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Marquette Women’s Lacrosse Preview: vs Xavier

The Golden Eagles look to move to 2-0 in Big East play while facing off against the Musketeers for the first time ever.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Kennesaw State vs Xavier John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Holy crap, Marquette women’s lacrosse is 11-1.

It doesn’t matter what happens the rest of the way, this is the best season in program history. Marquette has never won 11 games before, topping out at 10-8 in 2018. That was easily Marquette’s previous best season ever, not only because of the win total but because it was the first time that the Golden Eagles reached the Big East conference tournament. We can safely say that Marquette should blow past the previous record of 10 wins because we can read a schedule and we can read a standings table and we can say Marquette should be able to secure a few more wins in Big East play. There are a few more challenges laying in front of them — hello next week’s home game against #25 UConn — but we’ll cross those bridges when we get to them.

For now, we can celebrate things like Marquette gutting out a 13-12 wild win over Ohio Stats on Tuesday afternoon to get that wins record. We can celebrate things like Mary Schumar assisting on all three of Tess Osburn’s goal against the Buckeyes to break the single season assists record that she tied a year ago AND the fact that Schumar has five more games to go to keep stacking helpers on top of her record. We can celebrate things like Lydia Foust sitting 20 goals away from breaking the single season scoring record. We can celebrate things like Schumar sitting ten — TEN! — points away from breaking the single season points record.

It’s already a historic season in the Valley for Marquette, and there’s only more history to be made. Every win the rest of the way is historic, as it’s a new program record for wins in a season. What’s the ceiling for the amount of history that Marquette can accomplish this season? Can they win a postseason game for the first time ever? Can they earn top 25 poll votes for the first time ever? Can they reach the NCAA tournament for the first time ever? These are questions that are going to be answered in rapid fashion between now and the first week of May.

But one thing at a time, one game at a time, no underestimating anyone for whatever reason. Focus on what you can control, accomplish your goals — literally because it’s lacrosse — and move onto the next thing.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: This game will be the second part of a doubleheader with the men’s lacrosse team hosting St. John’s with an 11am Central time start. That one should be wrapped up just a little after 1pm, so keep that in mind relative to your travel to the Valley if you’re attending in person. Given the kinds of crowds that the men’s team draws and the limited capacity of the bubble, your best bet might be to try get to the MLAX game early and stick out the down time between the two games.

Big East Game #2: vs Xavier Musketeers (4-6, 0-2 Big East)

Date: Saturday, April 8, 2023
Time: 2:30pm Central
Location: Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble, Valley Fields, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: FloSports
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWLax

This is the first ever meeting between Marquette and Xavier. That’s not breaking news, because this is the first ever season of Division 1 lacrosse at Xavier. The announced the genesis of the program in May 2021 and hired Meg Decker to run the show less than two months later. By November, they had their first recruiting class, and 9 months later, they were up and running as a functioning outfit.

Functioning outfit is a more than appropriate phrase to use, as they have picked up four wins against Division 1 foes already this season. FACTS ONLY: Marquette only won two games in their first season as a Division 1 program, and the Golden Eagles actually had an extra year of lead in prep time before playing lacrosse. Perhaps the most impressive part of their season so far is that Xavier has been gutting out victories. They won three straight road games earlier this season, downing Radford by one goal, Longwood by two, and Presbyterian by three. Their fourth win came at home on March 12, as they beat fellow first year squad Eastern Michigan 11-10. The Musketeers trailed Radford 11-10 early in the fourth quarter, held off Longwood after taking a 15-12 lead with eight minutes left, and rallied back from a 3-0 start to beat Presbyterian. Against EMU, in their most recent win, Xavier was down 10-8 after giving up a woman-down goal with just seconds left in the third quarter..... and then shut the Eagles out in the fourth quarter to win.

With that said, they are on a three game losing streak, and it’s gotten a bit ugly. 22-2 against then-#15 Michigan is what it is when you play a ranked team as a first year squad, but they let a 12-9 game get away from them against Butler by giving up seven straight and eventually losing 19-12.... and then on Wednesday afternoon, they lost 25-8 at home to Georgetown. The Musketeers led 3-2 early on, but power play goals — six of them, three in a three minute stretch — doomed them eventually. The running clock kicked in right before halftime at 18-8 as the Hoyas scored the final 11 goals of the game.

It is an incredibly young roster as you would expect, but they do have three grad students with two of them coming over from Division 1 programs. There are four juniors on the roster and two sophomores, but only one of those six had Division 1 experience before this season started. Their 20 other players on the roster are all freshmen, so get used to hearing some of these names for a few years going forward.

Most notably on that “remember the name” memo? Lola Mancuso, who is averaging a hat trick this season with 33 goals in 10 contests. Riley Halloran is one of the grad students on the roster, and the 6-foot Texas native has tied her career best from her Vermont days with 23 goals already this season. IMG Academy product Erin Berls is the only other double digit goal scorer on the roster, and she’s put 10 in the net to this point of the year.

Xavier has 38 assists on 108 goals this season, so yeah, they’re not as great as scoring off the pass as Marquette is, but not a lot of teams are this season. Claire Slade tops the Xavier assist chart at seven helpers, while Molly Janssen is #2 with five so far. Mancuso and Halloran both have four assists right now, which does make them a dual threat that MU does need to keep an eye on.

Jada Brandon had won the starting goalkeeper job to start the year, but that lasted all of 11 minutes against Oregon in the opener as the Ducks opened up a 5-2 lead and Brandon didn’t make a save. Marina Piszczor has played all but 41 minutes since then, although all 41 came in the Michigan game as the Wolverines opened up a 10-0 lead and Brandon came on in relief for the remainder. As you’d expect from what you’ve read so far, Piszczor’s stats aren’t anything to get excited about: 15.82 goals against average and .422 save percentage.