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RV Marquette Women’s Lacrosse Handles Business Against Cincinnati

The Golden Eagles started strong and built a lead to knock off the Bearcats in the season opener.

Meg Bireley
Meg Bireley scored a career high seven goals in Marquette’s season opener.
Marquette University

We had questions about what we would see from Marquette women’s lacrosse, especially on the offensive end, heading into the 2024 season. Right out of the gate, the Golden Eagles started answering those questions. Even without winning a draw control in the entire first quarter, Marquette was up 3-0 on Cincinnati at the end of 15 minutes. We had the answer to “who would step forward to provide scoring,” as freshman Riley Schultz came off the bench to score the second goal. We also had the answer to “who will distribute without Mary Schumar around,” as Hannah Greving posted the helpers on MU’s second and third goals of the game.

The second quarter started with Marquette up a woman thanks to a yellow card on Cincinnati’s Dani Mlkvy with just over a minute to play in the previous frame, and the Golden Eagles wasted no time cashing in, as Meg Bireley scored what would be the first of seven goals on the day for her just 31 seconds into the period. That would be the first of three straight woman-up goals for Marquette, and Hanna Bodner and Isabelle Casucci also tallied to make it 6-0 MU with 5:17 left before the half.

To a certain extent, the game ended here. Yes, Cincinnati managed to outscore Marquette 3-2 the rest of the way before halftime, but they were already in a 6-0 hole. Camryn Callaghan made it a five goal game, 10-5, before five minutes were gone in the third quarter, but then Marquette took over again. The Golden Eagles got four straight, with the run started by a woman-down goal from freshman CJ Meehan as she cashed in a free position attempt. It was ended with back-to-back woman-up goals, one from Bireley and one from Tess Osburn, and that’s a 14-5 lead. MU scored twice in the final 12 seconds to make it 16-6 and activate the running clock as the fourth quarter began. The last one was from a bit of distance but by necessity from Leigh Steiner as she had to beat the clock to end the quarter.

Cincinnati did not go along with that running clock program, firing in four straight goals..... but taking more than eight minutes to do it. Bireley scored again with a woman advantage — the Bearcats were not helping themselves out at all in this game — to stem the tide, but the clock was clearly working for the Golden Eagles here even if it was stopping during the course of play. The lead was too big, largely because Marquette went up 6-0 out of the gate to start with, and by the end, it was 18-12 favoring the home team.

Seven goals was a new career best for Meg Bireley, and it was unsurprisingly the best point total of the game for either team. Tess Osburn had five on four goals and an assist, while Leigh Steiner (2G, 2A) and Hannah Greving (4A) had four points each. Riley Schultz had a team high three ground balls in her role off the bench, while defender Kaitlyn Huber had three caused turnovers to lead Marquette there. Brynna Nixon finished with nine saves on the day, and she was clearly having a much better day before the final quarter started with six goals allowed but six saves made. Then again, part of that miiiiight not be her fault, as you could reasonably think that Marquette wasn’t quite playing with a serious edge given their lead.

How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and FloSports?

Up Next: Marquette will be back in action this Friday as the Golden Eagles embark on a stretch of five straight road games. First up there is Louisville, with first draw in Kentucky set for 11am Central time on February 16th. The Cardinals are 0-2 already this season after going winless on a weekend trip to Colorado, falling 16-8 to #4 Denver and 16-15 to Colorado after scoring four straight to tie it at 15.