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Marquette Men's Soccer Preview: at Villanova

The Golden Eagles head back into Big East play looking to snap a three game winless streak.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn't even seem like it's been that long.

Marquette men's soccer hasn't won a match since defeating #22 Nebraska-Omaha 1-0 back on September 11th.  First it was a 3-2 overtime loss to Northern Illinois, then a scoreless draw with St. John's to open conference play, and then Tuesday's 4-2 loss to #7 Notre Dame.  Three weeks, three games, no wins for your Golden Eagles.  Those are three pretty stinging non-wins, too, as they had a lead late against UNO, had a plumb game winner cleared off the line by a non-keeper in the Red Storm match, and then squandered two leads against a top 10 Fighting Irish squad.

That's... not great.  They're sitting at 3-3-2 on the season right now, but there's still a pile of Big East contests looming in front of them.  Then again, the Big East started the season with four teams ranked in the NSCAA's top 25, sooooo maybe things need a dramatic turnaround and fast.  It won't be easy to come away with a win against the Wildcats, though.

Big East Match #2: at Villanova (5-3-0, 0-1-0 Big East)

When: Saturday, October 3, 2015, at 12pm Central
Where: Higgins Soccer Complex in Villanova, PA
Audio/Visual: Villanova's going to make you pay for video streaming, but live stats are free.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer

Believe it or not, this will be just the fourth meeting all time between Marquette and Villanova, with two of the previous three games coming in just the past two seasons.  This is the kind of thing that happens when you play in a 16 team conference with divisional play for eight years, I suppose.

If you're concerned about the approach of Hurricane Joaquin to the east coast as far as this match getting played at all, you can limit your worry.  Current predictions have only a 20% chance of rain at matchtime on Saturday afternoon, and on top of that, Villanova's own website goes VERY in depth on VU's new-ish soccer facility, its artificial surface, and how they're more ready than ever to play during, in, and around inclement weather.

As far as actual soccer goes, the Wildcats are coming off a 2-0 win over La Salle on Wednesday.  They've only won two of their last five matches after starting the season with three straight wins.  They opened league play with a 3-0 loss to Butler where the Bulldogs scored once in the first half and twice in the second in order to come away with the win.

Sean Sheridan had a goal and an assist against the Explorers, but he's still not the guy to watch on the Villanova offense.  That spot is occupied by Mr. "Let Me Double Check That Spelling," Padraic McCullaugh.  The junior from Sacramento (didn't see that coming, did you?) has four goals and three assists to sit in a tie for the fifth most points in the Big East this season.  He wasn't an all-Big East honoree to start the season, but it certainly seems that McCullaugh is kicking his way into the picture for the end of the season.

Redshirt sophomore Will Steiner has played every minute in net for Villanova this season after playing every minute of the 2014 season.  He's not posting spectacular numbers - 1.60 goals-against, .723 save percentage - but that might not be totally his fault.  Steiner ranks second in the Big East in saves, which generally is more of a function of how many shots his defenders are giving up than an indication of how good he's performing.