No other way around it: Marquette women’s lacrosse needs a win.
First of all, they’re 4-5 on the year, and being .500 on the season sounds like a lot more fun than being two games under .500. Second, Marquette is juuuuuuust about out of non-conference contests to get themselves figured out. They’ll play this one that we’re previewing on Sunday, come back to Milwaukee for another one next week Sunday, and that’s it before Big East play starts. Sure, there’s technically one more non-con game to go after that, but not before their trip to UConn.
Third, there’s Tuesday evening’s loss to San Diego State to consider. That’s a rough one. Both teams shut down the other team’s top scorer, for at least the first three quarters, and that resulted in the Aztecs taking a 15-10 lead into the fourth period. That’s not great, especially when SDSU had been much more dependent on their top scorer than MU has been on Shea Garcia.
To wit: Three women have at least 30 points on the year for the Golden Eagles, with Mary Schumar and Kyra LaMotte both clearing that hurdle along with Garcia. Even with Leigh Steiner and Hannah Greving out presumably for the year (Greving was literally in a wheelchair while at the zoo on this West Coast trip according to the team’s Instagram), the Golden Eagles have scoring options. Seven different women are averaging at least a goal per game. Sure, two of them are freshman Meg Bireley and Elise Smigiel, but you take your wins where you can get them.
The point of the story is that SDSU shouldn’t have been able to snuff out MU’s offense while finding their own without their top scorer doing a thing for them..... and yet that did happen. Marquette has to find a way to bounce back from that and get back in the winning column. No better opportunity than against a team on a six game losing streak, that’s what I always say......
Game #10: at Oregon Ducks (1-6, 0-2 Pac-12)
Marquette is 1-0 against Oregon. The only previous meeting between the two teams came last season as the Ducks found themselves in the Midwest without a game when Notre Dame had to bow out for COVID reasons, and the Golden Eagles got a 16-4 win at home.
On one hand, Oregon has lost six straight games after beating George Mason at home, 14-11, in their season opener. On the other hand, on Friday evening, Oregon wasn’t that far off from beating #25 Colorado at home, ending up with a 13-11 loss after the Ducks cut the margin to just two goals with 5:29 to play in the fourth quarter.
Of course, that game came just five days after the Ducks lost by 16, 21-5, on the road to #17 USC, so there’s that.
But seriously, most of Oregon’s losses have been close. Three goals on the road against Mercer. One goal on the road against Kennesaw State. Three goals at home against the San Diego State team that just beat Marquette earlier this week. Just two goals on the road against Arizona State. The Ducks have been rightthere an awful lot this season, and they’ve just come out on the wrong end of the stick over and over again.
Oregon has two women averaging at least two goals per game this season, and both are averaging three points an outing. Hanna Hilcoff is the top scorer at 18 goals per game, and she gets to a tie for the team high in points with three assists on top. Lillian Stump is the other 21 point scorer, and she’s getting there with 14 goals and a team high seven assists. Stump is getting by on either incredibly accuracy or a little bit of luck, as she has only attempted 24 shots this year and is thus shooting over 58%. Shonly Wallace is #2 on the team in shots behind Hilcoff, and her 10 goals and five assists rank third on the squad in terms of points.
Cassidy Eckert has started all seven games for the Ducks in net, so we can expect to see her on Sunday. She has been pulled twice, though, and both times after just 15 minutes. One was after giving up four goals to Kennesaw State, and the other was after allowing 10 markers to USC. Not entirely sure what’s up with the Kennesaw one, other than KSU had only five shots in the first quarter and four went in. Seems a little quick on the trigger by head coach Chelsea Hoffman, who is in her fourth season in Eugene, but I’m not the one getting paid the big bucks. Anyway, Eckert is allowing nearly 15 goals per 60 minutes so far this season, and she’s only stopping 41% of shots on goal. Paige Crowther has stopped just 32% of shots in her 90 minutes of action, so it certainly seems like the Ducks have to ride with Eckert even though it’s not a great option for them.