Marquette starts their Big East schedule off with Xavier tomorrow night at 6pm Central. We'll go without the usual Weekend Preview and instead take a brief look at how the rest of the league has fared so far this season. One thing we know for sure: Creighton and St. John's have already played a match with the Bluejays taking the early lead in the conference standings on a sweet free kick in the 109th minute from Fabian Herbers.
The numbers in parenthesis next to the stats indicate the conference rank for each statistic.
Ranking: Soccer America - 21, NSCAA - 23
Goals Leader: David Goldsmith, 7 (1st)
Assists Leader: Jeff Adkins and Vincent Mitchell, 4 (T-2nd)
Keeper: Jon Dawson - 0.72 GAA (3rd), .771 SV% (6th)
Here's the crazy thing: the Bulldogs picked up those two national rankings BEFORE beating defending national champion Indiana on Wednesday night. Not only did they beat the Hoosiers, who had slipped out of the national rankings after three overtime losses, but Butler had to score twice in the last four minutes to push it to overtime, where Goldsmith eventually netted the game winner. The Bulldogs are 5-1 in their last six, with the loss coming to the Northwestern team that bounced MU out of the 2012 NCAA tournament.
Record: 5-1-1, 1-0-0 Big East
Ranking: Soccer America - 4, NSCAA - 3, Top Drawer Soccer - 2
Goals Leader: Timo Pitter, 3 (T-4th)
Assists Leader: Four players tied at 2 (T-11th)
Keeper: Alex Bolowich - 0.96 GAA (5th), .774 SV% (5th)
The Jays started out 4-0-0 and had ascended to the #1 ranking. Since then, they're 1-1-1 with a neutral site 2OT loss to William & Mary, the aforementioned 2OT win over St. John's, and a 2-2 draw against Michigan State. Overall, they've played four straight double overtime games, which has to start draining a team at some point. One of the questions heading into the season was whether Bolowich could prove he deserved the keeper job after Jeff Gal swiped it from him last year before transferring to Virginia in the offseason. With those middle of the pack numbers in an admittedly very strong conference, it's hard to say whether the faith that Elmar Bolowich has in his son has paid off yet.
Goals Leader: Six players tied at 2 (T-11th)
Assists Leader: Michael Stankiewicz, 2 (T-11th)
Keeper: Eric Sorby - 1.29 GAA (9th), .814 SV% (3rd)
For love of all that's holy, would someone PLEASE stop a shot before it gets to Sorby already? He's got the fourth most saves in the country at 48, and for comparison purposes, he only made 70 stops all of last season. He's doing an amazing job stopping a heavy majority of what's being sent his way, but he's not perfect, which results in a lousy goals-against average just due to sheer volume. DePaul is 0-3-1 in overtime matches this season, and nearly took Northwestern to a scoreless draw. Like, allowed a goal with 10 seconds left almost. Fun fact: A loss to Marquette will give the Blue Demons losses to all four Division 1 programs in the state of Wisconsin.
Ranking: Soccer America - 5, NSCAA - 12, Top Drawer Soccer - 7
Goals Leader: Brandon Allen, 6 (2nd)
Assists Leader: Alex Muyl, 4 (T-2nd)
Keeper: Tomas Gomez - 0.64 GAA (1st), .815 SV% (2nd)
The Hoyas started the season 2-2 with losses to California and in double overtime to a New Mexico side ranked #9 in the country at the time, but have won four straight since then. Georgetown ran off three straight shutouts against Duquesne, James Madison, and Penn along the way, and have rebuilt their rankings after falling to #17 after the loss to UNM. Preseason Offensive Player Of The Year Steve Neumann has been somewhat quiet so far this season. He has three goals, and between Allen picking up where he left off and Muyl producing as a freshman, Georgetown hasn't really needed Neumann to be a major contributor yet.
Goals Leader: Julian Gressel, 3 (T-4th)
Assists Leader: Dominik Machado, 3 (T-7th)
Keeper: Keasel Broome - 1.18 GAA (7th), .643 SV% (9th)
I think we might want to keep an eye on the Friars. That lone loss came in their last contest, a 4-0 shutout against Virginia and noted Creighton transfer Jeff Gal, and Brown was ranked #20 in the country when Providence played them to a 1-1 draw. Junior forward Fabio Machado was named Offensive Player Of The Week back on Monday, and Gressel earned a Freshman Of The Week award earlier this season. Broome's stats aren't exciting relative to the rest of the league, but SHHHH: Marquette's Charlie Lyon is the guy one spot ahead of him in both categories.
Record: 5-2-0, 0-1-0 Big East
Ranking: Soccer America - 7, NSCAA - 9, Top Drawer Soccer - 9
Goals Leader: Sean Sepe, 3 (T-4th)
Assists Leader: Jamie Thomas, 2 (T-11th)
Keeper: Rafael Diaz - 0.68 GAA (2nd), .839 SV% (1st)
Those rankings came after they dropped their conference opener to Creighton, so it's nice to see the pollsters respect losing to a top 10 team in double overtime. The Red Storm's other loss on the season came to... wait for it... Virginia. That's a weird trend. The Johnnies went to two overtimes once before the match with the Bluejays, and they came out of that one with a win over top 10 ranked Akron. Diaz has the early lead on Keeper Of The Year after picking up two weekly versions of that honor already this season.
Goals Leader: Samuel Geller, 4 (3rd)
Assists Leader: Victor Manosalvas, 4 (T-2nd)
Keeper: Julian Spindler - 1.24 GAA (8th), .579 SV% (10th)
Not only is Spindler the only freshman keeper in the league, he's the only keeper that's not a junior or a senior. Are the Pirates suffering for their lack of experience between the posts? Well, Spindler's stat rankings might make you think that, but he's also had to make the fewest saves in the league. He's only made 11 stops all year, which is probably sending Eric Sorby into apoplexy. A possible problem for SHU: Preseason all-conference foward George Velasquez has made just three appearances all season. He missed the first three, came off the bench for the next three, and missed their last contest, a 2-0 loss to Bucknell.
Goals Leader: Three players tied with 2 (T-11th)
Assists Leader: Sean Sheridan, 3 (T-7th)
Keeper: Andrew Weakly - 1.66 GAA (10th), .745 SV% (7th)
Mustn't make jokes about the keeper's last name, mustn't make jokes about the keeper's last name... Ok, just one: he has the weakest goals-against average in the entire league. Ahhhhh. I feel better. In fact, Weakly is the only keeper averaging more than 1.3 goals per 90 minutes. Remember how Georgetown went to double overtime with New Mexico? The Wildcats got beat by the Lobos 7-2 in their opener, including six unanswered goals. Weakly went the full 90 in that one, so maybe his shoddy GAA isn't completely his fault.
Goals Leader: Matt Walker, 3 (T-4th)
Assists Leader: Matt Walker, 3 (T-7th)
Keeper: Eric Osswald - 0.84 GAA, .806 SV%
So, here's what might be Xavier's problem: Osswald transferred in from South Florida in the offseason. So, brand new keeper, albeit one with some college experience, lost the best scorer in the A-10 last season to graduation... Not particularly great developments. But Nick Hagglund was the A-10 Defensive Player Of The Year last year, and Top Drawer Soccer had him as one of the 20 best players in the country before the season started. How did a team coming off three straight NCAA tournament appearances play Cedarville to a 1-1 draw? Well, even with that draw with a non-D1 team, the Musketeers are undefeated in their last five matches. If nothing else, it's definitely going to be a noisy experience for Marquette on Saturday night, as XU fans are encouraged to bring pots and pans to bang around.