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#15 Marquette Men's Soccer Preview: vs #16 Xavier

No days off in the Big East when half the teams in the league are ranked in the top 25 in the country by the NSCAA.

Andy Lyons

Three ties in the last five matches for the Golden Eagles.  The first one felt right, a scoreless draw with Georgetown.  Fantastically contested, but neither team could ultimately solve the puzzle that was the other side's defense or keeper.

But Marquette has struggled since having their program record shutout streak snapped in a 1-0 loss to Butler.  Teams have been getting an early edge on the Golden Eagles and then either retreating into a shell or mucking up the game.  I suppose that wasn't really the case against Providence on Wednesday night, as the Friars ultimately outshot the Golden Eagles, and MU ended up with the worst of it in terms of number of fouls called against them.

Still, it hasn't been the kind of soccer that Marquette was playing while they were holding teams without a goal for eight straight matches.  That reminds me: Marquette's allowed a goal in their last three contests, which means that they're still searching for Charlie Lyon's 29th career shutout, which will break MU's all time record.

Big East Match #6: vs #16 Xavier (9-3-2, 3-0-2 Big East)

When: Saturday, October 25, 2014, at 7pm Central
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: Free video streaming for home matches, of course, plus WMUR's radio stream, plus live stats.
Special Promotions: Students in attendance get to take part in a halftime tailgate from Qdoba.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer

Undefeated in their last eight games, Xavier finds themselves ranked in the NSCAA Top 25 for the first time this season.  Their jump from 10 points on October 14th to the 200 that they currently carry was the largest bump for anyone in the poll.  While on their undefeated streak, the Musketeers have recorded five shutouts, including a streak of over 436 minutes without a goal that was only broken by an own goal.  XU actually went just short of 500 minutes without an opposing player credited for a goal against them.

Xavier's biggest accomplishment in their run might have been in their most recent contest, where they played #6 Creighton to a 1-1 draw.  Outside of Marquette and Charlie Lyon, Creighton and Connor Sparrow have been the most intimidating goalie in the Big East this season, and XU got to him first.  Freshman Matt Vasquenza beat Sparrow with a chip to the far post for a 1-0 lead in the 57th minute, and only a Fabian Herbers free kick that connected in the 82nd minute locked the score up.

Vasquenza's turning in an outstanding rookie campaign, as he's currently jammed into the massive tie for the fifth most goals in the league this season and he sits tied for ninth in points, too.  Senior midfielder Will Walker is part of that tie in goals, which is also the Xavier team lead.  Walker does a bit more helping than Vasquenza, so he's got the team lead in points at 16, good enough for second best in the Big East behind Herbers and Georgetown's Brandon Allen.  Keeper Eric Osswald is back for his senior campaign even though my note taking from last season had that wrong, and he's performing admirably.  He's allowing 0.80 goals per 90 minutes and stopping 78% of the shots that opponents throw at his net.  To give you a frame of reference for something that you're familiar with: Osswald has made 40 saves this season, the exact same total as Charlie Lyon.