and during the last three games, that’s up to 11.7 per contest.