Marquette men's soccer outshot St. John's 20-10, including 17-8 in regulation, but the Golden Eagles were unable to find the back of the net and had to settle for a 0-0 draw in their 2015 Big East opener.
Getting a road point in the league table is never a bad thing. But this one gnaws at me. Marquette came in as the clearly superior team, as the Red Storm were just 1-6-0 coming into the match and had scored just five goals all season. It's borderline inexplicable as to how and or why MU couldn't punch one across in this match, although I have a theory.
It's Belson Stadium.
Back in 2013, Marquette traveled to New York to face St. John's, and MU was unbeaten and untied in five conference matches to that point of the season. The #16 ranked Golden Eagles ended up with a 0-0 draw in that match, too. The point that Marquette got out of that match was enough to keep them in first place at the time, but the two points they left behind nearly cost them the Big East title that season. Last year, Marquette women's soccer went to Belson for the Big East semifinals, and they went to a scoreless draw with DePaul before the Blue Demons eliminated Marquette via penalty kicks. Even when women's soccer went to New York to play the Red Storm last year, they still had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
So, yeah, it seems obvious that the Belson Stadium nets are haunted and Marquette is weirdly unable to come away from Queens with anything more interesting than a single point from a draw. That's gotta be it.
In any case, in this one, it was Marquette dominating the scoresheet and the run of play. Luis Barraza had to make just four saves to keep the Red Storm off the board, while his counterpart on the other end was much busier. Jordan Stagmiller got the start for St. John's, even though I had figured that SJU was tilting towards playing Andrew Withers, and he had to make nine saves to keep the game scoreless.
Actually, he had to make 10, but Stagmiller only recorded nine saves. That 10th one officially goes as a "team" save, but it was Devin Morgan that made the play. In the first overtime session, David Selvaggi got a chance to head a ball to the far post with Stagmiller sprawled on the artificial turf surface at Belson. That ball was going in the net and Marquette was getting on a plane back to New York with three points..... until Morgan flew in out of nowhere to head the ball off the line. It was one of those situations where if Selvaggi had just stood there for the next 60 seconds and stared at where the ball was headed and tried to figure out what the hell had gone wrong, no one would have blamed him. It was a perfectly struck ball by the senior, and it was an amazing play by Morgan to keep his team alive.
Up Next: Brace for impact, kids. Marquette heads to South Bend on Tuesday to tangle with Notre Dame. As of right now, Notre Dame (6-2-1) is ranked #14 in the country, but they picked up two wins this week, including a 3-1 win over #4 Virginia. Notre Dame was ranked #2 in the country earlier this season, but they were knocked off that perch by back to back losses to Xavier and North Carolina, although the Tar Heels were ranked #3 in the country at the time.