In the preview for Thursday's match against South Alabama, I pointed out that Marquette had played two outstanding matches last weekend from a form perspective, and now they just needed to find a way to turn shots into goals.
All of that went out the window against the Jaguars, as MU got outshot and Amanda Engel had to post a career best 11 saves just to get the Golden Eagles to a 1-1 draw. It probably shouldn't have even gotten to that point, as Marquette got a goal from traffic in front of the South Alabama net in the fifth minute and then led 1-0 for the next 73 minutes. But it did, Marquette kept USA out of the net through two overtime periods, and now they're 3-3-2 on the season.
This is, generally speaking, suboptimal. Marquette finished the non-conference schedule at 4-4-2 a year ago and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in seven seasons. MU will still have one non-conference game after this one, when they visit Milwaukee on Wednesday. Wins here and on Wednesday would be a significant boost to the season heading into Big East play.
Match #9: at LSU (6-1-2)
When: Sunday, September 20, 2015, at Noon Central
Where: LSU Soccer Stadium in Baton Rouge, LA
Audio/Visual: Video will be available via SEC Network+, and there will be live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer
I'm glad I'm not in charge of figuring out the SEC's women's soccer schedules. All 14 schools participate, but there are no divisions. Each team only plays an 11 game schedule, so they don't play two of their conference mates, and I have no idea how they go about figuring that out. The point of all of this is that even though it's barely mid-September, LSU has already played two conference matches and are 1-1 in those games.
LSU has won three of their last four games, with their only loss of the season coming in double overtime against Alabama in that stretch. That run also includes a 1-0 win over #21 Duke off a penalty kick goal from Jorian Baucom at the 73 minute mark. Apparently the loss to Alabama is more damning than the Duke win is praising, because LSU got absolutely no votes in the most recent NSCAA Top 25 voting, even though the Duke win was the day before the new poll came out.
Speaking of Jorian Baucom, Marquette has a unique challenge in the sophomore from Arizona. That PK winner against Duke was her eighth strike of the season, which, according to the NCAA's website, is the second most goals in the country, trailing only the nine markers from Boston College's Mckenzie Meehan. We'll just consider it a warmup for Butler's Halle Stelbasky, who has seven goals so far this season. Baucom's also tied for the second most points in the country with 18, as she's chipped in two assists. Natalia Gomez-Junco leads LSU in assists, though, with six on the season. As a team, the Tigers do like passing a bit, as they've got 16 helpers on 20 goals, and remember, one of those goals was Baucom's PK.
Catalina Rubiano took over in net midway through last season for LSU, and she hasn't let go since. Rubiano, who spent time training with the Colombian National Team in the summer of 2014, has played every single minute so far this season, and she's doing pretty well for herself. Her goals against average (1.04) is way down from her appearances in 2014 (2.37), and she's stopping 74% of shots on goal.