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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette misses out on postseason after 17-14 loss to Villanova

Photo by Forster Goodrich
Marquette ends the season 6-11 overall and 2-4 in conference play.

One team would advance to the Big East Championships, the other’s season season would end.

These were the stakes for Marquette women’s lacrosse’s do-or-die matchup against Villanova.

Both teams came into Saturday’s matinee 2-3 in Big East play, and a win secured the final spot and with it the No. 4 seed in the conference tournament.

Although the Golden Eagles (6-11, 2-4 Big East) performed resiliently throughout the first half, a stronger second half by Villanova meant the Wildcats won, 17-14.

“We knew it was going to be a close game, we’re pretty evenly matched,” Marquette head coach Meredith Black said. “I think we did everything we could, made a few mistakes, but you always make mistakes.

“We had each other’s backs, and at the end of the day just didn’t quite score one more goal than them.”

Clear skies

The energy throughout the first half was electric. Marquette came out striking with three straight goals by Meg Bireley, Leigh Steiner and Tess Osburn.

The Golden Eagles held Villanova scoreless until the last five minutes in the first period, when the Wildcats would score their own three and tie it up.

Marquette would then out score Villanova 7-4 in the second period, a lot of goals coming as a result of free position shots.

In the first, the Golden Eagles only made one of their four given. While in the second, they improved to four goals off five shots and took a 10-7 lead going into the break.

Unraveling a storm

However a Wildcat storm rumbled in.

Villanova had four critical goals throughout the third to bring them within one (12-11), and Marquette struggled in an area it normally dominates, the draw control, getting beaten 6-1.

The Golden Eagles then started to unravel in the fourth, allowing Villanova to go on a 4-0 run in the first six minutes of the period, while it was held to not even a single shot.

Marquette’s only glimmer of hope would come from their microwave scorer Meg Bireley, who put two into the net at the 8:01 mark, but it wasn’t enough.

A ‘learning season’

It was always going to be hard for the Golden Eagles to recreate their 2023 successes when they were without many of last year’s leaders.

Program greats like Mary Schumar, Lydia Foust and Shea Garcia had left and younger players took their spots.

The inexperience was evident all season.

Marquette opened the year with an 18-12 win over Cincinnati, but that was the only time it was over .500.

The Golden Eagles finished non-conference play 4-7, five of them coming on the road.

Once Big East began, the road struggle continued as they dropped another two away games — at UConn and Denver — to finished 2-7 outside of Valley Fields.

“I think the season was a massive learning season for our team and for our program. We had a newer team, just an inexperienced team on the field the whole season,” Black said.

“I think the future is bright. We were able to get a lot of experience to our less experienced kids and I think we had a really strong culture this season as well.”

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 Contributors
Sofie Hanrahan
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.
Forster Goodrich
Forster Goodrich, Staff Photographer
Forster Goodrich is a sophomore from Lyme, New Hampshire studying digital media. Forster works on the photography desk as a Staff Photographer. Outside of the Wire, he is on the club waterski team, and enjoys everything outdoors. He is looking forward to the upcoming basketball season and getting to photograph games at Fiserv Forum.

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