There was a lot going on at Valley Fields on Tuesday afternoon for an otherwise inexplicable noon stat for Marquette women’s lacrosse. I don’t just mean the 25 total goal scored between the two teams as Marquette picked up the 13-12 victory over Ohio State. There’s also the fact that the win moves Marquette to 11-1 on the season. Not only does that extend the best start in program history, but it also breaks the program’s record for wins in a season, surpassing their 10-8 mark in 2018. On top of that historical note, Mary Schumar tied the single season record for assists in the second quarter, recording her 43rd of the season on a Tess Osburn goal..... and then Schumar broke the record, held by both Schumar (2022) and Cate Soccodato (2019), when she assisted on another Osburn goal late in the third quarter.
And to think, for a good long while there, it looked like things were not going Marquette’s way. Not entirely unlike the Georgetown game on Saturday, Marquette’s offense couldn’t get in gear to start the game. Ohio State took advantage of that and opened up a 4-1 lead across most of the first 10 minutes of the game. Part of that was Ohio State winning draws and not giving Marquette a chance, but part of it was Marquette committing four turnovers, too.
Shea Garcia, returning to the lineup after missing the Georgetown game, turned things around, somewhat for good to be honest, as she scored a goal just 31 seconds after Nicole Ferrara tallied off a Leigh Steiner penalty. That Garcia goal was the first of a 4-0 run to the end of the first quarter for Marquette, which turned into 5-0 after Tess Osburn scored 36 seconds into the next frame...... and then that run turned into 8-1 Marquette when Lydia Foust found the net with 5:47 left in the second. 4-1 Ohio State turned into 9-5 Marquette across nearly 15 minutes of game time.
Marquette would never relinquish the lead again, not even to a tie.
That’s not to say that the game wasn’t dramatic from there. Ohio State pulled within two, 9-7, by halftime, and Annie Hargraves scored for the visitors a little bit less than five minutes into the third quarter for the first goal of that period as well as to make it a one goal game. Marquette’s response was to lock up the Buckeyes for the rest of the quarter and for nearly three minutes into the fourth. Goals from Foust and Osburn (assisted by Schumar for the record!) in the third quarter and then Meg Bireley at the 14:17 mark of the fourth made it a 12-8 ball game.
A save by OSU’s Regan Alexander and a deflected Hannah Greving shot gave Ohio State possession and a chance to rip off three straight goals from there, with Marquette possessing the ball for just 19 seconds along the way thanks to draw controls and one turnover. 12-11 Marquette, just over 11 minutes to go.
After a timeout from MU head coach Meredith Black, the Golden Eagles.... well, we can’t say that they buttoned things up from there, but Marquette’s only free position goal of the game followed up that stoppage, and Marquette’s defense got on a good run. They generated three turnovers from the Buckeyes and goalie Brynna Nixon made one of her nine saves as the Golden Eagles limited Ohio State to just three shots total over the next nine minutes. Alexander made some stops on the other end as MU got chances to expand their lead and generate some insurance, so the lead stayed at just two.
At some point, though, the clock became Marquette’s friend. Hargraves drew a free position attempt with 2:07 to play..... but the MU defenders closed hard on her after the whistle and she never got the ball out of her stick before it was deflected away. Molly Powers made the big time ground ball pick up, and the Golden Eagles burned the clock under 30 seconds to play. After a missed Bireley shot, Ohio State had one final chance after Ferrara scored in a hurry to make it a one goal game, 13-12, with 16 seconds to go.
Big draw control coming....
And Mary Blee got it to pop into Marquette’s offensive end, and the trio of Blee, Emma Soccodato, and Ellie Henry induced a foul out of Ohio State for the win. Clock runs, horn sounds, Ring Out Ahoya, etc.
Four points on four goals for Lydia Foust led the day for Marquette, although Mary Schumar’s historic three assists as well as three helpers from Leigh Steiner and a hat trick from Tess Osburn were right behind her. Ellie Henry led in ground balls with four while sharing the caused turnovers lead at two with Faith Chmielewski. Emma Soccodato had a team high eight draw controls to go with two goals, three ground balls, and a caused turnover to make plays all over the field for the Golden Eagles.
Shouts to Ohio State goalie Regan Alexander, by the way. She had to post a career high in saves with 15 to keep this game as close as it was, and 10 of them came in the second half as it was starting to look like Marquette could run away with the game.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and FloSports?
Up Next: Marquette returns to Big East action for the remaining five games of the season. Three of the five are at home, including each of the next two. First up is Marquette’s first ever meeting with Xavier as the Musketeers are in their first season of Division 1 competition this season. First draw on Saturday, April 8, is set for 2:30pm Central time, but heads up if you’re planning on attending in person: That game is part of a doubleheader with the men’s lacrosse team hosting St. John’s at 11am. Xavier is 4-5 on the year and is currently coming off two straight losses, including falling in their Big East opener to Butler, 19-12, this past Saturday. They’ll host Georgetown on Wednesday before coming north to Milwaukee.