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Marquette Men's Soccer Preview: vs Seton Hall

The Golden Eagles return to the Valley for their Big East home opener looking for their first conference win.

Seton Hall's mascot was weird in 2008.
Seton Hall's mascot was weird in 2008.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Wednesday night's win over Wisconsin was a big deal.

Not only was it the first road win against the Badgers since 1999, it was also the first win for Marquette in their last five games.  Before Wednesday, Marquette hadn't won a match since upsetting #22 Nebraska-Omaha back on September 11th.  Thankfully the streak never hit a full month, and we can move forward into the full progression of Big East play without that hanging over the Golden Eagles.

This is notable because there are currently three Big East teams ranked in the NSCAA top 25, and all three of them are yet to come this season.  If you want to look at it another way, there were four teams in the top 25 at the start of the season, and all four of those teams are still upcoming on the schedule as well.  If you combine those groups of teams, here's how the rest of 2015 shapes up for Marquette: Seton Hall, five straight matches against teams that were at least ranked at some point this season, DePaul.  That's it, that's the whole regular season, and as of right this second, Marquette is on the outside looking in at the group of six teams that will qualify for the Big East tournament.

MU's offense is fine.  They're scoring a goal and a half a game, and Kelmend Islami is proving to be a reliable scorer in his senior season with five markers, tied for fifth best in the Big East.  The defense is a problem, though.  Marquette is allowing just as many goals as they're scoring, and worse, they've got the second most saves in the Big East.  You can't make saves unless the other team is shooting, so it's generally speaking not a great plan to have a lot of saves.  The upside (if you want to call it an upside to something like this) is that this was obviously going to be a concern coming into the season.  You don't lose your goalkeeper and your center back to the MLS SuperDraft and come back the next season smelling like roses.  The hope is that head coach Louis Bennett can get his guys to congeal into something solid in the back around freshman keeper Luis Barraza over the final seven matches of the regular season.

Big East Match #3: vs Seton Hall (0-8-1, 0-2-0 Big East)

When: Saturday, October 10, 2015, at 7pm Central
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: Home matches have FREE live video streaming, plus there's live stats.
Special Promotions: Save your ticket for FREE admission to Sunday's women's soccer match against Providence, plus a FREE halftime Qdoba taco bar for students!
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer

Sweet Mother of Mary, do not lose to Seton Hall.

It's bad enough that Marquette women's soccer lost for the first time ever to Seton Hall this season (made worse that it was on a late own goal).  But at least the SHU women's squad came in with a win.  The same can not be said for the men's side.  They've lost seven straight matches since going to a 1-1 draw with Furman, which is not good.  On the upside, they won their Big East finale last year, so they're a relatively wildly successful 1-3-2 in their last five conference contests.

I will give the Pirates credit for this: They're going to score on you.  Even though they haven't won a match this season, they've only been shutout twice.  The first one was a 4-0 kicking at the hands of Bucknell, where the Bison scored four times in the first half hour of the match and then defended for the remaining hour.  The other shutout was their second Big East match of the season, where they fell 1-0 at home to St. John's.  In that match, they got stung by a scramble for a loose ball in front of their net in the 58th minute and that was that.

While this isn't going to be regarded as a successful season for SHU, that isn't to say they're not dangerous.  The Pirates put a scare into current #1 and undefeated and untied Creighton back on September 26th.  Danny Bartok broke a 1-1 tie in the 72nd minute to give Seton Hall a 2-1 lead on the Jays, who were ranked #1 at the time as well.  SHU conceded a penalty kick eight minutes later to give up the lead and ended up losing 4-2.  But it may have been the closest that Creighton has come to losing all season, and that's not a small accomplishment.

Samuel Geiler and Andres Arcila are tied for the team lead in points at seven apiece at the moment, although they've taken different paths to get there.  Geiler is the team leader in goals with three, while Arcila leads SHU in assists with three to go along with his two goals on the season.  Bartok is the only other Pirate with multiple goals with two, while no one but Arcila has more than one assist.

I think we're going to see Julian Spindler in net on Saturday night, but it's not a given.  Spindler was the starter at the beginning of the season, but he was supplanted by Brandon Barnes right before the start of Big East play.  Spindler was back in against Creighton and St. John's, but back out against Princeton in their most recent contest.  Spindler is marginally the better keeper statistically speaking.  He's got a better goals-against average (2.53 vs 3.06 for Barnes), and their save percentages are essentially the same (.585 vs .588), although Spindler has obviously had many more chances to make a save.