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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Meredith Black’s ‘gold standard’ helped start women’s lacrosse program from scratch

Meredith Black has been with Marquette women’s lacrosse for every year of the program’s existence. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Meredith Black was with the Marquette women’s lacrosse team before it could even be considered a team.

Before any names were on a roster, and long before there were any practices and games and wins and losses, Black was there.

She has been at the helm of the team for the lows of a 2-15 record in 2013 and the highs of a 15-4 2023 season in which they made their first NCAA tournament appearance.

But in the beginning, she said starting the program in 2012 was extremely challenging.

“It was harder than raising my daughters,” Black said. “Nothing is as difficult as starting a program from scratch like I did. Though at that time, the lack of knowledge of the sport around here was so great because it enabled me to be truly be able to do it my way for our program. We got to forge the path of how we wanted to do things and there were no outside influences.”

Assistant coach Caitlin Wolf joined the team in 2016 and said that she could tell that Black wasn’t just focused on how she coached, but who she coached.

“The way she built her program was about bringing in good people,” Wolf said. “That’s a big part of her recruiting philosophy: recruiting the whole human and the whole family. Her message from the start that’s still ongoing is recruiting players who want to build something special here and leave their jersey in a better place than they found it.”

Marquette women’s lacrosse ahead of its inaugural season in 2012. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

One of these players that joined the team in 2013 was Elizabeth Goslee, who eventually went on to compete with the US National Women’s Lacrosse Team and came back to Marquette as an assistant coach for two years.

But back when she was looking for a Division I school to play at, Black was the one to give her a chance and stuck to her philosophies no matter what.

“She remained very consistent to what she believed in and what she of relied on in times of a lot of losses,” Goslee said. “She trusted the process of hustling all the time on the field, building our relationships and doing whatever it took to try to create the standard that was supposed to guide the team.”

Along with trusting the process, Black established her pillars of philosophy in the WHATS acronym, which stands for work ethic, hustle, accountability, trust and selfless service.

She calls it the “gold standard” and it’s something that she gives each recruit in a packet, that includes more information about the team, before they arrive at Marquette. It even sits posted in their locker room and on some of their previous years’ jerseys.

“Our core principles are our identity,” Black said. “We try to incorporate those things in every single thing we do — on the field, off the field, in the classroom, as humans and as lacrosse players.”

Fifth-year attacker Hannah Greving started her relationship with Black as a freshman in high school, and said Black holds her athletes to this standard because she recruited them for her confidence in them.

“She really holds us accountable because she knows what we’re capable of,” Greving said. “Yes, she’s gonna yell at us when we’re not playing to our standard, but it’s not for no reason. It’s because she knows that we can play better and we’re a much better team when we do play connected.

“She celebrates when we do stuff well and works to find those solutions, so we can be better and make the change that we need as a team.”

Assistant coach Caitlin Wolf (left) joined the women’s lacrosse coaching staff in 2016. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Black’s willingness to call out players comes from her history of having to start at the bottom with the program. Before you could even really call it one.

Over her 12 years, Marquette has never been the favorite to win it all in the Big East, but that’s the foundation Black said she has established this team on.

It’s obvious when she yells to all the players in the locker room, “Let’s go f—ing win!” before every game.

“I’ve built the team on hustle and a blue collar work ethic,” Black said. “We’re built on being an underdog because we’ve always and still are at this moment one, so we’re built on that mentality.”

Despite the previous season of winning and record-setting, Greving said the idea of working harder has been further engraved into the team.

“There’s definitely been a shift in the mentality now that we’ve hit those big milestones,” Greving said. “We know what it takes because we did win a lot lost year, but there’s still mental challenges like pushing yourself harder, doing the extra work and doing all the stuff that will make that 1% difference. We can still do more.”

The idea of giving everything to the sport has been something that Black said brought this team to where it is today. However, she also prioritizes building relationships off the field.

For Goslee, lessons that Black taught her still stick with her today.

“I’ve continued to coach ever since I left the program and every day, something that Coach Black said or did comes into my thoughts,” Goslee, who now lives in Cincinnati, said. “What really has probably stuck with me is the love for the game, how passionate she is and how she doesn’t give up on anyone or any process. I bring that to the high school girls that I coach now.”

Along with Goslee, countless alumni are still texting Black all the time and coming back to Marquette to visit. Wolf said that these lifelong relationships are evidence of the impact Black has had on her athletes.

“The sign of a great coach is someone who’s not only going to push you to be the best athlete in your four years, but going to push you to be the best person and have your back for life,” Wolf said.

“That makes her pretty special.”

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