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Marquette Women’s Lacrosse Rally Falls Short Against #21 Connecticut

The Golden Eagles start out Big East play 0-1 after a bad first half against the Huskies.

Mary Schumar
It’s too bad that I have to use a picture of Mary Schumar from last season, because the gold unis Marquette debuted on Saturday were AWESOME.
Marquette University

It almost feels like we saw two different Marquette women’s lacrosse teams on Saturday in their 18-15 loss to #21 Connecticut.

There’s Team A, the one that fell behind 6-0 in the first nine minutes of action while getting outshot 10-2 and forcing starting netminder Amanda Rumsey to make four saves just to keep the game that close. After breaking the run at the 2:17 mark of the first quarter, Team A then gave up another five consecutive goals to UConn to start the second quarter and fall behind 11-1 with 4:10 to go before halftime.

Team A wrapped up the first half trailing 12-2. Team A got outshot 19-9. Team A didn’t make a single save in the second quarter after Team A’s head coach replaced Rumsey with freshman Brynna Nixon after the opening nine minutes didn’t go Marquette’s way. Not “didn’t go Rumsey’s way,” because she was doing her best out there.

Team B.... Team B outscored UConn 13-6 in the final 30 minutes of the game. Team B scored five straight goals in the first 11 minutes coming out of the locker room, and then turned that into a 9-2 run stretching to the 11 minute mark of the fourth quarter. Team B outshot UConn 25-12 in the second half overall and 16-7 in shots on goal. Team B induced 11 turnovers from the Huskies and out-ground balled them 10-4 in the second half.

Unfortunately, Team B was forced to start the second half with Team A’s deficit. When Shea Garcia scored with a one woman advantage to cap that 9-2 run, the score stood at 14-11 with 11:49 to play. That’s a lot of time to play.... but only if you keep pouring it on to keep charging. Marquette did not manage that here, as this is where UConn scored three of their six goals in the second half. They came mixed in around a Kyra LaMotte strike, and when Kate Shaffer scored on a power play chance with 3:57 to play, she put UConn up 17-12.

In retrospect, that is where the game ended, although there’s a strong argument for “when MU fell behind 11-1.” Credit where credit is due: Marquette didn’t play like they were done with just under four minutes to play. LaMotte scored off a dish from Mary Schumar, one of SIX helpers on the day for the junior, just 27 seconds after Shaffer’s goal. A UConn penalty gave Emma Soccodato a shot to pull MU back within three, and less than 30 seconds later, Soccodato sent home a LaMotte pass to make it 17-15 with just under 90 seconds left.

There was, because this is lacrosse, a way for Marquette to win it here. They needed to win the next draw, and they needed to score immediately, and then win the next draw to get a chance to tie the game and force overtime. All of this in 86 seconds is not impossible, especially with UConn desperately afraid of what’s happening to them, and wildly afraid of committing a foul to give Marquette a free position shot to get either of the goals they need.

But UConn’s Lia LaPrise won the draw, her only DC of the game, and thus perhaps an even more important play than any of her three goals on the day. Marquette was stuck trying to play as hard as possible to force a turnover, and that turned into an Ellie Henry yellow card, which these things often do when a team needs the ball back late. Marquette couldn’t do a dang thing while down a player, Sydney Watson tacked on a goal, and that was that.

Schumar’s six assists drove her to a game high seven points to lead the Golden Eagles, while Garcia’s four goals topped the charts there. Defender Audrey Brett led Marquette with five ground balls, and Soccodato added a team high seven draw controls to her hat trick and three ground balls for a very great all-around game.

When she was on the field, Amanda Rumsey was pretty good for Marquette. Her field players failed her in the first nine minutes of the game, subjecting her to 10 shots. She ended up making just five saves in the game, as the Marquette field players only needed her to make one in the second half during their comeback. That’s the wildest part about it to me: Marquette won the second half 13-6, and heck, you could say 13-5 if you wanted since Watson’s last goal was a garbage time goal to a certain extent. Marquette was rolling, and not because they needed Rumsey to build a wall in the back end.

It almost makes you wonder what would have happened if head coach Meredith Black had let her go for the full 60. I’m not going to pin this loss on a freshman netminder, but the fact of the matter is that Brynna Nixon did not make a single save in her 21 minutes of action in the first half. Rumsey made four in nine minutes before the change was made. What about that 12-2 first half changes if Black lets Rumsey ride it out because her goalkeeping was absolutely not the problem for the first nine minutes?

Up Next: Marquette’s next four games are all at home. They will try to even their Big East record at 1-1 next Saturday when Villanova comes to town. First draw in the Valley is set for Noon Central, and the MU YouTube channel will have the live stream. The Wildcats are 4-8 on the year after dropping their Big East opener to Georgetown at home on Saturday by a score of 13-11.