First off: men's soccer plays Notre Dame at 7pm on Saturday night. It's Senior Night, honoring Ryan Robb, Anthony Selvaggi, and Andy Huftalin. I've already previewed Notre Dame this week, and I covered the angles for Marquette to repeat as Blue Division champion as well, so you can click those links instead of just repeating myself.
Last night, Connecticut defeated Rutgers 3-1 in the first round of the Big East Championship. The win was head coach Len Tsantiris' 500th career victory and advances the Huskies to Sunday's quarterfinal match against Marquette in Milwaukee. You might remember Connecticut from such matches as Marquette's only non-win in league play. I think it's a safe bet that head coach Markus Roeders will have his crew fired up to avenge that lone blemish on their Big East record come 1pm on Sunday afternoon. The winner of the Marquette-UConn match will advance to the Big East semifinals next weekend at Morrone Stadium in Connecticut and face the winner of Syracuse and Notre Dame. You can click here for the full tournament bracket.
Following last weekend's loss to Louisville, Marquette currently sits tied with Notre Dame for second place in the Big East. That's really just a technicality at this point, as Marquette, Notre Dame, and Louisville all have one loss, but the Cardinals have one more win to give them a percentage point lead for first place.
Marquette gets a chance to rebound from their first conference loss against two below .500 teams as they head east to play Georgetown and Villanova this weekend. First up is the Hoyas (7-15, 1-8 Big East) tonight at 7pm Central. Georgetown snapped a 14 match losing streak on Sunday by beating DePaul in straight sets. Sophomore Alex Johnson has the third best kills average in the Big East while junior Haley Lowrance has the third best assists average in the league. At this point, I honestly have no idea how Georgetown has had trouble winning matches this year. No one in the top 10 in digs is probably the answer, though.
MU will then head to just outside of Philadelphia to face Villanova on Sunday afternoon at noon Central. The Wildcats (10-14, 4-5 Big East) have lost three matches in a row and four of their last five. Junior Mariah Henley has easily stepped into the void left by Kim Maroon's graduation and leads the Big East in digs at 5.85 per set. There's only two Wildcats averaging more than two kills per set, and while that's not good news for them on their own, both freshman Lauren Carpenter and senior Krista Andersen are hitting below .140.