2013 Big East Women's Soccer Tournament Semifinals Preview

Maegan Kelly and Marquette have the challenge of keeping Rachel Daly out of the net. - Marcus Snowden/MarquetteImages.com

The Big East tournament comes to Milwaukee! LIVE at Valley Fields tomorrow night!

Tomorrow! Live from Valley Fields, the home for Marquette soccer! It's the Big East Women's Soccer Tournament Semifinals!

Holy crap, this is exciting!


Semifinal #1: #2 Georgetown vs #3 DePaul

When: Friday, November 8, at 5pm
Audio/Visual: Here's the link to live stats, as it looks like Marquette will not be streaming this match.
Previous Meeting: 1-1 draw on September 26, 2013 (Goddard, 2'; Kroening, 57')

The regular season match between the Hoyas and the Blue Demons is arguably the reason that Marquette won the regular season title. DePaul went into Washington, D.C., scored a very early goal, withstood a crazy second half attack where they were outshot 13-3 and only gave up one goal, and somehow managed to escape with a draw. That draw and the loss to Marquette are the only two blemishes on the Hoyas' conference record, and that gave the 9-0-0 Golden Eagles the league crown. Alejandria Godinez was ON FIRE in net for DePaul, making 14 saves, including two on a penalty kick try by Georgetown's offensive star, Daphne Corboz.

It's going to take another outstanding performance from Godinez, the Big East's leader in goals-against average (0.64) and save percentage (0.899) for the Blue Demons to beat #8/#15 Georgetown in this rematch. The draw, one of just three non-victories for the Hoyas this season, has to weigh in the back of every Georgetown player's mind, and by statistics alone, this is an offensive mismatch. The Hoyas have three players who have tied or surpassed the seven goals recorded DePaul's leading goal scorer, Elise Wyatt, and they have two more players with six goals. Georgetown has four players who have recorded more assists than Wyatt's four, including Corboz and Audra Ayotte, who are two of the three players in the league who hit double digits in assists.

Emma Newins is no slouch in net for Georgetown, by the way. The sophomore netminder has the second best goals-against average in the league (0.71), and has only given up more than one goal on two occasions this season. Although, I bet that if DePaul head coach Erin Chastain asks nicely, Marquette head man Markus Roeders might let her take a look at his game notes. Meanwhile, we can watch Marquette score four goals on Georgetown again!

Semifinal #2: #1 Marquette vs #4 St. John's

When: Friday, November 8, at 7:30 pm, or approximately 30 minutes after the first match ends
Audio/Visual: LIVE FREE STREAMING for you out-of-towners. Live stats will be here.
Previous Meeting: Marquette won, 3-1 (Daly, 49'; Kelly, 57'; Bartels, 72'; Luba, 90')

Before Butler's Elise Kotsakis found the back of the net in 86th minute of Marquette's regular season finale, the Golden Eagles had gone 577:33 minutes without allowing a goal. The previous player to find a way to put a ball past keeper Amanda Engel? The Red Storm's Rachel Daly.

I have offered the theory that Daly is, in fact, not human, but a time traveling goal scoring robot. She scored twice in a seven minute span in the second half of Tuesday's quarterfinal match against Butler to move the Johnnies from a 1-0 deficit to a 2-1 lead. Those two goals moved her to 22 on the season, adding on to the single season record that she had already broken. She has 47 points on the season, nearly 20 more than any other player in the league, and more than twice as many goals as any other player in the league.

So that's the bad news. The good news is that there's almost no reason to be afraid of any other offensive threat from St. John's. Senior Amy Marron and freshman Morgan Tinari both have four goals, but because I've had to keep track of my own stats for the Big East this season, I don't remember the last time I had to update either of their goal totals. Freshman keeper Diana Poulin has been solid all season, with a goals-against average of 0.94 and a save percentage of 0.792.

Marquette comes into the match ranked #6 in the country by Soccer America and #13 by the NSCAA coaches' poll. Slightly more importantly, they're ranked #3 in the most recent NCAA RPI calculation, leading ESPNW's Graham Hayes to theorize that MU could earn a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament if they win the Big East championship.

But one match at a time.

Freshman Ashley Handwork won her second straight Rookie of the Week award this week, while Emily Jacobson got her second Honor Roll slot this season, which led me to lock her in as my pick for Defensive Player of the Year. Maegan Kelly (9G, 7A), Mary Luba (7G, 4A), and Taylor Madigan (5G, 6A) all joined her on my picks for the all-Big East team. 10 different Golden Eagles have scored goals this season, while sophomore keeper Amanda Engel has done an excellent job managing her defense in front of her. Her 0.741 save percentage doesn't appear to be that great, but amongst keepers who played in 75% of their team's games, she's had to make the fewest saves with 43, one fewer than Georgetown's Emma Newins.

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