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Marquette Women’s Lacrosse Previews: at Georgetown

The Golden Eagles head to the nation’s capital for a pair of games.

Xavier v Georgetown Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

I believe the word you’re looking for to describe this weekend’s Marquette women’s lacrosse games is “pivotal.”

The Golden Eagles come into Friday and Sunday games on the road with a record of 1-3 in the Big East. They’re currently tied for fourth place in the league with Villanova, the team that they split a pair of matches with last time they were in action. This weekend, they play two against the team in third place. Next weekend, it’s two against the team in first place at 4-0 and 6-1 overall and ranked #22 in the IWLCA poll. That sounds like a tough go of things, even with the games coming at home.

So, if you look at the schedule and say “getting one win next weekend would be an amazing result,” then you have to look at this weekend and say “getting a 1-1 split is almost a requirement if Marquette wants to be a top four team and get into the Big East tournament.” If that’s the case, then to a certain extent, MU’s postseason hopes hinge on how this weekend in Washington, D.C., goes.

Like I said, pivotal.

Of course, it’s times like these when Marquette probably wishes they had their 14-13 loss to Connecticut going the other way in the ol’ conference standings. But that’s in the past. All the Golden Eagles can do is focus on the tasks in front of them, and try to turn those into victories to improve their spot in the standings.

Big East Game #5: at Georgetown Hoyas (3-6, 2-2 Big East)

Date: Friday, April 9, 2021
Time: 2pm Central
Location: Cooper Field, Washington, D.C.
Streaming: GUHoyas.com, but it looks like it’ll be subscription only.
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

Big East Game #6: at Georgetown Hoyas (3-6, 2-2 Big East)

Date: Sunday, April 11, 2021
Time: 11am Central
Location: Cooper Field, Washington, D.C.
Streaming: GUHoyas.com, but it looks like it’ll be subscription only.
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

Marquette is 1-7 all time against Georgetown. That sounds bad, sure. However, the win came in 2019 in the most recent regular season meeting between the two teams. That victory at Valley Field by the Golden Eagles was the program’s first ever win over a ranked team, as the Hoyas were #24 in the IWLCA poll at the time. The Hoyas got revenge for that one a week later in the Big East tournament semifinals.

I feel like this season has not gone the way that the Hoyas have wanted it to go, at least a little bit. First of all, there’s the issue of Georgetown being picked to finish second in the Big East this season but they’re sitting under .500 on the year right now. However, there’s a certain amount of explanation to that, as they lost a tight one to #14 Loyola, 9-6, and then couldn’t bounce back from an early hole against #12 Towson. Losing to ranked teams isn’t all bad, but taking weird losses like, say, opening the year going down 21-9 to Drexel, makes those closer losses against ranked teams harder to take.

After starting out Big East play with two wins over Villanova, Georgetown comes into Friday on a three game losing streak, all against ranked foes. #25 Denver beat the Hoyas 15-11 and 15-5 in a pair of contests out in Colorado at the end of March, and then back on Tuesday, #3 Syracuse came to D.C. and gave Georgetown a 15-10 defeat. That score is not indicative of how this game went as the Orange led 10-0 with 12 minutes left in the first half and 15-3 with 15 minutes left in the game.

So, y’know, a lot of explainable losses because there’s a lot of ranked teams on the schedule. They’re still losses, though, and maybe the Hoyas aren’t as good as “picked to finish second in the league” indicated originally. Lacrosse Reference has Georgetown ranked #67 in Offensive Efficiency and #76 in Defensive Efficiency right now, and that’s how out of 110 teams in Division 1. In fact, Lacrosse Reference has Marquette and Georgetown just about even in their ELO overall rankings with the Golden Eagles at #45 and the Hoyas at #46.

Marquette’s path to victory is going to be a little complicated, because the Hoyas don’t really have one player that they’re leaning on to carry the offense. Three players have accumulated at least 20 points so far this season, and with nine games played, we can say that four women are averaging at least two points per game. Kylie Hazen tops the chart at 25 points, and she’s doing that by leading the team with 10 assists on the year. Hazen is in a three-way tie for the second most goals on the team with 15, and it’s Michaela Bruno that leads the Hoyas in that department with 19. Bruno is also leading the team in shots at 53, so if you want to call someone their go-to attacker, it would be her. Still, with so many women contributing, Marquette can’t devote too much attention to Bruno because the rest of the Hoya offense can carry the day around her.

The smartest thing Marquette can do in the game might be avoiding fouls. Georgetown has scored 22 of their 47 goals on the season from free position swings. That’s awfully close to half. Now, because the Hoyas have played so many ranked teams, this may just be a product of ranked team defenses locking Georgetown up and the Hoyas cashing in their best opportunities to score. Still, that’s a pretty heavy tilt in one direction. For example, Marquette only has 20 FPS goals out of their 53 on the year, which is only 38%.

Sophomore Emily Gaven has played all but five minutes in net for Georgetown this season. As you’d expect, with 119 goals surrendered in nine games, her stats do not look great as a result. 13.14 goals per 60 minutes is maybe okay if Georgetown is willing to play a more up-tempo type of game, I suppose. However, Gaven’s .378 save percentage is a real problem for the Hoyas. Again: Lots of ranked teams means lots of great attackers flinging the ball at her, and that does add a level of difficulty to making stops. We’ll see if Marquette’s offense can generate quality angles at the net and slip shots past Gaven as a result.