When: Sunday, November 17, 2013, at 11:30am Central
Where: PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania
Audio/Visual: The match will be broadcast on Fox Sports 2. Live stats will be here.
Previous Meeting: Marquette defeated Providence 1-0 on October 19. Goal: Bennett (73')
How They Got Here
#2 Marquette (11-5-2, 6-2-1 Big East)
While the Golden Eagles are the two seed in this year's Big East tournament, they finished the year as regular season co-champions with Georgetown. But even that wasn't a triumph for Marquette as they ended the regular season as the only team in the league to lose to last place DePaul, falling 2-1 in the regular season finale. As the two seed, Marquette earned a bye to the semfinals on Friday night, where they defeated Butler 1-0 in overtime, thanks to a golden goal from senior Adam Lysak.
C. Nortey is the goals and points leader for Marquette, sitting at fifth in the Big East in points with 20 and fourth in goals with nine. The talented striker from Ghana is the biggest offensive threat for MU, but it's also not a very complicated race. Freshman Louis Bennett II has scored four goals, and only Lysak's game winner on Friday night has given a third player more than two goals this season. In their six wins in league play, Marquette only scored nine goals, and four of them were from Nortey. Charlie Lyon was outstanding for Marquette this season, recording a goals-against average of 0.85 and a save percentage of .805 and he ended up as the 2013 Big East Co-Goalkeeper of the Year for his efforts.
#4 Providence (11-4-3, 6-3-0 Big East)
The Friars finished tied for the second best record in the Big East, earning the same number of wins as co-champs Georgetown and Marquette, but finishing with three losses instead of two losses and a draw. Due to tiebreakers, they ended up as the fourth seed in the tournament and defeated Creighton 2-1 in the quarterfinals on the pitch at Ray Treacy track on their Rhode Island campus. In Friday's semifinal match, PC played Georgetown, the top overall seed and #7 team in the country according to the NSCAA coaches' poll, to a scoreless draw through 110 minutes. That sent the match to penalty kicks to see who would advance. Keasel Broome and Tomas Gomez each made one save, but by virtue of Georgetown's Alex Muyl missing a kick high, the Friars won the shootout 5-4 and advanced to face Marquette.
Providence had three players honored by the Big East in their postseason awards. Freshman Julian Gressel, who also leads the Friars in points with 12, was named to the all-conference Second Team and the All-Rookie Team, while defender Brandon Adler and midfielder Phil Towler were acknowledged as all-conference Honorable Mention. Gressel is tied for the team lead in goals with, believe it or not, my pick for Big East Defensive Player of the Year Anthony Baumann. The senior midfielder was Defensive Player of the Week twice, and also contributed four goals and two assists to PC's cause this season. Broome hasn't been great for Providence this year (GAA of 1.00 and SV% of .722), but he hasn't needed to be great because of the defense in front of him. That brings us to...
What To Watch For
Marquette's offensive woes vs Providence's stingy defense
I've already mentioned that Marquette has had trouble scoring this season, including a scoreless streak late in the year that spanned parts of four matches. What makes that worrisome for those of us supporting the Blue and Gold is that Providence's defense gave up the fewest shots in the Big East this year. Even though Marquette won the early season matchup between the two teams, it was on a late howler of a goal from LB2, and the Friars outshot the Golden Eagles in that match 18-10.