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The 2014 Big East Women's Soccer Tournament Quarterfinals

We've got postseason soccer tonight in two locations. Winners move on to the semifinals in New York on Friday!

Darian Powell and Marquette will start their quest for a third straight Big East tournament championship at home against Providence.
Darian Powell and Marquette will start their quest for a third straight Big East tournament championship at home against Providence.

DePaul is your women's soccer regular season champion for 2014, and as such, they advance to the Big East tournament semifinals on Friday to await a winner from tonight.  Georgetown finishes as the #2 seed, so they get a bye out of the quarterfinals as well.

That leaves us with four teams pairing off and battling to see who faces the Blue Demons or Hoyas on the St. John's campus.  Things get mighty interesting mighty fast, as even the hosting Red Storm are not guaranteed a spot in their own stadium....

Quarterfinal #1: #3 St. John's (10-7-1, 6-2-1 Big East) vs #6 Villanova (5-9-4, 3-4-2 Big East)

When: Tuesday, November 4, 2014, at 6pm Central
Where: Belson Stadium in Jamaica, New York
Audio/Visual: Big East Digital Network, plus live stats.
Previous Meeting: St. John's won at Villanova, 1-0

St. John's isn't supposed to be here.  They're supposed to be resting comfortably, watching the quarterfinals on their iPads, and scouting the opponent for their semifinal contest, which will also be at Belson Stadium.  But not even a lightning delay on Friday afternoon could slow down DePaul as the Blue Demons won 3-0, and combined with an 8-0 Georgetown win against Seton Hall (no, really, that happened), that setback pushed the Red Storm down to third place.

I suppose you could credit the whole thing to the Big East coaches figuring out Rachel Daly.  The junior striker was a terror to defend in 2013 when she was named Offensive Player of the Year, but in 2014, it's been a different story.  Yes, she still leads St. John's in points and goals, but it's a long cry from the 50 point year she had last season.

The Red Storm have split their last four matches with wins over Seton Hall and Georgetown and losses to DePaul and Providence.  Meanwhile, Villanova lands with the #6 seed after suffering an overtime defeat against Providence on Friday, which snapped a three match unbeaten streak for the Wildcats.  In fact, you could argue that their draw with Georgetown in their penultimate contest is what got them into the Big East tournament.

The Wildcats aren't a great offensive team.  They were outscored this season 23-15, and outshot 303-158.  From a "shots roughly translates to possession" advanced metrics position, that's bleeping atrocious.  Their offense was led this season by eight points from Victoria Gersh, while sophomore Katie Martin, a breakout star last year as a freshman missed four matches, only played in 555 minutes out of a possible 1700, and only scored two goals and no assists at all.

Quarterfinal #2: #4 Marquette (9-8-2, 5-3-1 Big East) vs #5 Providence (9-7-2, 5-4-0 Big East)

When: Tuesday, November 4, 2014, at 7pm Central
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: Big East Digital Network, plus live stats.
Previous Meeting: Marquette won at Providence, 4-0

If anyone is not excited about this game, it's Friars goalkeeper Kristyn Shea.  When the Golden Eagles rolled into Rhode Island on October 25th, Shea had the best goals-against average in the Big East.  When the match was over, Shea wasn't even on the pitch anymore, having allowed all four goals in that game in just under 44 minutes and being removed at the half.

On the flip side, Alex Heffron is probably very excited.  The Marquette senior forward tallied MU's first two goals in that game, which ended up earning her a nod as the Big East's Offensive Player of the Week.  Heffron scored in two different ways, first off of a scramble on a rebound on a pass from Darian Powell, then next as she charged up the field and rammed it past Shea.

The first encounter between Marquette and Providence this season came after Erin Holland went out with a nasty leg injury based on the size of the leg (not knee, leg) brace she was wearing on Senior Night.  It was also after Haley Fritzlen returned from the concussion that she suffered against Georgetown after missing the two matches after that.  Ashley Handwork is also back in the lineup for head coach Markus Roeders.

While the Golden Eagles are coming in 3-3-0 in their last six alternating wins and losses, Providence has won four of their last five, including the regular season finale in overtime to secure the #4 seed.  Interestingly, that lone loss was to Marquette.  Catherine Zimmerman is an all-Big East caliber attacker for the Friars, with 11 goals and five assists on the season.  It's safe to expect to see Shea on the pitch for PC, as the only time she hasn't played for Providence this season was the half where she was removed against Marquette.