Marquette Drops High-Scoring Affair to UConn, 15-13
April 9, 2016
MILWAUKEE - Despite a hot start and late comeback attempt, the Marquette University women’s lacrosse team fell to the UConn Huskies, 15-13, in the BIG EAST Conference home opener at Valley Fields Saturday afternoon.
Each of the five Golden Eagles (4-8, 1-1 BIG EAST) who found the back of the net in the contest did so on multiple occasions. Hayley Baas, Grace Gabriel and Cate Soccodato all registered hat tricks to pace MU offensively, while Julianna Shearer and Allison Lane also netted two goals apiece.
Though Marquette was able to follow the offensive game plan of head coach Meredith Black, the Huskies (9-2, 3-0 BIG EAST) – who boast the league’s highest-scoring offense – had answers and used a 6-0 run midway through the second half to take the lead for good.
“I was happy with how we played and I knew it was going to be a close fight the whole way,” Black said. “The 8-minute stretch when we let up six goals unanswered, that really hurt us. Even during that time, we had opportunities and their goalie came up big. She’s a great goalie, but we have to put that ball in the back of the net and shoot with a little more confidence. Keeping the confidence and knowledge that we are capable to score no matter what’s going on and no matter which team has the momentum, that’s what we need to remember.”
Maggie Tripodi and Alexandra Crofts netted four goals each to lead the Huskies’ potent offense, while Grace Nolan was integral as well, recording a hat trick of her own.
The two squads combined to fire 60 shots on the afternoon, led by the Golden Eagles who attempted 32.
After a back-and-forth first half that included five ties and three lead changes, the two sides entered the locker rooms knotted up at 9-9. Gabriel, Lane, Shearer and Baas all potted two goals in the half for MU, while Crofts scored three times for the Huskies.
Shearer opened the scoring on the first possession of the game, as she took advantage of an opening faceoff victory by Allison Lane and ripped a shot past UConn goalkeeper Shannon Nee to put MU ahead 1-0 just 18 seconds into the contest.
After Grace Gabriel’s goal with 23:42 in the first half gave MU an early 3-2 advantage, the Huskies responded by striking for four unanswered goals to push the score to 6-3, but the Golden Eagles had an answer.
Marquette regrouped for a 5-0 run of its own to regain the lead at 8-6. Hayley Baas netted two goals in the run for MU, while Gabriel and Lane added scores via free position opportunities. Marquette would set a program record with five free-position goals, all of which came in the first half.
Following the MU run, UConn would finish the half on a 3-1 stretch to push the game even at the break.
Baas put MU on the board just 54 second into the second half to break the tie and would add to it when Soccodato scored at the 25:52 mark. After that, UConn would go on a 6-0 run and hold the Golden Eagles scoreless for the next 22:33 when Gabriel finally got MU back on the board. However, by then it was too little, too late for the Blue & Gold as UConn had built up an insurmountable advantage.
“I told them (after the game) that we’re right there,” Black said. “We have to clean up a couple little things and in this case take advantage of our opportunities. Also, keeping that fire that we saw in the last 3 minutes of the game for the entire 60 minutes.
“Anytime the other team does something well, we have to get fired up about it and do something about it. Hayley Baas is a player who does that consistently. Anytime an opponent does something, she takes it upon herself to do what she can to get the ball back or make a big play. As a team, we need to have that same mentality that Baas has.”
Much of the credit for UConn’s second-half defensive efforts goes to Nee, who made seven saves and allowed just four goals in the final 30 minutes.
Marquette secured the edge in draw controls, 17-13, while both sides finished even in ground balls, 24-24, and turnovers, 21-21.
Marquette will return to action against No. 2 Florida on the road in Gainesville Wednesday, April 13. First draw is set for 1 p.m. Central time.
“(Florida) is a great team. We need to stay confident and stay feisty,” Black said. “An opponent like that, you have to believe you can win and I think we do.”
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