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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette comes short of claiming first Big East regular season title with its loss to Denver

No. 24 Marquette women’s lacrosse dropped its first Big East contest of the season 12-5 against No. 3 Denver April 30 at Valley Fields. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

No. 24 Marquette entered the afternoon knowing what was on the line and it was playing for: the program’s first Big East regular season title and a No. 1 seed in next weekend’s conference tournament.

However, the three time defending regular season champions, No. 3 Denver, had other plans.

The Golden Eagles (15-2, 5-1 Big East) saw their program record 12-game win streak come to an end Saturday afternoon as the Pioneers (17-0, 6-0) won 12-5, securing their fourth straight regular season title at Valley Fields.

“I feel great about this team, about what we’re capable of, about what we’ve accomplished,” Marquette head coach Meredith Black said. “All those stats and accomplishments are amazing and I’m so proud of the team. But honestly, the best part about it is that we’re having fun together and it’s really been just the most joyful season to coach these girls.”

Statistical Leaders

Senior attacker Hannah Greving led the way on the afternoon for Marquette with two goals. Senior attacker Mary Schumar had two assists.

Denver sophomore attacker Lauren Black put up a hat trick with one assist on the day.

First period shut out

Denver established its offense early in the contest, scoring two goals from senior attacker Julia Gilbert and Black by the 8:50 mark of the frame. The Pioneers tacked on one more goal in the winding seconds of the quarter to take a 3-0 lead into the second quarter. It is the first time this season Marquette had been shut out in the first quarter.

Black said Denver’s defense caused her team early troubles, as Marquette turned over the ball 10 times in the first 15 minutes.

“Their defense in number one in the country,” Black said. “They’re really strong with their defense and they hold teams to next to nothing. We obviously expected that, but we just had to settle into the game a little bit. The first period, our nerves were high and our anxieties were high with the hype of the game and everything. They just need to calm down a bit and trust their fundamentals of moving the ball. That’s what worked when we scored.”

Setting the momentum

Following a slow first quarter, Marquette gradually found itself on offense as Greving scored her 19th goal of the season at the 14:16 mark to put the Golden Eagles on the board.

However, the momentum from the No. 1 ranked offense in the Big East was halted as Denver responded with two straight goals.

Greving ended the Pioneers 2-0 run with her second goal of the afternoon with 10:39 to go in the half.

The Golden Eagles then locked up on defense as the Pioneers did not score for the final 10 minutes of the half. As a result of this, Marquette cut its deficit to one at 5-4 by halftime after goals from Bireley and senior midfielder Emma Soccodato.

Ending a record-setting regular season

Despite its second quarter clawback, Marquette was unable to withstand Denver’s strong and efficient second half.

The Pioneers opened the half with three straight goals to widen their lead to 8-4. Marquette’s lone goal in the half came in the third quarter from senior attacker Shea Garcia.

Denver won the fourth quarter scoring four straight goals cruising its way to its fourth straight Big East regular season title.

“We could have had more confidence on offense in the second half—we didn’t score enough,” Black said. “We got more opportunities and we shot more than we did in the first, but we have to move that ball. I was telling them before the game ‘You gotta wear them down because their goal is to wear us down when they’re on defense and make us make mistakes.’ We allowed them to do that too much and we have to trust what we know is the right thing: ball movement.”

Denver outnumbered Marquette in nearly every statistical category. The Pioneers outshot the Golden Eagles 35-21 and won the ground-ball battle, 23-20, while forcing a total of 27 turnovers on the afternoon.

Up Next

With the loss, the Golden Eagles earned the No. 2 seed in next weekend’s conference tournament. Marquette will take on No. 3 seed UConn May 5 at 12 p.m. CST in Storrs, Connecticut.

This article was written by Ben Hanson. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @benhansonMU.

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About the Contributor
Benjamin Hanson
Benjamin Hanson, Sports Reporter
Ben Hanson is a sophomore from Minneapolis, Minnesota studying journalism, digital media and advertising. He is a sports reporter and the assistant social media producer for the Marquette Wire for the 2023-2024 school year. When he's not in the newsroom, he likes creative writing, being with friends and going to sporting events. He is excited to be able to spread the word of the Marquette Wire because it has done so much for him while also refining his sports writing.

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