Wow, this one changed in a hurry.
Two goals each from Meg Bireley, Lydia Foust, and Shea Garcia powered a 9-1 run that ran from the second quarter all the way into the fourth as YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles snagged a 19-13 win over Central Michigan on Sunday afternoon. The win moves the Golden Eagles to 5-6 on the year heading into Big East play.
It was a wild first quarter of lacrosse at Valley Fields. After CMU went up 2-0 in the first three minutes, Marquette answered back with five straight in the next six minutes to stake themselves to a three goal lead. The Chippewas answered that, though, and they held MU to just one more goal the rest of the way in the period and it was six goals apiece after 15 minutes was gone.
The second quarter started off much like the first with Central Michigan taking a 2-0 lead in the period and thus an 8-6 lead overall. That was particularly not great for Marquette, as head coach Meredith Black made the move to pull starting netminder Amanda Rumsey at the quarter break. Rumsey did not make a single save in the first quarter on eight total shots faced. Freshman Brynna Nixon relieved her, and the Chippewas scored on their first two shots of the quarter. Not ideal, especially after the change!
But Ellie Henry forced a turnover on the ensuing possession after the Chippewas won the draw, and that’s when things finally flipped in Marquette’s direction. Kyra LaMotte drew a free position attempt and jumpstarted that 9-1 run for MU. Nixon would go on to make four saves in the period to reward her coach’s faith in her and got a lucky break off the post on another CMU shot as well. Audrey Whiteside did scratch one past Nixon right before the horn sounded for halftime, so it was 10-9 Marquette at the break.
That Whiteside goal was the 1 in the 9-1 run, and Marquette picked up where they left off at the 9:06 mark of the third quarter with a goal from Foust, her second in the run. That started off a 5-0 quarter for the Golden Eagles as they blanked the Chippewas for the full 15 minutes. It wasn’t without trepidation as Nixon still had to make a save to keep things clean, but the Golden Eagles kept the action on their end, outshooting CMU 14-3 while forcing seven turnovers and two failed clearances. Bireley scored her second of the streak with 2:44 left to go in the quarter while the Golden Eagles were a woman up, and thus it was 15-9 MU heading to the fourth quarter.
The defense held for more than two minutes into the fourth before CMU broke things up with a goal from Kendall Hoyt. But at this point, all Marquette had to do was go back and forth with them. Elise Smigiel scored one of her two goals in the game to answer just 21 seconds later to make it 16-10 with 12:37 to play, and slowly the clock started favoring MU more and more. Two goals in the middle of the quarter from Central Michigan made it 16-12, but a marker from Samantha Galvin 34 seconds after the second one kept Marquette five goals ahead. A turnover forced by Audrey Brett snuffed out a CMU possession, and a save by Nixon ended another. Marquette chewed clock on their end for a while, and even though Maggie Diebold tossed one in for the Chippewas, it was still a four goal game with just over three minutes to go. MU won the ensuing faceoff, burned some clock, and threw in a goal, this time from Mary Schumar. That’s your ball game, and LaMotte got a last second FPS with CMU burning off a needless yellow card for the final margin.
“I’m really proud of our team today, I thought we fought really hard. It was a true team win,” said Marquette head coach Meredith Black. “Every single player from the bench to the field had an impact on the game, and we need that. We don’t have enough superstars to beat teams because one or two players have six goals, we need every player to contribute and do their job, and that’s what happened today.”
Although that is a very funny quote on a day when Lydia Foust finished with a game high five goals. She had an assist as well to give her the lead in points with six, while Schumar also had a hat trick on the day. Audrey Brett had a great day on defense, grabbing up a team high four ground balls and causing a turnover while also snaring a draw control along the way. Ellie Henry led MU’s defensive charge with four caused turnovers, although MU got three each from Foust, Emma Soccodato, and Jasmine Murray. Mary Blee nearly beat CMU on draw controls all by herself as she had 11 of MU’s 23 wins there against just 12 for the Chippewas.
Nixon finished up with six saves in the game after standing tall with four in the second quarter after her rough start. We have to ask the question what this means for the future of MU’s netminding, particularly as Nixon is already the likely starter heading into next season since Rumsey is a grad transfer.
Up Next: Marquette heads into Big East play from here, although there is still one more non-conference game yet to come. Before that, though, Marquette will visit Connecticut next Saturday to kick off league action. First draw is set for 11am Central time, and FloSports will have the streaming broadcast. The Huskies are 8-1 on the year and riding a seven game winning streak at the moment. They will host Columbia on Wednesday, fresh off moving up to #21 in the Inside Lacrosse/IWLCA poll on Monday morning, before MU comes to town this weekend.