I tell you what, I am not a fan of this mid-week midday starts. Sure, DAYTIME LACROSSE~! is neat and all, but having to keep tabs on a Marquette women’s lacrosse game by way of checking the live stats when I get a chance throughout the game is no fun.
It’s especially not fun when you check in to see that the Golden Eagles have taken a 7-1 lead midway through the first but it’s a 9-7 game early in the second quarter. Yeah, there was a lot going on at Varsity Field in Indianapolis, but eventually, finally, when the game was over, Marquette walked away with a 22-16 victory over Butler. The win pushes Marquette to a 14-1 record on the season and extends their winning streak to eleven straight games. It also moves Marquette to a perfect 4-0 record in Big East play, and with the win, MU has clinched a spot in the four-team conference tournament.
Marquette went up 5-0 in a little bit more than the first five minutes of the game with Mary Schumar recording two assists along the way to become Marquette’s second ever 100 assist player. After Elise Latham broke up MU’s run, Schumar scored her second goal of the game and then assisted on a Tess Osburn goal to give her 101 career assists and thus break Claire Costanza’s record of 100 career assists.
NEW RECORD ALERT— Marquette Women’s Lacrosse (@MarquetteWLax) April 19, 2023
With this assist in the first quarter, Mary Schumar became Marquette's all-time assist leader, and just the second player in program history with 100 assists in a career!#WeAreMarquette pic.twitter.com/kmq4Z2MpyY
As it turns out, Schumar was only just getting started, and yes, we can say that with a straight face when she had five points in the first eight minutes of the game.
With that said, the wheels started to come off a little bit for Marquette after that 7-1 start. Butler scored the next two goals of the game to start off an 8-2 run by the Bulldogs that stretched five minutes into the second quarter. Luci Selander scored the fifth of her six goals on the day with 10:16 left to go in the second period, and somehow, even after a 7-1 lead for Marquette, the game was tied at nine goals each.
Now, the good news is that Butler never took the lead. That ninth goal by Butler was their fifth straight to start the second quarter, and it came a little more than 30 seconds after MU head coach Meredith Black called timeout following the previous goal. That strike from Selander led to Ava Sprinkel taking over in goal for Brynna Nixon, who had made just one save in the game to that point. The second quarter wasn’t entirely Nixon’s fault as Butler was essentially just winning draws after scoring and then scoring again for the first five minutes. Still, one save in 20 minutes is one save in 20 minutes. Lydia Foust scored one of her seven goals on the day, this one on a free position attempt, to put MU back in front, but Butler answered that one about 90 seconds later. 10-10, 6:26 to go in the quarter.
Marquette won the ensuing draw and started handing some of Butler’s medicine back to them. Leigh Steiner scored 12 seconds later, scooping the draw herself and suddenly realizing that she had all the space in the world.
Steiner with the draw ➡️ Steiner with the goal#WeAreMarquette pic.twitter.com/hH8tRS3M2A— Marquette Women’s Lacrosse (@MarquetteWLax) April 19, 2023
That triggered a 4-0 MU burst, capped by another goal from Steiner, and it was 14-10 with 3:22 to play. Sanity was not restored, however, as Butler closed the quarter with three goals in the final three minutes, including top scorer Leah Rubino’s only goal of the game with just 19 seconds to go. Halftime: Marquette 14, Butler 13.
Nixon returned to the net after that end of the half, and the halftime message to the entire locker room lit a fire under the Golden Eagles. They outshot Butler 12-4 in the third quarter to make life easier on the defense, and Nixon made three saves to start getting her feet back underneath her. BU goalie Lauren Buckley was busy building a wall on the other end of the field though, making seven saves in the frame, and heading to the fourth, Marquette had expanded their lead by just one goal, 16-14.
Look at the fourth quarter however you want: Marquette had the power left in them to shut the door on Butler, or the Bulldogs ran out of gas and the Golden Eagles zoomed past them. Either one works. Foust scored a little less than three minutes into the quarter for the first goal of the period to start off a 6-2 final frame for the visitors. They scored three straight across the middle of the quarter to expand the lead to five, 20-15, including Foust’s 50th goal of the season. Selander’s sixth broke up the streak, but Hannah Greving and Foust scored the final two of the game to put it away.
That Greving goal is of particular note. Just minutes earlier, Greving potted a shot that went as Mary Schumar’s eighth assist of the game, tying a program record for points and assists in a game at the same time. It was Schumar feeding Greving again with 2:25 to play to get Schumar her record breaking assist and point, but it wasn’t just a team record. It was her ninth assist of the game, breaking a Big East record for assists in a game.
— Marquette Women’s Lacrosse (@MarquetteWLax) April 19, 2023
Mary Schumar has 11 points and nine assists this afternoon, both program single-game records!#WeAreMarquette pic.twitter.com/gxVeZyHWQl
It says so much about the impact that Schumar has on this offense that the Bulldogs’ defense completely collapsed on her — including Greving’s defender letting Greving wander off — and left the 6-foot Greving wiiiiiiiiide open on the far post. Of course, it does make Schumar’s life a little easier that she can get the ball seven feet in the air and Greving’s still going to pull it in to shoot it.
I don’t want this to get lost in the shuffle of Marquette fighting off Butler’s push or Schumar’s records, but Marquette’s defensive gameplan aaaaaaaaaaactually kind of worked? Even after Wednesday’s game, Leah Rubino has 23 more shots on the season than Luci Selander, and she has a 20 goal and 20 point lead on Selander on the stat sheet. MU limited Rubino to just two shots, one goal, and one assist in the game. “Stop Rubino and we stop Butler” was the right call heading into the game, and by the final horn, it ended up being the right call for 60 minutes of lacrosse. It just maybe didn’t look like it in the second quarter for a while there.
Mary Schumar finished with 11 points on two goals and nine assists and two new program records, but she wasn’t the only player having a great day. Lydia Foust had seven goals by the end, and she tacked on an assist for eight points. Meg Bireley had a four point day on two goals and two assists, and Tess Osburn came off the bench to get a hat trick. Ellie Henry recorded a career best 15 draw controls to help the Golden Eagles contain the Butler attack. Brynna Nixon finished with five saves to get the win, and she had a team high four ground balls, too.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and FloSports?
Up Next: Marquette will be out on the road for their next contest yet again. They’ll be in Philadelphia on Sunday to face off with Villanova, with first draw scheduled for 11am Central time on FloSports. The Wildcats are 11-4 on the year with a 3-2 record in Big East action. They are coming off a 21-9 road win against Xavier on Wednesday afternoon, so neither squad will have a rest advantage on Sunday. Villanova has won three straight and is looking to stay in the NCAA tournament conversation.