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Marquette Women’s Soccer Preview: vs #7 Georgetown

Well, this could be interesting.

NCAA Basketball: Providence at Georgetown Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Marquette enters their biggest game of the year on their biggest roll of the year.

This isn’t a big game for the Golden Eagles just because it’s a top 10 opponent. Facing Georgetown was always going to be a big deal this season after the Hoyas were picked to win the Big East and Marquette was picked to finish second. The luck of the draw (aka MU went to DC each of the past two seasons) meant that it would be a home game for Marquette that could end up deciding who comes away with the #1 seed in the Big East tournament if not sole ownership of the regular season title.

Granted, after the first few matches of the year, it seemed like MU might not put themselves in position to make this match matter. They entered Big East play with a record of 4-4-2, and then got poked in the eye with a 3-2 overtime loss to Creighton to open the conference slate. Not good.

Marquette hasn’t lost since.

In fact, Marquette has only allowed one goal since that loss to Creighton. In fact, the Golden Eagles are currently riding a shutout streak of 309:50. They’ve won each of their last three matches by shutout, which were the first three shutouts of the season for Marquette. Heck, it’s the first time that MU has recorded three straight shutouts since they had five straight back in 2010.

That’s just the great defense. Marquette has scored at least two goals in six of the last seven matches. While past performance never guarantees future results, you can’t really argue for a better recent past for Marquette heading into the most important match of the year against a team ranked in the top 10 in the country.

Big East Match #6: vs #7 Georgetown (11-1-2, 3-0-1 Big East)

When: Sunday, October 16, 2016, at 1pm CT
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: The Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go has the video stream & there’s live stats.
Special Promotion: It’s the annual Kick for A Cure game: Thru halftime, donations to the American Cancer Society get you entered in a raffle for an authentic pink MU women’s soccer jersey. Donations of at least $5 get you a pink Marquette umbrella.
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer & @HoyasWSoc

Marquette holds a narrow advantage on Georgetown in the all-time series. MU leads, 3-2-1, although they are winless in the last two matches, including the lone draw one year ago in D.C.

I don’t know if this season qualifies as a surprise for Georgetown, because the Hoyas have been very good over the past half-decade or so. However, they started the season unranked and now they’re up to #7 in the country, so there is a certain amount of “WOAH” going on there. After suffering a 3-0 loss at home to powerhouse Stanford in the opening week of the season, Georgetown bounced back 12 days later with a 2-1 overtime win over #12 Rutgers. That vaulted them into the national rankings, but it was consecutive Sundays in late September that boosted them into the top 10. First, it was stomping at-the-time #3 Virginia with three first half goals in a 3-2 win, then one week later, it was a double overtime game winner from Grace Damaska that shot them past at-the-time #2 West Virginia, 1-0.

Weirdly, it’s been kind of a let down for Georgetown since then, even though they haven’t lost a match. They opened up league play with a 1-0-2 record, with scoreless draws against both Providence and St. John’s. Even with blowout wins in their next two matches, failing to come up with a full three points in those two matches has the #7 team in the country languishing in the middle of the Big East table at 11 points and currently barely clinging onto hosting a conference tournament quarterfinal. I’d say that the fact that they’ve only played five matches works in their favor, but so has Marquette, and the Golden Eagles are already have a one point advantage on them.

The Hoyas are the most dangerous offense in the Big East, scoring 2.64 goals per game. They’re led by a trio of attackers: the aforementioned Damaska (10G, 3A), Crystal Thomas (8G), and Rachel Corboz (8G, 8A). They represent three of the six best goal scorers in the Big East and three of the nine best point totals in the Big East and holy hell, that is frightening to type out.

That offense gets even scarier when you realize the defense that backs it up is the second best in the Big East, too. They’re allowing just 0.64 goals per game, which yes, means they’re outscoring opponents by an average of two goals per game, and remember: that’s including the 3-0 loss to Stanford. Arielle Schechtman has stepped into the Hoya net as a freshman with almost no hesitation. She’s played all but a bit over 45 minutes this season, so her goals-against average is actually below 0.60. She reels in over 82% of all the shots on goal, but she’s only making 2.64 saves per game.