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Marquette Women's Soccer Preview: vs Providence

We hit the swing point of the Big East schedule as the Golden Eagles look to start a winning streak.

Congratulations, Providence mascot. You've found a way to become more terrifying.
Congratulations, Providence mascot. You've found a way to become more terrifying.
Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

10 teams in the conference means a league schedule for soccer that features nine matches.  That makes the fifth match of every season the midway point of Big East play, and that's where we find ourselves for Sunday's match against the Friars.  It's not been a good start to the league schedule for Marquette, as they sit at 2-2-0 with six points and in a tie for fourth place.

To be honest, there's only one bad result in there, the 1-0 loss to Seton Hall.  Yes, Marquette lost for the first time ever to St. John's, but the Red Storm are a runaway freight train at this point, as they score goals at will and are busy erecting a portable Great Wall Of China around their own net in the back.  The Seton Hall loss is inexplicable and bad, as the Golden Eagles fell on a late own goal.  It was also the first time that Seton Hall had ever defeated Marquette, although it seems that the odds are that Amanda Engel will finish her collegiate career without a Pirates player ever recording a goal against her.

Thursday night's match against Xavier almost turned into a bad result, but MU caught a break when XU's Rachel Piccus couldn't completely stop a relatively harmless ball from Cali Pyzdrowski.  It went through Piccus' hands and into the net in overtime to give MU the dramatic win to bring us to this point.  Only six teams will make the Big East tournament, and according to the standings on Big East.com, MU is currently in seventh place via tiebreakers.

The good news is that of the five matches remaining, four of them are against teams that are listed in front of Marquette in the standings, and that list includes the Providence Friars.

Big East Match #5: vs Providence (9-5-0, 2-2-0 Big East)

When: Sunday, October 11, 2015, at 1pm Central
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go has the video stream, plus there's live stats.
Special Promotions: Get in FREE with your ticket from Saturday's men's game against Seton Hall.  Also: the team will be wearing pink for breast cancer awareness and will be raffling off the game worn jerseys.  Raffle tickets will be $1.
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer

Providence has alternated wins and losses for the last seven matches after starting the season 5-2-0.  They suffered a loss to a Boston University squad that's favored to win their conference (even though MU beat the Terriers 3-0), and got snookered in overtime against Georgetown by a free kick from Rachel Corboz.

The Friars have their eyes on a Big East tournament berth as do the Golden Eagles.  The two teams were picked fourth and fifth in the Big East preseason poll, with the Golden Eagles taking the advantage in the voting.  While 2-2-0 might be a disappointing result early for Marquette, it's not terrible for the Friars.  They got wins against Villanova and Xavier, two teams that they should beat if they want to finish fifth, and the losses to Georgetown and Butler are, well, fine for a mid-table side.

Catherine Zimmerman is the soccer equivalent of a volume shooter in basketball.  She leads the Big East in shots by a wide margin, totaling nine more than second place.  She gets the volume shooter label, though, because ... well, let's put it this way.  Zimmerman has the lead in shots, but second place belongs to St. John's Rachel Daly.  Daly's turned her shots into a Big East leading 28 points and 12 goals, while Zimmerman ranks 8th in the Big East in goals with five and her 13 points are just outside the top 10 in that category.

Zimmerman's still the clear offensive leader for PC, though, although Rachel Ugolik is right behind her with four goals and Lauren Elia has her tied for the team lead in assists.  Kristyn Shea has taken every minute in net so far this season, and she ranks third in the Big East in goals-against average (1.11) and sixth in save percentage (.758).