If you've been following Marquette women's soccer, or even just been reading our coverage of the team, you've started to get the sense that early season losses are the way things tend to go.
But in past years, it's been losses to teams like #15 Portland, #2 UCLA, an Illinois State team coming off an NCAA tournament appearance, #14 North Carolina, #4 Duke, #7 Florida State, and you can see the trend here.
Northwestern has had double digit losses every year since 2009, including going 3-14-2 a year ago. And yet, in the 82nd minute yesterday afternoon, Northwestern went on a break into Marquette's end, Niki Sebo found Addie Steiner. MU goalkeeper Amanda Engel was left alone to defend the rush, and Steiner was able to time her chip just right to get it past Engel and into the net for the lone goal of the match.
The last time that Marquette lost a home game was August 29, 2010, when they fell 1-0 to New Mexico in overtime. For their last home regulation loss, you have to go back to October 2, 2009, when a Rutgers squad ranked #13 in the country came out of the Valley with a 3-1 win. In short, a crowd of 825 in the Valley, including a boisterous section in The Birdcage, saw something that is incredibly rare (a MU home loss) and a major sign that Marquette has a long way to go to repeat as Big East champions (a loss to a Northwestern team that hasn't been good in a long time).
I can't fault Engel for eventually allowing a goal. She made five saves overall, including three in the first half that required her to display a bit of agility and athleticism. Northwestern had the offensive advantage on the day, outshooting Marquette 10-7, as well as a 7-2 edge in corner kicks. Marquette only forced NU's Lauren Clem to make one save in the game, coming on a Liz Bartels shot in the 58th minute.
Of note in this game: 2 days after playing against Loyola-Chicago and exploding for two goals in the final minute, sophomore Darian Powell did not play against the Wildcats. Powell missed all of last season with an injury, so this may have just been a measure to see how her body responds to action.
Up Next: It's MU's first road trip of the season when they take on Minnesota on Friday night. It'll be the home opener for Minnesota, as the Gophers had a 10-0 win over Stetson and a 4-1 loss to #2 Florida State on a season opening trip to Florida.