It was kind of a weird weekend for Marquette women's soccer, although it kind of mirrored the opening weekend of the season. First, Marquette lost to a Portland team that's expected to finish towards the bottom of the West Coast Conference, then, less than 48 hours later, the Golden Eagles pasted a Boston University squad that's coming off an NCAA tournament appearance and expected to do well in the Patriot League.
They've really got to start winning all their games in a weekend at some point.
We've talked in the past about how Marquette is looking to play a possession style game. That was in full effect against Portland, as MU outshot the Pilots 21-7, including a 14-3 advantage after halftime. Yet, Portland was leading at halftime, 2-1, through two advantageous shots that found their way past keeper Amanda Engel. In the third minute, Ellie Boon sent a ball into the middle that Cecilia Pedersen lofted into the air with her back to the net, and the ball went careening into the net. Caroline Fink leveled the match in the 11th minute, and Marquette seemed to start to take control. But, in the 31st minute, Portland advanced the ball into their offensive third. Boon again showed off her passing skills, sending the ball almost all the way across all of the 18 yard box to a waiting Noelle La Prevotte, who cracked it home for a 2-1 lead.
Portland got things started in the second half with a bit of a lucky goal, eventually smashing home a ball that was clattering around in front of Engel. That made it 3-1, and things looked bleak for Marquette. But, head coach Markus Roeders countered with a slight tactics adjustment. He inserted Erin Holland into the game, moving Jacie Jermier off the back line and into the midfield. That almost immediately paid off with Jermier flying down the field by herself and punching a ball into the net to make it 3-2 with 24 minutes to play. Now we're in business!
Except... In the 69th minute, Portland got a cross into the middle that, likely because of the drizzling rain, Engel couldn't cleanly catch. She followed the bounding ball and in the process bumped into Allison Whetherington. I didn't think this collision was particularly violent, even though Whetherington fell to the ground, and even if it was, Engel has to be allowed a certain amount of freedom as the keeper, right?
Wrong. The referee, who was already struggling to call simple and obvious fouls as they were happening, awarded Portland a penalty kick. Whetherington converted it and, bang: 4-2. Darian Powell would give MU a breath of hope in the 87th minute to make it 4-3, but they couldn't muster anything else.
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Even though they played their style, Marquette didn't come away with the win on Friday. That was most definitely not the case on Sunday against Boston University. Marquette outshot the Terriers 16-9, as well as outdid BU on corner kicks, 10-2. That's just the background, though, as the Golden Eagles took a 1-0 lead midway through the first half, and then boosted that to 3-0 with two second half markers.
Liz Bartels got MU on the board with a bit of a fortuitous break Caroline Fink crossed a ball into the middle that found nothing but the head of a Boston defender. Luckily, that ball went straight into the ground and rolled out into the middle of the pitch, where Bartels could knock it home. Bartels did the passing on the second Marquette goal, finding Molly Pfeiffer eight yards outside the goal for her second goal of the season and a hearty "Your dad is proud of you!" from the grandstands. Erin Holland tacked on in the 85th minute with a header off a Madison Dunker corner kick. Officially the goal goes to Holland, but it definitely went off a Boston defender's head along the way. It might have already been across the goal line by that point, but it was close enough where I wasn't sure watching it live that it wasn't an own goal.
Up Next: Only one game this coming weekend for your Golden Eagles. They'll host Minnesota (2-1-1) on Friday night.