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Marquette Women's Soccer Preview: At St. John's

Believe it or not, we've got a battle for first place just three matches into the season.

Maddie Meyer

After opening the season 2-5-1, the Golden Eagles have won four straight matches, including two shutouts.  Before that winning streak started, we addressed the issue of Marquette appearing to struggle with possessing the ball this season.  At that point, Marquette had a shot ratio of 52.6% on the season.  During their four game winning streak, that number has ballooned up to 63.7%.  Did a light suddenly go on?  Did head coach Markus Roeders find a lineup combination that works for him and his team?  Is that number artificially inflated by an 18-5 shot margin against Villanova? MAYBE.

In any case, the last two matches were the first two of Big East action, and that puts the Golden Eagles solidly in first place with six points.  Well, solidly into a tie for first place with six points, at least.  As luck would have it, they're tied with St. John's for first place, so tonight's match will break that tie, presuming that one of the teams comes away with the win, of course.

Big East Match #3: At St. John's (6-5-0, 2-0-0)

When: Thursday, October 2, 2014, at 6pm Central
Where: Belson Stadium, in Jamaica, NY
Audio/Visual: St. John's has their ESPN3 deal, so tune into that for a streaming broadcast, and add some live stats to your experience, too.
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer

While Marquette was at home jumping out to a 2-0-0 start in Big East play, the Red Storm headed out on the road for their first two wins of the conference slate.  They went to Xavier for the opener and came away with a 2-0, and then followed that up with a 1-0 blanking of Creighton.

In our look at the Big East before conference play started, we noted two things about St. John's: 1) Diana Poulin was letting in a ton of goals relative to last year and 2) Rachel Daly wasn't scoring goals.  The first one changed over the weekend, but the second one did not.  Poulin faced 23 combined shots, and made eight saves to preserve her fourth and fifth shutouts of the season.  In fact, she's posted three straight shutouts now, and has a streak of over 293 minutes without allowing a goal.

Daly, on the other hand, has not gotten on track yet.  She got off six shots vs the Musketeers, with three of them coming on frame.  Creighton held her without a shot for 90 minutes, though, meaning the 2013 Big East Offensive Player of the Year has gone more than six games without recording a point.  It seems unlikely that Marquette is going to be able to keep that streak going, given how prolific Daly was a year ago, but given the improved possession from the Golden Eagles over the last four matches, all things are possible.

While Daly hasn't been scoring like she did last year, she still leads the Red Storm in goals with five.  Seven different players have registered an assist this season, including two each from Allie Moar (MOAR ASSISTS?), Deanna Murino, and Jen Gibbons.  Poulin's played every minute so far this season, and has a goals-against average of 1.36 and a save percentage of just .688.