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2022 Marquette Women’s Lacrosse Season Preview: The Newcomers

We have to say “newcomers” because head coach Meredith Black has two grad transfers on her roster this spring.

Meredith Black
What does head coach Meredith Black have in her group of newcomers this seaosn?
Marquette University

We’re getting closer and closer to the start of the Marquette women’s lacrosse season! We’ve already talked about all of the women returning from the 2021 campaign, and now we’re going to discuss the 10 new players on head coach Meredith Black’s roster. There’s two graduate transfers and eight freshman, so I think we’ll do the same thing that we did with the returning players: Start with the attackers and move our way backwards on the field.

ATTACK

The conversation about new players on the roster begins with Kyra LaMotte. If she’s not the biggest impact newcomer when the season is over, then there is a freshman who is making a run at all-conference honors. The 5’11” Illinois native spent the last four seasons at Furman where she ended up with 108 goals in 55 career games. Now, yes, that doesn’t necessarily sound that great, I get that. But after an eight goal freshman season, she put up 28 markers as a sophomore in 19 games mostly coming off the bench and then 12 goals in a seven game COVID-shortened 2020 campaign. If you’ve done some quick math in your head, then you’ve realized that LaMotte went for 60 goals last season for the Paladins. AND she did this on just 116 shots AND with only 16 free position goals. For those of you playing along at home, Marquette’s record for goals in a season is 59, set by Grace Gabriel in 2019. LaMotte’s goals only (she had five assists last season) would be one of the five best point scoring seasons in MU history. Take into account the fact that MU lost their top two scorers and four of the six who had at least 20 points last season to the end of eligibility, and you can see how LaMotte could drop right in and just start stacking goals like there’s no tomorrow.

The Golden Eagles also add three freshmen to the attack corps. Meg Bireley, who is actually listed as attack/midfield on the official roster, might be most notable of the group. The 5’8” Illinois native put up 208 goals and 90 assists in her prep career while earning all-state honors twice along the way. Her high school team finished as the runner up in the state tournament this past spring and they came in third back in 2019 as well, so Bireley has experience playing for high quality teams with high expectations. If she’s looking for a way to play right away, it might come from draw controls. Bireley had 363 as a high school player, and if she’s got a knack for winning draws, it would benefit Marquette to take advantage. Campbell Brown (5’4”, Annandale, VA) had 120 goals and 87 assists while playing for her high school team as they won a state title her freshman year and both district and regional titles as a sophomore and a senior. It’s worth noting that the missing year in there would be the season dumped out by COVID, so no knock on her squad for missing out there. Brown also qualified for the state track meet in Virginia for her school’s 4x800 meter relay team, so she’s a pretty talented runner in addition to being adept with a stick in her hands. Elise Smigiel (6’0”, Flourtown, PA) rounds out the newcomers up front. As a four year starter, she put up 100 goals in her career. That’s obviously not as impressive sounding as her compatriots, but we do have to note that the Golden Eagles list her as attack/midfield just like Birelely. Seems possible the lack of flowery numbers might just be a question of the role she was playing every year. Smigiel also lettered for three years on the swim team at Germantown Academy, so she’s got more than just lacrosse talents working for her.

MIDFIELD

As mentioned a second ago, Marquette does have two freshmen that I covered under the Attack banner that might be midfielders as the season goes along, depending on how the coaching staff wants to deploy them. Keep that in mind as we go along here.

As far as pure midfielders go as labeled on the official roster, the Golden Eagles have three new ones this season. This is where we start to get into questions of who put together the official bios listed by Marquette, as only one of the women have any scoring stats from their high school days listed. That’s Lily Dietrich (5’3”, Kennett Square, PA), and she recorded 44 goals as a senior alone and 100 assists in her career. Her Unionville High team won a state title in 2018 and a district title in 2021, so it’s clear that she knows what it takes to win in big spots.

The other two are merely talented athletes who might excel a little bit more on the defensive end. That’s the conclusion that you draw when there’s no fancy scoring numbers, right? Hannah Bodner (5’5”, Haverford, PA)_lettered for four years in lacrosse and field hockey and track & field at Academy of Notre Dame de Namur, so it’s clear that she’s got a diversity of athletic accomplishments. Her HS team won a state title in 2019 and earned a #19 national ranking during Bodner’s senior year, which seems pretty good. Lorelai Vanguilder (5’9”, St. Paul, MN) matches Bodner in the four letters in three sports department, but she went with hockey and tennis for her other two. Hill-Murray High School won a sectional title in 2021 with Vanguilder serving as team captain, so she’s experienced in the leadership department, too.

DEFENSE

It looks like Marquette’s most impressive freshman is their lone new defender. 5’3” Jasmine Murray played her prep lacrosse in Syracuse, NY, where she lettered three times. She was a USA Lacrosse All-American in 2021 and led her team in ground balls, draw controls, and caused turnovers. No one else amongst the nine freshmen has a mention of high school all-American status, so that’s worth noting.... especially since Marquette might need a fourth defensive starter to play alongside Ellie Henry, Kate Pearson, and Audrey Brett.

GOALKEEPER

You’ve been waiting for that other transfer, and you’ve probably figured out that she’s coming in here. Amanda Rumsey (5’5”, Millersville, MD) is a Golden Eagle now after playing for four years at Butler. If you’ve been paying close attention over the past four years, then you’ve probably noticed that the Bulldogs have not been particularly great at lacrosse as they’ve been spooling their program up from the year before Rumsey started in Indianapolis. As such, Rumsey’s career stats do not look so great. She’s got a goals-against average of 16.48 and a save percentage of .390 in 50 career games.

It’s not as immediately inspiring as the number that Kyra LaMotte put up at Furman, that’s for sure. But Meredith Black has gotten a good look at Rumsey over the past four seasons (well, three of the four, MU didn’t play league games in 2020), and if she brought Rumsey in as a grad transfer to a situation where MU has no obviously reliable option at goalie coming back from last year, then you have to presume that the coaches like something about how Rumsey plays.

Brynna Nixon joins Rumsey in the new goalie department. The 5’10” Washington State native was a two-time all-state performer in her time at Fife High School and set a school record for career save percentage at 60.5%. Look, high school is one thing and Division 1 is another, but if Nixon’s vision and reflexes are at all capable of approaching that at Marquette, she needs to play every minute until she graduates. If she gets on the field for the Golden Eagles, she could add an athletic angle to MU’s goalkeeping. Nixon played basketball for three years at Fife as well as one year of softball..... and two of football..... and is the first woman to throw a touchdown in Washington history.