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Marquette Men's Soccer Preview: vs Butler

It's Senior Night as the Golden Eagles try to stay mathematically alive for the Big East tournament.

Live mascot > Guy in suit mascot
Live mascot > Guy in suit mascot
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

I think the only thing keeping Marquette's post season hopes alive right now is the luck of the draw.

The Golden Eagles were assigned a season ending visit to Chicago to play DePaul months ago. Right now, that matchup with the Blue Demons is likely the sole reason that MU is still alive for a Big East tournament spot.  DePaul is in a tie for 5th place with Providence at the moment at 10 points, which means they're exactly 2 Marquette wins worth of points ahead of the Golden Eagles.  If Marquette wins their next two and DePaul loses both, then MU could snag sixth place away from them, although that's more complicated than that, as Villanova and St. John's are still in between the two teams.

The fact of the matter is that Marquette is in this position after allowing Providence to score the game winning goal 16 seconds after the Golden Eagles had knotted the match up with five minutes to play on Wednesday night.  Had they just hung on for the draw, things might be slightly peachier for MU, as they'd have seven points and sixth place would be held by Villanova with nine points.  Sneaking in the win would have been really spectacular, but that's not even worth speculating on at this point.

Regardless of what happens in the match tonight or the rest of the season, this will definitely be the final home match for Marquette's six seniors: Adam Hermsen, Kelmend Islami, C. Nortey, David Selvaggi, Patrick Schulz, and Brady Walsh.  They won't be able to earn a home quarterfinal date in the Big East tournament, and if they pull off some sort of weirdly magical run into the Big East title and an automatic bid to the NCAA, they will definitely be starting off on the road.  Hermsen, Islami, and Nortey have been major factors for the Golden Eagles through all four years of their collegiate careers, and have to be regarded as three of the best players to ever pull on a blue and gold kit.  Selvaggi has been a strong contributor in his two years since transferring from DePaul.  Schulz and Walsh are both departing Marquette after their redshirt junior season without ever playing a single minute for the Golden Eagles before Saturday night, so we have to tip our cap to them for their dedication and service without any long term payoff in terms of playing time.

Big East Match #8: vs Butler (8-4-3, 4-3-0 Big East)

When: Saturday, October 31, 2015, at 7pm
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: The Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go has the video stream, plus there's live stats.
Special Promotions: Kick Or Treat for the kiddies at 6pm, and the first 150 students get a FREE FULL SIZE candy bar.  Don't underrate the free full size candy.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer

The Bulldogs come in having lost four of their last six matches, including a 1-0 defeat at the hands of DePaul in their last time out.  It was a bit of an unlucky bounce for Butler, as Jake Scheper's shot off a Butler turnover caught a bit of a deflection off a Butler player and scooted past keeper Eric Dick for the only marker of the night.  Here's the thing about that four of six stretch: It's their only four losses of the season.  They were 6-0-3 overall and 2-0-0 in Big East action, not to mention ranked #16 in the country when they lost 2-1 to SIUE.

Let me say that again: They were unbeaten through the first nine matches of the season and nationally ranked when they lost to SIUE.  I don't care that SIUE is 9-3-1 right now, you CAN NOT lose to SIUE if you're 6-0-3.

Good news for Marquette's defense: They only have to worry about two guys on the Bulldog roster.  Bad news, though: Both Vincent Mitchell and David Goldsmith are two of the 10 best scorers in the Big East.  Mitchell's nine goals are the third most in the league this season, and he ranks fourth in total points.  Goldsmith is second on the team with six markers this season, which is seventh most in the conference, and he's tied for the ninth most points, too.  No one else on the team has scored more than two goals this season, but I suppose we should mention that Eric Leonard's awfully good at passing the ball, as his five helpers on the year are tied for the fifth most in the Big East.

Eric Dick has played every single minute this season in the Butler net, allowing just barely less than one goal every 90 minutes.  He's one of just four Big East keepers to keep their goals-against average under one per game this season, although he is fourth out of those four.  He's third in save percentage, though, knocking down just short of 80% of shots on frame.