11.1 Weekend Preview: Soccer Senior Night Doubleheader Edition

Rob Carr

Welcome to November, everyone.

It's a busy weekend, as always. Volleyball goes out on the road for two matches, the two soccer teams host a Senior Night doubleheader on Saturday night, and while we won't discuss it here, women's basketball has an exhibition game against UW-Whitewater on Friday night.

We'll start with the soccer, as they're at home and it's the final regular season home games of the season for them.

#7/#14 Women's Soccer (15-3-0, 8-0-0 Big East)

While they've wrapped up the Big East regular season title and the number 1 seed in the Big East tournament, there is still something to play for: a perfect conference record. Each of the last two seasons, Marquette had their conference record spoiled by one team. In 2011, it was West Virginia handing them one of the two regular season losses they suffered that season, and in 2012, Connecticut played MU to a 1-1 tie.

Marquette will honor the careers of their eight seniors before Saturday's match. Katie Hishmeh, Cara Jacobson, Emily Jacobson, Maegan Kelly, Vanessa Legault-Cordisco, Taylor Madigan, Kate Reigle, and Ashley Stemmeler have won four regular season Big East championships and have a 5-3 record in the NCAA tournament, winning at least one game each of their first three seasons. They already have one Big East tournament championship and will get a chance to add on to that next weekend.

Match 14: vs Butler (11-5-2, 4-4-0 Big East)

When: Saturday, November 2, at 5:30pm
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: The match will have FREE LIVE VIDEO as is now the custom in the freshly revamped Valley. Live stats will be here.
Special Promotions: There will be a bonfire starting at 6:30 on the middle turf field down at the Valley. I suspect this is mostly for students, but GoMarquette.com says there will be free Qdoba, hot chocolate, and s'mores. PLUS: Students will get a chance to pick up their Fanatics Tshirts.
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer

The Bulldogs were picked to finish seventh in the Big East. As of right now, they're fourth in the league with 12 points. While things can still shift around by the end of the day on Saturday, I'd have to call their first season in the Big East a fairly big success. While they started out 0-3, they've rallied to win four of their last five matches, and give themselves a shot at hosting a quarterfinal match in the Big East tournament.

The big reason for their success? Sophomore Sophia Maccagnone. The midfielder was so good as a freshman that she made the all-Atlantic 10 first team has stepped right into her new conference and continued to shine. Maccagnone is second in the league in goals with nine, and tied for fourth in assists with seven. That combination has her tied for the second most points in the league, and really, it's tied for first, because it's unfair to count the 18 goals from the time traveling goal scoring robot that St. John's refers to as Rachel Daly.

Senior Julie Burton has been great in net for Butler. She has the second best goals-against average in the league at 0.73, and you can't fault her for not having as great of a season as DePaul's Alejandria Godinez. Burton is also stopping 78% of the shots on goal, and while that's middle of the pack in the Big East, eight of the keepers are somewhere between 81% and 73%.

#18 Men's Soccer (9-4-2, 5-1-1 Big East)

/rubs St. Jude medal, prays for goals

Marquette will honor their seniors as a part of this match. Paul Dillon, Bryan Ciesiulka, Adam Lysak, Andrew Krynski, and Eric Pothast have been key components of the revival of the men's soccer program under the guide of Louis Bennett. Redshirt seniors Lysak and Krynski joined MU for a season where the team went 4-11-3, while the other three were freshmen for a squad that went 7-8-4. Marquette has won more games than the year before in each season that the seniors have been on campus to bring them to this point, where the team is a regular for national rankings and currently sitting tied for first place in the Big East.

Match 16: vs Seton Hall (7-7-2, 3-4-0 Big East)

When: Saturday, November 2, at 8pm, or about 30 minutes after the end of the women's match.
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: FREE LIVE VIDEO is the standard in the Valley now, and this match is no different. Live stats will be here.
Special Promotions: There will be a bonfire starting at 6:30 on the middle turf field down at the Valley. I suspect this is mostly for students, but GoMarquette.com says there will be free Qdoba, hot chocolate, and s'mores. PLUS: Students will get a chance to pick up their Fanatics Tshirts.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer

I feel so terrible for Seton Hall's defenders, particularly Mateusz Brela and Julian Kennedy. Those two gentlemen have started all 16 matches for the Pirates, and they've done their damndest to help freshman keeper Julian Spindler out as much as possible in a league as heavily stacked as the Big East. Their work has mostly paid off: Spindler has the fewest saves in the Big East with 37. Unfortunately, 26 balls have made their way past Spindler into the net, which gives him a goals-against average of 1.73 and a save percentage of .587. If you haven't already guessed, yes, those are both the worst marks amongst the regular keepers in the Big East.

Yet, even with this difficulty at keeper, SHU is still currently in a three way tie for the sixth and final playoff spot in the Big East tournament at nine points. In fact, hosting a quarterfinal match is still on the table for the Pirates, but they will probably need wins in both this match and their finale against St. John's to lock that in.

Freshman Samuel Geiler leads the Pirates attack with eight goals on the season. That has him with the fourth most in the league, but only because of a three way tie for first with 10. Geiler does have a Offensive Player of the Week award to his credit, but not a Rookie of the Week award, and he's probably not the leader for Rookie of the Year, as Butler's David Goldsmith is one of the three men with 10 goals. Geiler also has four assists on the season, second most on the team behind junior Victor Manosalvas.

Volleyball (15-5, 7-1 Big East)

On October 13, Marquette had what was easily their worst performance of the year as they were swept by Creighton and suffered their first loss to an unranked team and first loss in Big East play. Since then, Marquette hasn't lost a set, picking up straight set wins against DePaul, Villanova, Georgetown, and yes, those same Bluejays. As a result, the Golden Eagles have the longest winning streak in the league and a one game lead in the standings over both Creighton and Xavier.

Freshman Autumn Bailey's kills average is back above four per set, and redshirt freshman Meghan Niemann has stepped into the void left by Danielle Carlson as MU's most accurate attacker. Niemann currently ranks third in the Big East with a hitting percentage of .338. Even more impressive is Lindsey Gosh sneaking into the top ten in the league at .299. The junior outside hitter has adapted whatever it is that has made her lefty serve more accurate to work for her at the net as well. Elizabeth Koberstein is her usual helpful self, leading the Big East and ranking ninth in the country at 11.70 assists per set.

Match 21: at Butler (18-5, 5-3 Big East)

When: Friday, November 1, at 6pm Central
Where: Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana
Audio/Visual: It appears that the match will be streamed for free through ButlerSports.com. Live stats will be here.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteVB

Butler's performing a bit ahead of expectations so far this season. They were picked to finish sixth in the Big East by the preseason coaches' poll, and right now, they're sitting in fourth place. More importantly, they're the reason that Marquette is currently alone in first place, as they picked up a season split with Creighton. The Bulldogs suffered their other two losses in league play at the hands of Xavier, so I'm sure that they're eyeing their two cracks at the Golden Eagles as an excellent opportunity to make sure that they end up as one of the four teams that go to Omaha for the Big East tournament in late November.

Junior Belle Obert leads Butler in both kills per set (3.39, 7th in BE) and Weekly Honor Roll appearances (2). Setter Morgan Peterson earned a Player of the Week award earlier this season. Peterson only averages 9.60 assists per set, but she also averages 1.35 kills and 2.32 digs, so she's comfortable moving around the floor, too. Middle blocker Erica Stahl earned the most recent Player of the Week honors, and she leads the conference in blocks at 1.43 per set. Brooke Ruffolo anchors the back line with 4.75 digs/set, marking her at fourth best in the conference. Butler's success this season has come without senior jack of all trades Claire Randich, who tore her ACL & MCL in the Bulldogs' fourth match of the season.

Match 22: at Xavier (15-8, 6-2 Big East)

When: Saturday, November 2, at 6pm Central
Where: Cintas Center, in Cincinnati, Ohio
Audio/Visual: The Musketeers are cool, so they have FREE streaming video for you. Live stats will be here.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteVB

Ah, the third place Musketeers. Their only league losses came in a season sweep by Creighton, so like Butler, they will assuredly be ready to take their two shots at Marquette. Xavier is kind of like Marquette, in that they've lost every match that they played against a ranked opponent this season. However, Xavier also went into a four match tailspin, including all three at the UC Irvine Invitational to fall to 7-6 on the season heading into conference play. But they've bounced back nicely as you can tell from that 15-8 record.

There's Musketeers all over the weekly conference awards. While no one has earned a Player of the Week nod, freshman Abbey Bessler has a Rookie of the Week award and three Weekly Honor Roll appearances, while the Smith sisters - senior middle blocker Alex and junior setter Aubree - have both been on the Honor Roll twice. Alex Smith leads the Big East in hitting percentage at .402, but that's the kind of thing that happens when you hit .706 (12 kills on 17 attacks, no errors) in three sets against Central Michigan. Bessler leads XU with 3.64 kills/set, while Aubree Smith is one of three setters clustered between 10.7 & 10.9 assists per set that are chasing Koberstein for the best mark in the league. Outside hitter Sarah Brown is actually their digs leader, getting to 3.97 balls per set, just slightly more than libero Lauren Metzger's 3.64.

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