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Marquette Women's Soccer Preview: at Butler

The Golden Eagles roll into Indianapolis in desperate need of three points.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday night, Marquette took care of business against Villanova and snagged three points with a 2-0 win.  That locked up a berth in the 2015 Big East tournament for the Golden Eagles, and as it turns out, the rest of the action around the league that night locked in all six places in the field.

All that matters now is seeding, and all six spots have yet to be decided.  That's where this game against Butler comes in.  MU is sitting in fifth place with 13 points on a 4-2-1 record.  Directly in front of Marquette at the moment, holding on to one of the two spots that will host a quarterfinal match is Butler at 15 points on a 5-2-0 record.  If Marquette was to win this game, they'd slip past the Bulldogs and into that hosting spot with 16 points.  That won't clinch the spot for MU, as they still have to tangle with co-league leader DePaul while Butler gets to close with a home game against Xavier.  A loss to Butler, though, will definitely mean that MU can't host a quarterfinal game, and with Providence sitting there with 12 points in the standings, it might mean MU will slip all the way down to sixth place by the time the league schedule is done.

So: win, take your best shot at the Blue Demons, and maybe you get to come back to Milwaukee for one more match the following Tuesday.  Lose, and it means waiting to see where you get to visit on that Tuesday.  Simple as that, as long as you ignore the possibility of a draw on Sunday afternoon.

Big East Match #8: at Butler (12-5-1, 5-2-0 Big East)

When: Sunday, October 24, 2015, at 12pm Central
Where: Butler Bowl in Indianapolis, IN
Audio/Visual: The Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go has the video stream, plus there's live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer

Well, I'm man enough to admit I'm wrong.  When the Big East schedule was starting, I was worried about how Butler's league schedule would go.  The Bulldogs racked up a bunch of wins in the non-conference against a bunch of teams that were (and still are) largely in the back half of Division 1.  They got there with the top scoring player in the league at that point, and some middle of the pack goaltending.

Well, I was wrong.  Butler's sitting ahead of Marquette in the Big East standings, and they've picked up five wins, including a 1-0 shutout of co-league leader Georgetown.  The losses are to the other two co-leaders, DePaul and St. John's, so Butler's right about where one could expect to be in the standings given all of that.  Good for them, honestly.

The Bulldogs come in to Sunday afternoon's contest having won three straight and seven of the last 10.  In their most recent outing, they punted Creighton out of the Big East tournament when Sophia Maccagnone knocked in a golden goal in the 107th minute during a trip to Morrison Stadium in Omaha.

Maccagnone has been the dominant goal scorer for Butler during league play, racking up four goals in their seven contests.  Only two players on Butler's roster have scored more goals for the entire season, and that includes overall leader Halle Stelbasky who had seven goals in non-conference play, but only one since then.  I can't say that Maccagnone has been carrying the offense, though, as she split the four goals between two games: two against Creighton and two more in a 3-1 win over Providence.

Two things we know for sure about what Butler is going to do in this game: They're going to fire shots at will and they're going to pass like crazy.  The Bulldogs lead the Big East in shots this season, rifling 16 attempts towards the net per game.  The Bulldogs also lead the Big East in assists with 33, which means that they average more than one assist per goal.