Marquette women’s lacrosse did their part over the weekend. The Golden Eagles went out to Indianapolis and came back with two wins over Butler: 18-5 on Friday and 16-10 on Sunday.
But Marquette knew going into the weekend that wouldn’t be enough to get them into the Big East tournament. They needed help. They got help from league leader Denver, who swept Villanova and thus allowed Marquette to move into a tie for fourth place with the Wildcats at 4-6 in conference action this season. With the Golden Eagles and Wildcats splitting their head-to-head meetings this season, that meant things had to drift down the tiebreakers list, and so Marquette’s fate was in fact decided by UConn and Georgetown over the weekend. Marquette needed the Hoyas to at least take one game from the Huskies to have a chance by way of goal differential, but UConn won twice, 15-14 in overtime and 16-12.
And so Marquette’s season is over.
There’s not much to say about Friday’s lacrosse game against Butler. It looked pretty much exactly like Marquette’s first three games in series history against the Bulldogs: All Marquette, all the time. The Golden Eagles scored the first six goals of the match, including a short-handed strike by Caroline Steller, and that led to Marquette taking a 10-1 lead and holding an 11-2 advantage at halftime. Lydia Foust scored less than 30 seconds into the second half to give Marquette a 10 goal lead and activate the running clock for the rest of the game.
As head coach Meredith Black emptied her bench as the game went on, Butler tacked on some goals late to turn this game into Marquette’s worst defensive effort against the Bulldogs in four all-time games against them. Karina Latsko’s goal with less than 5:27 to play gave Butler four goals on the day, surpassing their previous high against Marquette, and Latsko would tack another one on for a hat trick for herself and push the goals allowed by MU mark to five.
In a way, this was an omen for Sunday.
Sunday’s game at Varsity Field started pretty much like Friday’s. Marquette scored the first five goals of the game, including extra-woman markers from both Lindsey Hill and Megan Menzuber as well as an own goal when Butler made a back pass to goalie Amanda Rumsey and just missed her wide, which allowed the ball to bounce and roll calmly into the net for that 5-0 advantage.
And then Marquette’s offense went on the fritz for the rest of the half.
Over the final 19 minutes of the half, Butler outscored Marquette 7-2. The Golden Eagles got the final goal of the opening period from Shea Garcia to pull themselves back even with Butler at seven goals each at halftime. Remember when I said that five goals in 60 minutes was Marquette’s worst defensive effort against Butler?
Menzuber and Caroline Steller scored the first two goals of the second half to give the Golden Eagles a 9-7 lead and a lead that, as it turns out, they would not give up again. It didn’t look like that was going to be the case as Ella Squibb took the ensuing draw off Steller’s woman-up goal with 23:51 to play and immediately ran in and scored to make it 9-8.
But Marquette’s patience and defense won out, as Lydia Foust and Garcia both scored while Marquette held the Bulldogs without a goal for over 12 minutes. 11-8 Golden Eagles with after Garcia’s goal at the 20:34 mark, and it stayed that way til there was less than 12 minutes left. A bit of a turning point in the game, as time was on MU’s side now.
With that said, Butler also wasn’t going away. Kaley Attaway cashed in on Jocelyn Miller’s second yellow card of the day to make it 11-9, and after Hill scored, BU’s Layla Tattersfield made it a 12-10 ballgame with just barely over 10 minutes to play. Marquette had taken time off the clock, but they hadn’t put the game away.
Leigh Steiner may have done just that with her goal with 5:30 to play, though, and Butler started pressing harder than they should have. The Bulldogs racked up three yellow cards in swift succession with less than four minutes left, and that led to three straight EWO goals for the Golden Eagles. Hill scored two of them to give her a game high four goals and give MU a 16-10 advantage that they would hold to the final horn.
Since the season is over, we have to turn our attention to Marquette’s seniors, as their collegiate careers are now over. The Golden Eagles had 15 seniors this season, broken up into two categories:
- The Super Seniors, or those who elected to take advantage of the NCAA granting them an extra season of eligibility after last year was cut short and returned, even though 2020 was their fourth year of collegiate lacrosse: Bridget Danko, Erin Dowdle, Jules Horning, and Megan Menzuber.
- The Traditional Seniors, all of whom finished their four years of eligibility this year and are not expected to take advantage of that extra year: Emily Cooper, Mary Dooley, Claire Hamilton, Lindsey Hill, Madison Kane, Sophia Leva, Jocelyn Miller, Caroline Peterson, Nia Polk, Caroline Steller, and Brynn Sunderland.
While 2020 was brought to an end before anyone wanted to stop and 2021 didn’t wrap up with a good news bow on it, we can still say that this group of seniors has been a part of the most successful run in Marquette women’s lacrosse history. These 15 women were a part of Marquette beating a ranked team for the first time ever. They were on the field when Marquette played in the Big East tournament for the first and second time in program history. They were a part of Marquette recording the first ever winning season in program history back in 2018 and they’re the ones worked hard every day to see the Golden Eagles record three straight .500 or better seasons.
Given the timing of it all, these women were open to being recruited by head coach Meredith Black back when the program barely existed. To a certain extent, they took a chance on what Black was growing in the first few years of lacrosse at Marquette, and they came in and made it even better. It was always going to be a slow build, but the senior class of 2021 fought and reached and gave what they could to make this team and this program better than it was when they arrived. You can’t ask for more than that, and we send them all a big Anonymous Eagle THANK YOU for everything they have done and we wish them nothing but the best in whatever comes next for them.