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Marquette Women’s Lacrosse Preview: vs Cincinnati & at #4 Northwestern

The Golden Eagles go home and away in three days time to start off the season.

Syndication: The Enquirer
An actual bearcat and the Bearcats mascot.
The Enquirer/Jeff Swinger via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Who’s ready for the 10th season of Marquette women’s lacrosse?

I presume that the answer is you, since you’re here.

Anyway, who knows what’s in store for the Golden Eagles this season? They’re replacing a large number of highly effective seniors from last year’s squad, and that kind of thing can always take a toll on a team before they figure out what goes where. The MU coaching staff does have a grad transfer, Kyra LaMotte, who tallied more goals at Furman last year than any Marquette player ever has in a season. It stands to reason that LaMotte will go a long ways towards answering a lot of offensive questions next to Shea Garcia and Lydia Foust, but we’ll have to wait to see how it all comes together.

Marquette’s defense seems to be pretty solid with three obvious choices to start coming back from last year’s 7-9 team that went 4-6 in Big East action. However, MU will be looking for a starting goalkeeper for the first time in several years. Graduate transfer Amanda Rumsey was a starter at Butler before coming to Milwaukee, which makes her the most experienced goalie on the roster. Her stats weren’t outstanding, though that may have something to do with the Bulldogs not being outstanding as a team. Can Rumsey take the job in between the pipes for the Golden Eagles, or will head coach Meredith Black have to turn to little used reserve Delaney Friel or freshman Brynna Nixon to make saves this season?

Game #1: vs Cincinnati Bearcats (0-0)

Date: Saturday, February 12, 2022
Time: Noon Central
Location: Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble, Valley Fields, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: Marquette Athletics on YouTube
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

Marquette is 6-3 all time against Cincinnati. The Bearcats have won two of the last three meetings, including a 20-19 contest in Ohio in the most recent encounter.

Cincinnati is coming off a 7-10 season a year ago that opened with that 20-19 nailbiter against Marquette. This year, they’re picked to finish fourth in the AAC, but that technically means they’re picked to finish third in the non-Florida division. They have three preseason all-AAC honorees in Dany Mlkvy, Peyton Mottice, and Kylie Nause. Mlkvy has been a regular starter since arriving on campus and the 5’6” junior defender’s 25 ground balls from a year ago are the best amongst any returning player on the roster. Mottice had 16 goals and seven assists last season while starting in 12 of UC’s 15 contests. Nause is the top returning scorer from last season after posting 31 goals and seven assists. Five of those 31 came against Marquette, including a power play goal with just over eight minutes left that pulled the Bearcats within one of the Golden Eagles.

It’s hard to get a read on what the Bearcats are going to do with their goaltending this season. Gianna Pope played in 13 games a year ago with four starts, while Kate Brocato played in 16 games with 13 starts out of Cincy’s 17 contests. As you can probably guess, Brocato ended up with the lion’s share of the minutes, but it was Pope who was playing the most minutes across the final five games of the season. Could be either one getting the start on Saturday in the Valley, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see them split the game right down the middle.

Game #2: at #4 Northwestern Wildcats (0-0)

Date: Monday, February 14, 2022
Time: 6pm Central
Location: Ryan Fieldhouse, Evanston, Illinois
Streaming: Nothing at the moment, which is unacceptable in 2022, especially inside a building that was completed four years ago.
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

Marquette is 0-6 all time against Northwestern. The two teams met for six straight seasons between 2014 and 2019, but have not played since the Wildcats won 24-4 in the most recent meeting.

Is this game probably going to be the rough equivalent of Paul Atreides sticking his hand into the pain box at the insistence of the Reverend Mother? Maybe! The Wildcats are coming off of a 15-1 season last spring where they went 11-0 in Big Ten play, won the Big Ten tournament, and then reached the NCAA semifinals before finally falling to end the season. It was Northwestern’s second straight Final Four after four straight years without getting that far in the NCAA tourney.

This year? They’re the unanimous favorite to win the seven team Big Ten again, and that probably shouldn’t be a surprise to you. The Big Ten is weird, though, so there isn’t a preseason all-conference team, merely a list of “players to watch.” This is actually helpful for our purposes here as it guarantees us three Wildcats to talk about.

Senior Madison Doucette logged over 900 minutes last season as Northwestern’s starting goalie. 41% of shots on goal met their end in her stick, and the Wildcats allowed just 11.06 goals per 60 minutes while she was manning the cage. Lauren Gilbert and Jill Girardi are both back for their COVID bonus seasons this year. Gilbert, a 5’6” attacker from Oregon, is NU’s top returning scorer from last year after logging 66 goals (which would be a Marquette single season record and was second to Izzy Scane’s 98, wrap your head around that) and nine assists. Girardi, a 5’3” midfielder from New York, isn’t a scoring threat, or at least she wasn’t last year. She has 32 career goals and 11 career assists after posting three and two last season. She did do a little bit of everything elsewhere with 14 ground balls in 16 games along with a team high 19 caused turnovers and the second most draw controls on the team with 69. Girardi isn’t the best returning draw taker, as Brennan Dwyer and her 89 from last year are back for the Wildcats as well.