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Women’s lacrosse gears up for third season

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The Marquette women’s lacrosse team is entering its third season and finally has the experience it needs to be a real contender in the Big East.

The Golden Eagles have improved significantly from last season and now have all 12 of last year’s starters back, as well as 25 sophomores and juniors on the team.

Marquette coach Meredith Black expects more growth from her team as well.

“There was a ton of improvement over the first two years,” Black said. “(I expect) another year of improvement.”

From year one to two, Marquette’s win total increased by just three games, but the records aren’t indicative of the team’s growth. The Golden Eagles cut their goal differential by about 63 percent (from 8.76 to 3.23) and allowed 100 fewer shots on net. Both numbers can be credited to specific players on the team.

Offensively, junior attacker Claire Costanza led the charge for Marquette during the past two seasons, scoring the most points and dishing out the most assists on the team for both years. As a freshman last season, attacker Amanda Bochniak was second on the team in scoring with 22 goals and 20 assists. Junior midfielders Kenzie Brown and Hayley Baas have each taken turns leading the team in goals, Brown with 24 in 2013 and Baas with 28 last season.

But the Golden Eagles’ strength can be found on the defensive side of the ball. Defensemen Jenaye Coleman, Elizabeth Goslee, and Kayce Haverstick remain as captains of the squad from 2014 and Coleman has been a captain since 2013. At the forefront of the defense is Goslee, who was part of a three way tie for Preseason Big East Defensive Player of the Year. Goslee was third on the team in ground balls (24) and second in caused turnovers (21).

“(Goslee) is the position leader on the field, I’m happy with her maturity,” Black said.  “From the moment she got here, she’s done everything the coaches asked of her. She’s never outworked on the field.”

Junior goaltender Sarah Priem is also making great strides. Preim cut her goals against average from 15.36 to 11.82, and was named to the All-Big East Second Team in 2014.

“She continues to improve,” Black said. “She excels when challenged.”

Marquette will have to play its best lacrosse early, as the team takes on two top 25 teams in its first three games. This includes the first ever NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse game in Houston against No. 16 John’s Hopkins Feb. 8. Marquette will follow that up by playing No. 5 Northwestern and will face ranked opponents Florida, Georgetown and Notre Dame in conference play. Black said she “purposely put tough competition early” so that her team could see how the best teams play and wants them to play the whole season that way.

As far as her thoughts going into the season, Black wants her team to improve in one particular aspect.

“I want to see improvement in maturity,” Black said. “We lost a few one-goal games because of our maturity… I want to do things that the experienced teams do.”

But more than anything Black is just excited to get the season started.

“I love this team, I love that everyone’s returned, I’m excited for the seniors, and I’m excited for the freshmen.”

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