10.25 Weekend Preview: Wall To Wall Action

USA TODAY Sports

The biggest match of the men's soccer season, a women's soccer match for a large quantity of marbles, and on top of that, there's still two more volleyball matches this weekend.

God bless volleyball for hosting three games in three days, but due to real life interceding, we had to skip past the Creighton match, which as it turns out, WAS AWESOME. We'll start off the preview action with the two soccer matches, and wrap up with the two volleyball matches left to play this weekend.

#24/#16 Men's Soccer (9-3-2, 5-0-1 Big East)

Scoreless draws suck.

You can only be left with a bad taste in your mouth, as even if you played stellar defense to keep the ball out of the net, you know that your team HAD to do that to manage to come away with a point. Such was the case on Wednesday night as MU suffered their first non-win in Big East play and breaking a four match winning streak.

In any case, it looks like the draw with St. John's hasn't affected the possible results of Saturday night's match with second place Georgetown. As fate would have it, the two teams tied for third place, Xavier and Providence, are playing today. If they play to a draw and Marquette defeats Georgetown, Marquette clinches at least a share of the Big East regular season title. If someone comes away from the PC-XU match with a win, Marquette still has a chance at locking up a bye to the Big East tournament semifinals, as only one team (the PC-XU winner) could pass them and Marquette owns head to head tiebreakers over anyone who would be capable of tying them (the PC-XU loser or Georgetown). The important thing is this: Win and good things will happen.

Marquette has been held scoreless for just over 107 minutes, and they've only managed one goal in four of their six Big East matches. While redshirt sophomore C. Nortey has the fourth most goals in the league with seven and freshman midfielder Louis Bennett II cracks into a tie for the top 10 with four tallies on the season, Marquette is going to need more of an offensive punch to beat the nationally ranked Hoyas because...

Match 15: vs #11/#9 Georgetown (11-3-1, 4-1-1 Big East)

When: Saturday, October 26, at 7pm Central
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: Marquette loves you, so the match will have LIVE FREE VIDEO. Live stats will be here.
Special Promotions: GOLD OUT! It's going to be cold on Saturday night, so layer up and get your gold on the exterior to show your support. The first 250 students will get a Marquette Soccer rally towel, which you can see here. Also, there's trick-or-treating and face painting for the kids when the gates open at 6pm.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer

... there are three men in the Big East who have scored ten goals so far this season, and two of them play for Georgetown. One of them is senior Steve Neumann, the preseason Big East Offensive Player of the Year, and the other is sophomore sensation Brandon Allen. Both men were named to the preseason all-conference team, and they've added eight assists to Georgetown's stat sheet between them as well.

Not only is Marquette going to have to find a way to counter the talented feet of Georgetown's field players, there's the quick hands of Tomas Gomez to worry about as well. The Hoyas keeper has the best goals-against average (0.49) and save percentage (.854) in the Big East. Gomez has done this behind a stout defensive core, as he has the third fewest saves in the league.

Georgetown's only two stumbles in league play came in a scoreless draw against Creighton at home and in a 2-1 loss to Xavier in Cincinnati. The loss to the Musketeers was the only defeat that the Hoyas have suffered in their last 11 matches.

#9/#17 Women's Soccer (14-3-0, 7-0-0 Big East)

It's amazing what a nine match winning streak will do for your reputation on a national level.

10 matches ago, #22 ranked Marquette dropped a 3-2 decision to Illinois State after allowing three quick goals in the first half and as a result, dropped out of the national rankings completely. But now Soccer America has the Golden Eagles back in the top 10, while the NSCAA's coaches' poll has them at #16 and Top Drawer Soccer has them at 14.

In the last nine and a half matches, Marquette has allowed only four goals. Two to the two best players on the team currently in first place in the AAC, one to the goal scoring robot from the future who has nearly doubled up the rest of the Big East, and one on a spectacularly bent in corner kick. That's it. Keeper Amanda Engel has kept the ball out of her net for an outstanding 374:39 consecutive minutes right now, and adding another 90 minutes to that total will give Marquette a fifth consecutive regular season Big East title.

Maegan Kelly is sitting on a career mark of 35 goals and 36 assists, for a total of 116 points. This puts her seven points behind all time career points leader Kelly Roethe. It's not going to be easy, as after the next two matches, Marquette's going to need wins to keep playing, but a couple of goals and we are looking at history in the making. Kelly already has the all time assists record (and 11 more than her sister Katie, by the way), and she probably can't catch Kate Gordon or Roethe to move higher than third on the all time goals list, but that points record is definitely on the table.

Meanwhile, during all of this great goaltending and record setting offense, junior midfielder Mary Luba has the third most goals in the Big East and leads Marquette. Just saying.

Did I mention that Marquette can win the Big East regular season title with a win? Because this seems important.

Match 18: vs Providence (5-8-3, 2-5-0 Big East)

When: Sunday, October 27, at 1pm Central
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: While the Valley is equipped for streaming video, I don't know if Marquette is equipped to stream two games at once. Volleyball's playing Georgetown at the exact same time, so that one gets the video priority. Live stats for this match will be here.
Special Promotions: The first 500 students in attendance get a MU Soccer buff, which you can see here. If you bring a church bulletin from October 19-27, you get in for free. There will be trick-or-treating and facepainting for the kids when the gates open at noon.
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer

Providence have made one of the more difficult to understand decisions. After freshman Kristyn Shea held things down in net and guided the Friars to a 3-2-3 record in the non-conference schedule, she let in two goals in 56 minutes against Cincinnati and got lifted. She was replaced by Megan Sweeney for 25 minutes, and then Jessica Goudreault played the last 8 minutes. Goudreault has played all of the minutes since that point, in what is a completely logic defying move. If you want to make an argument that the competition level increased dramatically going from the non-con schedule to the Big East schedule, and that's why Goudreault has the worst goals-against average and save percentage amongst keepers with at least 500 minutes played, fine. But Goudreault is worse this year than she was last year, and with no indication of injury in anything on Providence's website, I can't explain why Goudreault is playing over Shea.

Sophomore Catherine Zimmerman has caught fire lately to jump to the top of the goals column on Providence's stat sheet and pay off on the promise that she had when she was named to the preseason all-conference team. Kathryn Hiller is right behind Zimmerman with five goals, which puts both of them in the top 12 in the league. Senior Amanda Webster has steadily added assists all season long, totaling six to this point to lead PC, which has her tied for ninth most in the Big East.

Volleyball (12-5, 4-1 Big East)

(Note: I wrote all of this before the Creighton match.)

Bond Shymansky is a mad scientist.

Out of the middle of nowhere, he gives Teal Schnurr her first collegiate action and her first career start in a match against a DePaul team that just two weeks earlier pushed Marquette to the limit. The result? Schnurr posts five kills and four blocks while hitting .200, which is actually better than than the .186 that DePaul posted as a team. With the win, Marquette sits in second place, a half game behind Creighton and a half game in front of Xavier. Marquette finds themselves in the unique situation where they will play three games in three days, which will provide them a chance to bounce to the front of the standings, especially with Friday's match coming against those league leading Bluejays.

Autumn Bailey has a potential rival for Big East Freshman of the Year developing on her own team. Nele Barber was named Freshman of the Week for the first time this week after recording 12 kills without an error against DePaul. Barber becomes one of four players who have evenly split the four newcomer honors that Bailey hasn't won herself. Bailey still has the team lead in kills at 3.97, which has her only trailing the crazypants 4.47 that Karin Palgutova is putting up for St. John's. Elizabeth Koberstein's 11.58 assists lead the Big East and have her ranked 10th in the country. Lindsey Gosh sat out the match against DePaul, which means we'll have to see how much she'll play this weekend and if she'll get a chance to build on her .61 aces per set, which is the fourth best mark in the country.

Match 19: vs Villanova (11-9, 3-4 Big East)

When: Saturday, October 26, at 5pm Central
Where: Al McGuire Center
Audio/Visual: I'm guessing the athletic department isn't going to test the streaming server by having the men's soccer match against Georgetown overlap with this, so there's no video for this one. Live stats will be here.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteVB

After a six match winning streak that boosted their record to 10-5, the Wildcats have dropped four of their last five matches, with the lone victory coming against St. John's. In other words, they've kind of been all over the place.

Freshman Lauren Carpenter leads VU in kills with a strong 3.71/set that has her ranked fourth best in the Big East. In fact, Carpenter and sophomore Claire Crutchfield were the only two Wildcats to break into double digits in kills in the four set battle between these two squads back on October 5th. Libero Mariah Henley averages more than five digs per set, but Marquette was able to limit her effectiveness in the first match of the round robin, allowing Henley to only record 13 digs in the four sets that they played.

Side note: I love this in the profile for freshman Jackie Greenberg: "Father played college basketball and was a guard at Fairleigh Dickinson." They appear to have left out "Used to be the head men's basketball coach at Virginia Tech and currently works as a college basketball analyst for ESPN."

Match 20: vs Georgetown (9-12, 3-5 Big East)

When: Sunday, October 27, at 1pm Central
Where: Al McGuire Center
Audio/Visual: Even though women's soccer is going for the conference title at the same time, this one gets the FREE LIVE STREAMING VIDEO. Live stats will be here.
Special Promotions: It's the Dig Pink game, so Marquette will be trying to raise $7,000 to get Bond Shymansky *AND* Buzz Williams to wear blue and gold bib overalls for the match against Xavier. Also, anyone wearing pink gets in for $2, the first 200 fans get free pizza, and students attending the match get three credits towards the postseason PS4/airfare voucher drawing.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteVB

I know that I tried to talk up DePaul last week as a result of the five set battle that the Blue Demons put Marquette through in their first encounter of the season. But MU put them away in straight sets in the McGuire Center, and last night, the Hoyas beat DePaul 3-1, firmly entrenching the losers in last place in the Big East. I can tell you that the Hoyas have won three of their last five, which sounds pretty good. I can also tell you that the Hoyas have won three of their last 10 matches, which sounds less good.

Marquette has the best team hitting percentage in the conference and can afford to also be ranked last opponents' hitting percentage. Georgetown has the worst hitting percentage in the Big East, so it's a double whammy for them to have the second worst opponents' hitting percentage. While Lauren Saar leads GU in kills/set this season, it's Alex Johnson that Marquette has to worry about. Johnson hit .382 en route to 15 kills in MU's 3-0 win earlier this season while no other Hoya managed more than eight kills. Even though she's an outside hitter, Saar still manages to lead Georgetown and rank 10th in the league in digs per set at 3.43.

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