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Marquette Men's Soccer Preview: at Xavier

Four matches to go as the Golden Eagles chase a Big East tournament spot.

Gonna take blue blob over swordsman every time.
Gonna take blue blob over swordsman every time.
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden Eagles came out of the hellish nightscape of matches against #10 Georgetown and #1 Creighton with exactly what you would have expected: two losses.  You can't really be disappointed with this team dropping matches to top 10 squads, and by "this team," I mean "most of the teams in the country.  I guess if you were one of the other eight teams in the top 10, walking away with two defeats against your fellow tippy top teams would be a bad result.  But if you're not, if you're a team attempting to reconstruct the lineup after losing two guys who started every match of the last three years and two more who left after starting every match in the last two years, if you're a team that's starting a freshman at keeper, well, you have to just accept it as how things are going to go.

Then you move on and look at what's next.  Marquette has four more matches left on the docket, and starting a hot run against Xavier on Saturday night can guide them into the Big East tournament.  As things stand right now in the Big East table, Marquette is 1-3-1 in league play, giving them four points.  That has them sitting in ninth place in the league, and when only the top six squads get postseason berths, that's bad.  But there's good news!  MU already plunked down a win against the 10th place team, Seton Hall, so there's only chances to take points away from the teams ahead of them in the standings left to be played.  Better yet, sixth place is currently locked in a tie between DePaul, Providence, and Villanova at a mere six points.  Even better news: Marquette still has to play DePaul and Providence.

So.  Things are not great with an overall record of 5-6-2, but there's reasons for optimism.  Chins up, best foot forward, take points from the Musketeers, and we'll see what happens from there.

Big East Match #6: at Xavier (8-4-1, 2-2-1 Big East)

When: Saturday, October 24, 2015, at 6pm Central
Where: Xavier Soccer Complex in Cincinnati, OH
Audio/Visual: The Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go has the video stream, plus there's live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer

This season has not gone as well as hoped for Xavier soccer.  They started out the year ranked #19 in the country in the NSCAA poll... and then they lost to Lipscomb and Virginia Tech in back to back games to even their record at 2-2.  Now you'd think that might be the end of "Xavier's a ranked team" for the year, but!  Just nine days after that loss to VPI, the Musketeers turned in a 1-0 win win over #2 Notre Dame that was part of a five match winning streak, and after that, they found themselves back in the poll at #20.

And then they lost back to back games against Georgetown and Providence.  The Hoyas loss sent them down to #24, and the PC loss booted them out completely, down to where they're not getting any votes in the most recent poll.  Going to a scoreless draw with St. John's will do that to you.  The Musketeers did get right with a 2-1 win over Villanova in their most recent contest, although they needed goals in the 86th and 88th minute to get there.

I have legitimately no idea what head coach Andy Fleming is doing with his goalkeepers.  Okay, so he started the season with Vince Shaw, who is a senior, and has been loyally backing up Eric Osswald the past few years.  Fine.  Shaw was in net for the loss to Wisconsin, and that cost him his job.  Jake Ciricillo got the Lipscomb game... and they lost that.  An interesting choice, because Ciricillo, a junior, had never appeared in a collegiate game before.  Well, his chance immediately ended after that as Fleming turned to graduate transfer Dallas Jaye.  He wasn't the most experience goalie in the world with 12 appearances for South Florida in three seasons, but hey, that's better than anyone else they had.  Hilariously, Jaye's best season was 2012 when he was platooning with..... Eric Osswald, who then transferred to Xavier.

Anyway, Jaye got the start and Xavier started winning games, so he kept playing.... right up until they lost to Georgetown.  Then it was back to Ciricillo, who promptly lost to Providence, and now it's back to Jaye for the last two matches.  Like I said, no idea what Fleming is doing.

Alex Ridsdale is showing out for his senior season, leading Xavier in points with 11, and goals with five.  The points thing isn't super impressive from a conference perspective, but the goals total does have him in a tie for sixth most in the Big East.  Matt Vasquenza had a stellar freshman campaign with seven goals and six assists a year ago, but it appears he's going to struggle match that this year with three goals and just one lone helper.