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Women’s lacrosse: BIG EAST primer

Golden Eagles face Villanova to open conference play

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Women’s lacrosse: BIG EAST primer

Photo by Ben Erickson/benjamin.a.erickson@marquette.edu

Photo by Ben Erickson/benjamin.a.erickson@marquette.edu

Photo by Ben Erickson/benjamin.a.erickson@marquette.edu

Photo by Ben Erickson/benjamin.a.erickson@marquette.edu

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The women’s lacrosse season will ramp up this weekend when the team begins BIG EAST play Saturday against Villanova. Marquette enters conference play with a 3-7 record and will look to bounce back from a 17-9 loss against No. 5 Notre Dame.

The Golden Eagles faced one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the BIG EAST with five of their 10 opponents either ranked or receiving votes in the major polls. Head coach Meredith Black said the team will try to take away a high level of competitiveness from their challenging schedule.

“Now every team we play against is going to be really tough, so hopefully some of these things we learned from our previous tough games will help us,” Black said.

In the first half of the season Marquette lacked consistency on the offensive side. Black said the team had lots of ups and downs but learned a great deal about themselves, and still believes the Marquette’s biggest strength is their defensive play.

“We believe in ourselves and our ability to cause turnovers and play tough and be that team that is blue collar on the defensive side,” Black said. “Our offense has always been a battle for us but we are definitely getting better. We’ve had a lot of people contribute which is important so that’s a big positive.”

The Golden Eagles will rely heavily on junior attacker Julianna Shearer and senior midfielder Hayley Baas. Shearer leads the team with 21 goals and ranks seventh in the BIG EAST, averaging a little over two goals a game.

“Hayley Baas does everything for the team, I don’t know how many caused turnovers she has but I know it’s a lot,” Black said. “She’s also scoring goals and she also is a great leader. She’s everything.”

Two areas of concern for conference play are turnovers and fouls committed. Marquette averages 17 turnovers a game, tied for the most in the BIG EAST, and commits 28 fouls per game, which leads the conference. Black believes this comes from a lack of confidence but the team is working to improve these issues.

“We have to learn to be more disciplined and have more confidence,” Black said. “We have to just believe in our abilities and trust in ourselves. A lot of of our turnovers come from mental gaps in our game and just doubting ourselves.”

No. 2 Florida (10-1)  leads the BIG EAST, with their only loss to No. 1 Maryland. The conference went 38-37 against non-conference teams, but many played some of the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation. UConn (7-1) and Temple (8-2) are the only other two teams with winning records in the BIG EAST.

“Everyone is going to play their best in conference. Now it’s a matter of competing and fighting,” Black said. “Every game is going to be a battle and we have to know that and be willing to fight to come out on top.”

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