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Marquette Women's Soccer Splits Opening Weekend Matches In Dramatic Fashion

First, an overtime 1-0 loss, and then a come from behind thriller in Michigan.

Molly Pfeiffer is leading Marquette in points with a goal and an assist against Michigan.
Molly Pfeiffer is leading Marquette in points with a goal and an assist against Michigan.
Maggie Bean/MarquetteIimages.com

It was a mixed bag of results for Marquette Women's Soccer in their first weekend of play, but you can't say it wasn't exciting.

On Friday, the Golden Eagles fought Utah to a scoreless standstill for 92 minutes before the Utes broke through for a golden goal in the 93rd minute to earn the 1-0 season opening win.  Less than 48 hours later, Marquette was on the other side of Lake Michigan to take on the Michigan Wolverines, where they had to rally from a 4th minute goal by UM to come away with a 2-1 win to even their season record at 1-1.

Utah came away with the shots advantage in Friday night's game, 14-12, but Marquette still nearly had a chance to put the game away in regulation with four legitimate scoring chances in the final five minutes.  In fact, MU actually put the ball into the net on a volley after a Jacie Jermier free kick, but the assistant referee whistled Ashley Handwork offsides on the play.  Marquette got another sterling chance at a win as the PA announced one minute to play as Liz Bartels missed the back of the net by inches, cracking a shot off the outside of the top corner of the goal.

The Utes registered the only shot of the overtime period when defender Nykell Seymour slotted home a feed from Natalie Vukic to the far post in the third minute of extra time.

Things ended badly for the Golden Eagles on Friday, and they started just as badly on Sunday.  Ani Sarkisian knocked home a solo effort to put Michigan up 1-0 before four minutes had wound off the clock.  From there, the Wolverines bombed away against Marquette, firing off 10 shots before halftime on the way to a 14-5 advantage by the end.

Michigan's defense did a number, too, preventing Marquette from taking a shot in the second half until the 73rd minute, but things started rolling quickly from there.  First, Molly Pfeiffer found freshman Allison Jacobson for the equalizer in the 78th minute, and then less than 40 seconds later, Bartels played a ball to where Pfeiffer could head it home for the eventual game winner.

Despite giving up two goals in less than four minutes of elapsed game time, Engel played reasonably well, notching three saves in each game.  That's about equal to the pace that she recorded last season, but that's both the highest saves per game average of her career and the worst eventual season outcome for Engel and Marquette.  The team is still figuring out their defense as Erin Holland hasn't returned from injury to play in a regular season game after playing in the exhibition against Wisconsin, so we'll keep an eye on whether they can tighten things up for Engel going forward.

Up Next: Marquette returns to the Valley this coming Friday for a pair of weekend games.  First up is Portland on Friday night at 7:30pm.  The Pilots are 0-1 after dropping a double overtime loss to Oregon State on Friday night.