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Marquette Wire

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Marquette Wire

Bireley stepping into the spotlight in junior season

Meg Bireley leads the nation in goals with 46. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Among the many words Marquette women’s lacrosse head coach Meredith Black uses to describe Meg Bireley, “flashy” is not one of them.

Not even after her career-high — and tied single-game program record eight goals in the Golden Eagle’s game at Ohio State March 12.

“That’s Meg in a nutshell,” Black said. “If you catch me right after the game before I’ve seen any stats and you say how many goals did Meg have today, I would say she probably had two goals. She is just so not flashy, she gets the job done so quietly. Obviously I know she scored, but I didn’t know she scored eight times.” 

It’s what makes the junior attacker such an important player for Marquette.

“I’m sure it’s frustrating to play against her,” Black said. “It’s not like she has one move, that’s why you can’t stop her. She can do everything — she can drive herself, she can cut well, she can read the defense, she can score well in transition.” 

In the Golden Eagles’ historic season last year, leading the pack was program veterans Shea Garcia, Lydia Foust and Mary Schumer. But in their departures, it left Bireley to fill their shoes.

“They were so good at their position on the team and I knew I wanted to be like them so I really tried to watch what they did and I learned a lot from them,” Bireley said. “I remember they were so willing and had such a good work ethic because they just wanted to score.”

Bireley has gone from being in their shadows to being thrust into the spotlight.

“She’s the targeted player,” Black said. “She’s our leading scorer, she’s what people are looking out for when they play us so she has to lead our team. She’s asked to be more vocal than she’s ever had to be so her role has probably changed the most out of anybody on the team from last year to this year.” 

Not only does her 46 goals lead Marquette, it also makes her the highest-scoring player in the nation. It all has led her to being named Big East Attacker of the Week three times this year. But to her, it is not a solo achievement.

“It felt pretty good but it’s obviously all thanks to my teammates,” Bireley said. “In our offense we were passing the ball so well and it made it easier to score. Our draw team was winning a lot of draws and our defense had a lot of stops to get us the ball.”

Bireley has gone through a lot of development to get to where she is today, and continues to grow.

In the Golden Eagles’ 15-4 win against Eastern Michigan March 17, Bireley contributed five goals on a career-high 15 shots, which — like her eight goals against the Buckeyes — tied the single-game program record.

“I love just watching her develop as an all-around athlete,” Black said. “I think she’s learning to use her voice and I really love that. Now I’m starting to get inside Meg’s head, and that’s really cool because she has so much to offer herself and her teammates and our program so I love watching her find her way.”

But for Bireley, it’s just business, and there is much more to be accomplished. 

“Whenever we’re in a new season we try to focus on our team now,” Bireley said. “At the same time I think that was really great for our team to see how great we can be and it kind of set a standard and new expectations for our team to get to that spot again. I’m just trying to focus on working as hard as I can and being the best teammate that I can to help our team win.”

This story was written by Sofie Hanrahan. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter/X @SofieHanrahanMU.

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About the Contributor
Sofie Hanrahan, Sports Reporter
Sofie Hanrahan is a first-year from Naperville, Illinois joining the Wire as a sports reporter for the 2023-2024 school year. She is studying digital media and film and media studies. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys watching soccer and movies. Sofie is looking forward to developing her writing skills and making connections in the sports community.

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