Women’s lacrosse finishes inaugural campaign

On February 15, Marquette women’s lacrosse began its inaugural season in sunny South Carolina, and after falling to Winthrop, it responded two days later to win its first game in program history over Coastal Carolina.

It has been a tale of two seasons for the women’s lacrosse team. Things looked good for the rookie program after it went .500 in the first four games of the season. After a late rally lifted the team over Detroit-Mercy, the Golden Eagles looked better than a first-year program should.

Since the 2-2 start, however, that momentum headed downhill. In their final 13 games, the Golden Eagles were unable to pull out a victory and finished the season with a 2-15 record. Despite the rough finish, coach Meredith Black said she is proud of her team’s performance this season.

“I think we played outstanding,” Black said. “Having basically 33 rookies on the team, they’re not all freshmen by age, but they’re all rookies to the program, and everyone stepped up and played the best that they could possibly play.”

Many of the contests had large goal differentials. Marquette lost by double digits in seven games this season. It only recorded double digits twice during the season, in the two victories over Detroit-Mercy and Coastal Carolina. In the 17 games, the Golden Eagles were outscored 105-254.

Despite the offensive woes, three players played exceptionally well on attack. Marquette’s leading point producer was freshman attacker Claire Costanza with 40 points (18 goals, 22 assists). Freshman midfielder Kenzie Brown, Marquette’s leading goal scorer with 24 goals, was second with 29 points. Freshman midfielder Hayley Baas tallied 21 goals and three assists for third with 24 points on the season.

On the opposite end of the field, the defense was the team’s strong suit this season. The scoreboard for most games may not show it, but Marquette’s defense was its heart and soul. It was a positive to feed on going into next season, especially with freshman goalie Sarah Priem returning.

Priem started every game for the Golden Eagles this season and tied for 13th for most saves on the season with 137. Her performance in cage also earned her the MVP nod at the women’s lacrosse season-ending banquet.

Other players earning honors were freshman defender Elizabeth Goslee, who won the Hustle Award for her effort; freshman midfielder Lauren Nickson, who won the most improved award; and freshman goaltender Emma Salter, who won the “MU Rah Rah” award for her team spirit.

Times were tough this season, but Black said she saw a lot of improvement.

“The biggest thing is just the improvement of the team from start to finish,” Black said. “I didn’t expect the team to improve that much, and I think what we saw from the team in the first games in South Carolina versus what we saw at the end of the year when we played all those Big East teams is night and day. It was so rewarding to see how much better they’ve all gotten.”

With the season at its end, the team has a nice long rest to prepare for next season, and the outlook for next year looks positive.

“I think we did amazing,” captain and graduate student midfielder Lisa Beltramello said. “Every single game we improved, and I am completely confident that next year they’re going to get more wins on the board. They’re going to score more goals. They’re going to be so much better. Each year you’re going to see that progression.”

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