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New Best Start Ever: Marquette 19, Cincinnati 13

I’m just going to keep that title going until Shea Garcia & Friends take a loss.

Marquette attacker Shea Garcia
Shea Garcia led Marquette in points against Cincinnati
Marquette University

For the first time this season, Marquette women’s lacrosse found themselves in a shoot out. There were at least six combined goals between both teams in every single quarter of MU’s Sunday afternoon contest against Cincinnati, and Marquette needed dang near every single one that they threw in. By the time the final horn went, Marquette had picked up the 19-13 victory over the Bearcats, extending their program record winning streak to start the season to three straight games.

It took the Golden Eagles a little bit to get going, and not just because Shea Garcia’s first goal of the game 1) was with 10:39 left in the first quarter or 2) halved Cincinnati’s 2-0 early lead. In the early going, Marquette found themselves relying on free position attempts to stay in stride with the Beatcats. All four Marquette strikes in the first quarter came by way of FPS, including this absolute rocket launch from Lydia Foust that put Marquette up 4-3 with 3:45 to go.

You can put that video clip in the dictionary next to the phrase “power development.” My word.

The Bearcats knotted the match up at four goals each with a free position goal of their own before the quarter was out, and another UC FPS made it 5-4 for the home team less than 30 seconds into the second period. That’s where Marquette got themselves together and started getting run of play goals. Goals from Emma Soccodato and Hannah Greving, both of the runnin’ around, doin’ the thing type of action, put Marquette out in front again. UC made use of special teams, scoring with the woman advantage to tie it at six, but two more goals, one from Leigh Steiner (off the free position, of course) and one from Shea Garcia to close out her hat trick gave Marquette a two goal lead.

The goals were not done coming, as both teams put one in on their respective ends while UC’s Lauren Ottensmeyer was sidelined with a yellow card. Yes, the Bearcats got one in while shorthanded, while Marquette made them pay with a power play goal from Meg Bireley with 2:16 left in the half.

That had Marquette up 9-7 at the break, and the Golden Eagles’ offense shook loose to start the third. Bireley fired in a goal on either side of a marker from Foust to give MU the first three goals of the second half as well as a 4-0 run overall and a 12-7 lead with 8:52 to go in the frame.

While the goals just kept on coming for both sides, that means that Cincinnati wasn’t really biting into Marquette’s lead. It was 13-9 MU heading into the fourth quarter, and both teams scored in the first three minutes of the quarter to make it 14-10 Marquette with 12 minutes to go. Not safe by any stretch, but as long as you take care of the ball and play smart lacrosse, you should be able to hold it together for the win.

Technically that happened. What actually happened is Cincinnati scored three straight goals in less than three minutes, including Grace Wehland getting it started thanks to a yellow card on Hanna Bodner, and WELP, it was a 14-13 game with eight minutes to go. Not what you want.

But they didn’t lose the lead, and that’s what’s important. After a timeout from head coach Meredith Black, Mary Blee won one of her 11 draw controls on the day, and within a minute, Garcia tallied to give the Golden Eagles some breathing room. Then they just kept creating more breathing room. After it was 14-13, Marquette held the Bearcats without a shot until the last 30 seconds of the game. Cincinnati committed just two turnovers, which yes, that means Marquette just started make it/take it lacrosse and piled on four more goals on top of Garcia’s. That’s a 5-0 run over just more than five minutes, absolutely no shots take on the other end, and a 19-13 lead ready to be wrapped up and sent home to Milwaukee.

Six points on five goals and a helper from Shea Garcia led the way for Marquette, but Lydia Foust was right behind her with four goals and an assist. Meg Bireley added a hat trick for good measure. Faith Chmielewski pulled up four ground balls to lead the team there, while Mary Blee’s 11 draw controls were the team high in that department. Brynna Nixon made eight saves on the back end for the Golden Eagles to hold up her end of the defense.

How about some highlights, courtesy of and ESPN+?

Up Next: If Marquette runs their record to a fourth straight victory to start the season for the first time ever, they will be a ranked team for the first ever. The reason why? Their next game is their only game for nearly two weeks, and it will be at home at Valley Fields against #5 Northwestern. The Wildcats are 2-1 on the year after beating #3 Boston College on Sunday, and their other contests are a loss at #5 Syracuse and a home win over #14 Notre Dame.

Like I said: Beat the Wildcats, and that will very clearly and obviously get Marquette into the top 25 for the first time ever. First draw is set for 5pm Central time, and FloSports will have the streaming broadcast.