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Marquette Women's Soccer Weekend Preview: vs Portland & vs Boston University

The Golden Eagles return to Valley Fields for two matches this weekend as all the students arrive back on campus.

Okay then.
Okay then.
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

There's a tinge of disappointment to the opening weekend of the women's soccer season.  Marquette lost an overtime match in their home opener to Utah, a team that's not expected to be good in the Pac 12, and then turned around and got a come from behind win on the road against Michigan, a team that's expected to be very good in the Big Ten.  If the 2015 season is more of the latter than the former, I'd have to think that we're going to be watching a very fun season.

The surprise of the weekend was how Marquette came to their two goals against the Wolverines.  Redshirt sophomore Molly Pfeiffer played 140 minutes in the 2014 season, registering just one shot.  In 2015, she's played 38 minutes and has a goal and an assist while doubling her career shot total.  Hilariously, that total of three points only gets Pfeiffer tied for the 6th best point total in the Big East after one weekend.  Whaddya gonna do?

Both Pfeiffer and goalkeeper Amanda Engel were named to the Big East's Weekly Honor Roll after the opening weekend of the season.  Engel made three saves in each match, and while that sounds neat, it's a (slightly) bad omen.  Saves is arguably indicative of how many shots the other team is taking, and Marquette is trying to play a heavily possession oriented style.  For the system to work, Engel really shouldn't be having to make that many saves in a match.  We'll see if the Golden Eagles can hem that up as the season moves along.

Match #3: vs Portland (0-1-0)

When: Friday, August 28, 2015, at 7:30pm Central
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: Home games have FREE streaming video, and live stats will be here.
Special Promotions: The 1st 200 students get a MU tumbler cup, and kids can turn in their Fan Fest scorecard for free admission.
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer

After a streak of 14 straight seasons where the Pilots advanced to at least the second round of the NCAA tournament, Portland completely missed the tournament in 2014.  A 3-0 win over Gonzaga in the regular season finale pulled them to a record of 7-9-3 overall and 4-4-1 in West Coast Conference play.  That snapped their run of postseason appearances, and since they were picked to finish fifth in the WCC this season, I'm not really going to hold out a lot of hope on their chances for this season, either.

The good news for Portland is that they return seven starters from that team, so at least there's experience on the squad.  Junior midfielder Allison Wetherington is the Pilots' lone representative on the preseason all-WCC team after finishing 2014 with two goals and four assists.

Portland is 0-1-0 this season after suffering an overtime home loss to Oregon State in their opener.  It was a real heartbreaker of a game, as the Pilots got a goal from senior defender Hayley DeGrood with 38 seconds left in regulation to force overtime.  They had almost earned themselves a draw, but Allison Pantuso scored her second of the match for the Beavers with 21 seconds left in the second overtime period to hand UP the loss.  Junior Hanna de Haan got the start in net for that match, but did not record a save on four OSU shots.

Match #4: vs Boston University (0-1-1)

When: Sunday, August 30, 2015, at 1pm Central
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: Home games have FREE streaming video, and live stats will be here.
Special Promotions: Youth players in their team's jerseys get 2-for-1 admission and the first 300 students get a free pair of MU sunglasses.
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer

BU's season hasn't been quite the gutpunch that Portland's has been to this point, but it still hasn't been a fun time.  Their season opener ended in a 2-1 loss to Boston College when the Eagles scored the game winner in the 80th minute, just seven minutes after the Terriers had gotten level on a goal from Rachel Blauner.  That marker is their only one of the season as they went to a scoreless draw with La Salle in their second go round.  The good news (I guess) for BU is that they're essentially even on shots with their opponents this season.

Adding a level of bummer to their winless start is the fact that the Terriers are the favorite in the Patriot League this season.  BU picked up 11 of the 20 possible first place votes in the polling and they put two players on the preseason all-Patriot League team.  The important one to mention is senior defender McKenzie Hollenbaugh, who was also named the PL Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.  Hollenbaugh was joined on the all-PL team by senior forward Jenna Fisher.  Hollenbaugh helped guide the Terrier defense to allow just six goals to conference opponents last season across both the regular season and the PL tournament.  Fisher was the team leader in goals last season with seven, and she recorded two of her three assists on the season in the Patriot League title game.

Bridget Conway and Alyssa Parisi split the two halves of the loss to Boston College evenly, with both women giving up one of the two BC goals.  Parisi got the nod for the match against La Salle and went the distance in that one, so I'd expect to see her get the start against Marquette.