The Marquette women’s lacrosse team’s inaugural home opener was spoiled in front of 301 freezing fans, as the Duquesne Dukes defeated the Golden Eagles 11-7 Saturday.
Marquette entered the game coming off an overtime thriller against Coastal Carolina to win its first game in program history but was unable to keep up with the established Duquesne team.
Duquesne sophomore Amanda Kidder opened the scoring 4:24 in, but Marquette’s point leader, freshman attacker Claire Costanza, responded just 23 seconds later to knot the game at one.
The tie would soon be broken, as the Dukes scored four unanswered goals and dominated the remainder of the half. Marquette finally stopped the bleeding with nine seconds to go, as sophomore attacker Nicole Gleason scored on the woman-up advantage to end a more than 25-minute scoring drought.
The Golden Eagles were outshot 17-6 in the first half, as the offense was unable to click. The lack of shots led to the scoring drought, but Coach Meredith Black said the team was not mentally confident, which hurt team chemistry.
“Duquesne is established, so obviously I think our team might have worried about that a little when we didn’t need to,” Black said. “We can compete with any team in the country, and they need to believe in that.”
The Golden Eagles looked more confident in the second half as they came out of the locker room a different team.
The Dukes struck first in the second half, followed by a free-position shot opportunity that made a repeat of the first half look imminent. But the defense stepped up to stop the free-position shot, and Marquette scooped up a ground ball and took it the other way where Gleason scored her second of the game.
The goal sparked a 2-1 run that brought the Golden Eagles within two, and after each team added a pair of goals, the score stood at 9-7.
“I was very happy with the fact that our team is notorious for not giving up,” Black said. “We didn’t give up in this game, and I think once the game started going, they started believing that they can win.”
Unfortunately, this was as close as the Golden Eagles would get, as they would be shut out for the final 17 minutes despite many opportunities on offense.
Drama ensued late as Marquette attempted to overcome the 10-7 deficit. With 3:09 left, a Marquette goal was disallowed, and the Dukes scored on the following possession, crushing any hope for a comeback.
“You just can’t control what’s going to get called,” Black said. “Instead of putting our heads down, we’ve got to be able to get that ball back and score again.”
Despite the loss, redshirt freshman defender and captain Jenaye Coleman said the team proved something.
“I think we surprised a lot of people,” Coleman said. “People just assume that against an established team we’re just going to probably come out and get smashed, but I think we showed Marquette and we showed the community that we’re here and we’re ready and we’re going to compete with every team that we play against this year.”
The Golden Eagles return to Valley Fields on Sunday at 1 p.m. to face Detroit.