Confession time: on Thursday night I left Valley Fields at halftime of Marquette getting pantsed 3-0 by UW-Milwaukee. Maybe it was th chill, maybe it that it was a school night, or maybe it was that the Panthers, who had not scored against the Golden Eagles since 2010 despite yearly meetings, managed to connect twice in five minutes; but after 45 minutes of seemingly nothing going Marquette's way, I'd had my fill and had a few questions.
Why did starter Ashley Handwork come off the pitch five minutes into the match and never return? Is this a residual effect of her concussion from a few weeks back? Is there no one else to play in the back line because I suspect that Jacie Jermier is needed in the midfield? Why no Darian Powell? Were the Big East coaches out of their minds when they picked Marquette to repeat as champions?
I turned on Time Warner Sports when I got home to find that UWM's lead had grown to 4-0. Then the TV was back off quickly. A baffling text of "EQUALIZER" from Brewtown Andy was my only sign that Marquette's fortunes had changed. Turns out the Golden Eagles had rallied to score 4 goals in 17 minutes. The comeback was a team effort: Mary Luba, Caroline Fink, Liz Bartels, and Heather Handwork scored with Jermier, Alex Heffron, Mady Vicker, and Meegan Johnston picking up assists.
Once again the TV was back on, but the Panthers had already regained the lead. With less than 2 minutes on the clock, the home team was unable to find another goal to force overtime.
The 5-4 loss dropped the Golden Eagles to 2-4-1 on the season. Less than two weeks ago, we said not to panic. But with the conference season closer, it feels possible that Markus Roeders may have his first losing season at Marquette. But it's still not the time to concede defeat.
One of my questions when I left the Valley Thursday was whether Roeders, who who isn't shy about using substitutions, should have switched things up further when the plan clearly wasn't working in the opening half. With a couple of nights to chew on my disappointment, it seems just as reasonable to leave your best lineup out there to figure out how to play through tough times. Marquette did eventually do that, it was a just a little too late against Milwaukee.
Next up: #12 Texas A&M in College Station tonight at 7:00 pm. Hoo boy.