Okay, well, since the NCAA won’t give us an RPI to talk about at least until Monday and the ILWomen/IWLCA top 25 poll voters won’t acknowledge one of the eight teams in the country with either zero or one loss as of Monday morning, we may as well let Lacrosse Reference guide our preview discussion today.
Hell yeah, that’s right, the first run of Division 1 women’s lacrosse bracketology has YOUR 9-1 Marquette Golden Eagles as a “Likely In” option for the NCAA tournament.
To clarify exactly what that means: The Locks are showing up in the field in every single one of the simulations. The Likely In teams are showing up in at least 75% of the simulations, while you have to appear in at least 1% to qualify as a Bubble team.
Meredith Black’s team is showing up as at least an at-large team in the field of 29 at least 75% of the time. There’s no way that Marquette is showing up as the automatic bid out of the Big East only, not with Denver sitting at #4 in the country in this week’s ILWomen/IWLCA top 25 poll. Marquette has to be snagging an at-large berth regularly in the simulations. THAT RULES. IT RULES SO MUCH.
Marquette has never won a postseason game before. The Golden Eagles are 0-3 in their Big East semifinals appearances. Marquette has one win over a ranked opponent in program history and they have lost their last nine attempts at getting a second.
And now, the LR algorithm thinks they’re closer than not to making it to the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history. This is so awesome.
Marquette hasn’t even started Big East play yet. They’re barely past the halfway point of the season. There’s a lot of lacrosse left to play. Are the Golden Eagles going to be favored more often than not the rest of the way? Yep, that definitely seems like it could be the case. Does that mean that Marquette can take even a quarter off the rest of the way to bring this home? No, it absolutely does not. “At least 75%” is also “not every single time” so there’s obviously a version of how this season can play out where the Golden Eagles don’t have enough on their plate to get into the field. Every game the rest of the way is going to be crucial for Marquette to be able to take a gigantic step forward in the development of the program.
But one thing at a time. Gotta get through this weekend’s game before focusing on anything else. And speaking of this weekend’s game:
Stat Watch: Mary Schumar is currently three assists away from tying the single season assists record. Yes, that’s the same single season assists record of 43 set by Cate Soccodato in 2019 and then tied last year by Schumar. Yes, she’s three away from the same number of assists she had all of last season.
Big East Game #1: at Georgetown Hoyas (5-6)
Marquette is 3-9 all time against Georgetown. The two sides have met at least once in every single one of MU’s seasons in existence, and the Hoyas won the first six meetings. The Golden Eagles broke through in 2019, which doubles as the program’s first win over a ranked opponent, and no one has won two straight in the series since. That includes Marquette’s win last season in the regular season as well as their loss in the Big East tournament.
No one is going to try and trick you into thinking that Georgetown is having a good season right now. I am going to tell you that they’re better than that one game under .500 record makes them look. Quite simply: Every single team they’ve lost to this season is either ranked or earning votes in this week’s ILWomen/IWLCA top 25 poll. Don’t get me wrong, some of those losses are not fun, particularly a pair of 13-4 defeats to Maryland, currently #10 in the country, and to Johns Hopkins, currently receiving votes. But the flip side of that coin is that the Hoyas are coming off an 11-10 loss to #23 Penn. That was a 10-9 game with six minutes to go, and six minutes is a very long time in lacrosse. They weren’t that far from picking up a ranked win and heading into their first Big East game with a 6-5 record instead.
Georgetown’s offense is centered on a trio of women. Kylie Hazen, Erin Bakes, and Emma Gebhardt are all 20 goal scorers already with Bakes leading the way with 25 through 11 games. We should point out that Gebhardt did miss the Penn game, and that’s the first game that she’s missed all season. Hazen is the most dangerous of the trio, because she’s added 16 assists to her 22 goals for a team high 38 points. She’s assisting on 17% of GU’s goals that she doesn’t score herself, she’s impacted 32% of Georgetown’s goals altogether, and no one else on the roster has more than six helpers so far this season.
Emily Gaven has started every game in net for Georgetown this season, but Leah Warehime has played more minutes in net, 347 to 308. (And yes, it’s 347 even though GU’s official stats say 317, somehow Warehime’s 30 minutes against American in the opener didn’t get logged properly.) Part of this is by design, as head coach Ricky Fried has swapped his goalkeepers at halftime in nine of Georgetown’s 11 games. The disparity in minutes pops up because he made the change in the second quarter against Monmouth and Maryland. It worked against Monmouth, as it was 10-8 when Warehime came into the game and the Hawks had scored five goals in less than five minutes to start the quarter.... and Georgetown won 18-16. It didn’t work against the Terrapins, as Maryland went up 6-1 in the first three minutes of the second quarter and it ended up 13-4.
In any case, it’s been back to starting Gaven and switching to Warehime at halftime in the last two games, and that’s probably what Marquette should expect to see. The stats tell us a different story, as Warehime is allowing just 9.82 goals per 60 minutes and stopping nearly 53% of shots on cage. I don’t know how you don’t ride with her all the way out at this point other than Gaven’s a senior and Warehime is a sophomore who didn’t play at all last year. I’m not saying it would have fixed Georgetown’s season here at all, but sometimes the stats are just staring you in the face and asking you what you’re doing with your life.