I don't want to overreact to one thing, but Marquette got shutout by a team with six losses out of their nine matches on Saturday.
My concern before the season was primarily how the defense would come together, and it's worth noting that MU is playing a freshman keeper who has already recorded two shutouts. Another freshman, Ruben Sanchez was just named Big East Defensive Player of the Week. These are all good signs.
But also a concern was Marquette's ability to score this season. This bit them in the ass hard during Big East play last season, and it's troubling to see a woeful St. John's squad post a clean sheet against the Golden Eagles. C. Nortey has a goal and an assist on the season, which is the same total as freshman Jesper Larsson. Louis Bennett II has a goal and two assists, which is the same total as Jake Taylor, who is a defender. These are the guys who need to be loading points on to the scoreboard for Marquette, and they're struggling to do so. It's not a good sign, generally speaking.
Things probably aren't getting better tonight against a notoriously stingy Notre Dame squad. But these things need to get better, and need to get better in a hurry.
Match #8: at #14 Notre Dame (6-2-1, 2-1-0 ACC)
When: Tuesday, September 29, 2015, at 6pm Central
Where: Alumni Stadium in South Bend, IN
Audio/Visual: ND puts their NBC & ACC money to good use & has a FREE video stream. Live stats, too.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer
A great start to 2015 has gotten a bit rocky in the last few matches for the Irish. They started the season ranked #4 in the country and in search of their 3rd straight ACC regular season title. Perhaps, on some level, you had to expect that Notre Dame was going to encounter a rough patch or two when you consider that they ended up playing six ranked teams in their first nine matches. It took into the second half of their sixth match of the season before ND gave up a goal, which is good. They lost that match to Xavier, and followed that up with a complete defensive failure by losing 4-2 to #3 North Carolina. They've rebounded well, though, winning at Michigan State, 4-0, as well as defeating #4 Virginia in their most recent game.
Sophomore Jon Gallagher leads Notre Dame in goals thus far this season with five markers. They're an adept passing team, recording 15 assists on 17 goals, and there are three different Irish players that have tallied three helpers to tie for the team lead. The surprising thing is that none of the three is senior midfielder Patrick Hodan. ND's active goals and points leader was on the MAC Hermann watch list at the start of the season, but he's only tallied two assists this season. He was a point a match played a year ago after recording 9 goals and three assists, so it's probably fair to expect him to have a flurry of scoring some time soon.
Chris Hubbard has played all but 7 minutes this season in net for ND. He's doing an outstanding job replacing three year starter Patrick Wall, as Hubbard has recorded six shutouts this season. He's stopping 81% of shots on goal and he's got a microscopic goals-against average of 0.64.