Women’s lacrosse face two Big Ten teams in offseason games

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Courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Courtesy of Marquette Athletics

After a three-win improvement last year, the Marquette women’s lacrosse team will try to continue to get better, starting this weekend.

The Golden Eagles will embark on a two-game road trip to open the fall exhibition season. Their first game will come Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, against the Ohio State Buckeyes, while the second one will follow Sunday in Ann Arbor, Mich., against the Michigan Wolverines.

“These games are a great way for us to see where we’re at,” third-year coach Meredith Black said. “It’s a great way for us to see what the team is going to look like.”

Ohio State figures to be the tougher of the two opponents the Golden Eagles will face this weekend. The Buckeyes compiled a 13-7 record last season en route to the No.13 ranking in the country as well as a bid to the NCAA tournament for the first time in 11 years. Senior Tori DeScenza made an especially big impact in goal last year for Ohio State, compiling a .492 save percentage and earning All-American second-team honors.

The second of Marquette’s games this weekend comes against the Michigan Wolverines, a team that Marquette beat last year by a score of 12-10 in Ann Arbor. Michigan went 4-12 last year in its inaugural season as a varsity program. Much of the Wolverines’ offense last year was generated by sophomore midfielder Anna Schueler, who scored a team-high 31 goals.

Coach Black said that she “loved the team’s mentality in (the Michigan) game” and “that’s what stood out the most” when she looks back on her team’s performance against Michigan last year.

Marquette added 10 new signees to the team during the summer that, along with the 32 returning players, will look to improve on the team’s 5-12 record from a year ago. The Golden Eagles started the season 5-5, but dropped their last seven games by an average margin of 4.57 points to end up at 5-12. That 5-12 record also included a 2-8 mark away from home and a 1-6 showing in games within the conference, with the only win coming during a home game against the Cincinnati Bearcats. However, that 5-12 was a significant improvement from the 2-15 record the program recorded during its first season in 2012-13.

“The most significant improvement last year came on the offensive side,” Black said. “We were able to put some goals away and possess the ball … and that helped cut down on the discrepancy of the score and helped us with those wins.”

Junior attacker Claire Costanza and sophomore attacker Amanda Bochniak will presumably anchor the Marquette offense again after a strong performance during last year’s campaign. Costanza led the team with 43 points, while Bochniak finished just one behind Costanza. On the other side of the field, the Golden Eagles’ defense will look to junior defender Elizabeth Goslee to make another major contribution this year. Goslee was responsible for controlling 24 ground balls last year and was selected to the roster of the 2014-15 U.S. National Team.

With a healthy mix of veteran talent and eager newcomers, the Golden Eagles have plenty to be optimistic about as they head into their fall exhibition season.

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