The Marquette’s women’s lacrosse squad will officially open fall competition Saturday at Notre Dame, and it will be challenged from the start against a potent Irish team.
The Golden Eagles will not let it get the best of them, though. The team will use this opportunity to evaluate its areas of strength and improvement instead of focusing on the scoreboard.
“We just want to go out there and work hard and see where we kind of are in the grand scheme of things,” coach Meredith Black said. “Notre Dame is a Big East opponent this year for us so we’ll play them in the (regular) season. It’s a great place to go and play. There really aren’t any expectations. It’s more going and seeing our team work hard and play against somebody else.”
The players have been practicing intensely for the past two weeks in preparation for the fall season.
The team held a split-squad scrimmage last week under regulation timing, and players have been fine tuning their fundamentals. Freshman defender Molly McQuade is ready to transition from practicing to playing.
“I’m beyond anxious to play,” McQuade said. “I haven’t played in a real game in over a year so I think a lot of us are excited about this game. This first game coming up will be a good starting point for us.”
Black doesn’t expect the Irish to ease up whatsoever, and she prefers they don’t so she can measure exactly how much improvement needs to be made as the spring draws nearer.
“They’re not going to hold back, but at the same time I don’t think either team is in it to win by a hundred goals,” Black said. “All fall games for most teams are an evaluation period and seeing where you’re team is at. It’s about your own team in the fall and how you can improve. I think Notre Dame is on the same page in that sense.”
These games will also assist in developing camaraderie. Freshman midfielder Lauren Radtke has seen vast improvement in team chemistry over the last two weeks.
“I think for sure our team chemistry is coming together because half the team is new, and it’s hard to go and play a sport when half are new,” Radtke said. “I think we’ve done a really good job of coming together and learning how to play with one another.”
As for the team’s chances of giving Notre Dame a scare, McQuade realizes that anything can happen, especially in the program’s first game, but she would like to learn from the match more than anything.
“The more important thing is the experience of it,” McQuade said. “Obviously, we’re going to play to win and we’re always going to do that every game, but it’s more about the learning experience out of it.”