WLAX Cruises Past 'Nova in BIG EAST Opener, 15-6
April 2, 2016
VILLANOVA, Pa. - It was a superb start to BIG EAST Conference play as the Marquette University women's lacrosse team was in full control from start-to-finish, setting a program record for goals against a conference opponent as it cruised to a 15-6 rout over Villanova at Villanova Stadium on Saturday.
"We came out really strong and we came out with fire," head coach Meredith Black said. "We played well, we played hard and we played together."
The Golden Eagles (4-7, 1-0 BIG EAST) had it working in all facets as eight different players reached the scoring column and the defense registered 10 caused turnovers in the convincing win. MU scored the game's first three goals and took a commanding 9-3 lead into halftime, not letting the Wildcats (2-10, 0-2 BIG EAST) get closer than five goals the rest of the way.
Julianna Shearer and Allison Lane led the way with three goals apiece with Lane adding two assists, eight draw controls, two ground balls and a caused turnover. Shearer chipped in an assist, two ground balls and two caused turnovers.
As a team, Marquette outshot the Wildcats 36-22 - falling one shot shy of a program record - and beat `Nova handily off the draw by a margin of 15-8. The Golden Eagles won the ground balls battle 17-12 and Villanova committed 22 turnovers to Marquette's 17.
The Golden Eagles scored the game's first three goals thanks to Lane and Shearer, but Villanova's Chelsea Henderson would go back-to-back to make it a 3-2 deficit for the hosts with 18:16 left in the first half. From then on, Marquette would score nine of the next 11 goals in dispatching the Wildcats.
"I think getting out to a quick start was really important," Black said. "Allison Lane was really aggressive early. She set the tone for everyone else. We were able to get some really nice looks the first few goals and that gave us the confidence to picking apart their defense."
MU would reach double digits in the scoring column for the fifth time this season when Hayley Baas connected on her first of back-to-back goals on the day to make it 10-4. Baas is MU's all-time leading scorer, now with 83 goals in 60 career games. The Cincinnati native also chipped in two assists.
On the defensive side, the Golden Eagles put forth one of their best efforts of the season, thwarting any chance for the Wildcats to inch back into contention.
"The defense is playing so well as a unit and that's what makes us so successful," Black said. "We have each other's backs and we make really good slides. If one person takes a risk, they know someone will be there to pick them up. Today was definitely a team effort."
Senior Elizabeth Goslee won't get much credit on the stat sheet as she failed to register a ground ball or a caused turnover, but that doesn't do justice to the impact she had on the outcome and holding the reigning BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year Jackie Froccaro to just one goal in the first half, which is no small feat. Froccaro, who has a team-leading 23 goals on the season, entered the day just two goals shy of setting the Villanova all-time scoring record, but gaining that distinction will have to wait at least one more game.
In the second half, Black switched Goslee onto Henderson and she was shut down completely after the Villanova attacker had scored twice in the first half. Likewise, Fran Meyer switched to Frocarro and she didn't score either in the second stanza. Meyer finished the game with two caused turnovers, two draw controls and a ground ball.
Goslee and Meyer led a collective d-unit that totaled 10 caused turnovers on the day, highlighted by Kayce Haverstick, Meyer and Shearer, who each registered two. In net, senior netminder Sarah Priem also had a solid day, making five saves before back-up Emma Salter came on to stop the only shot that came her way over the final 3 minutes.
Marquette is off to a promising start after one league game as it strives to make the BIG EAST tournament for the first time.
"We'll celebrate this for a couple hours, but then that's it," Black said after the game. "We need to get down to business where we need to be mentally in order to continue to improve. We still have a lot of important games ahead of us beginning with UConn."
The upstart Huskies, who are receiving votes in the lates Inside Lacrosse Top-20 poll will come to Valley Fields on Saturday, April 9. A free live web stream will be available for the first time via GoMarquette.com. First draw is scheduled for 12 p.m. Central time.
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