Liz Bartels scored early, Maddy Henry made eight saves, and Villanova provided the insurance for Marquette as the Golden Eagles beat Villanova 2-0 on Thursday afternoon. MU is now 5-2-0 in Big East action and, after the rest of the day’s action, they sit in third place in the conference table.
ICYMI: @DePaulWSoccer @HoyasWSoc punch their postseason tickets into the #BIGEASTwsoc Championship field with Thursday night wins! pic.twitter.com/CrUhSwDVCo— BIG EAST Conference (@BIGEAST) October 21, 2016
It’s a tightly packed top of the table, but as you can see from the up to the minute chart from the Big East, Marquette will be able to clinch a conference tournament berth with a win in their next outing.
Bartels was a fireball in the first half, letting rip on five shots in the opening 45 minutes, a total that would have stood up as the match high. Her third shot of the match found the back of the net when she snapped home a cross from Molly Pfieffer up and over VU keeper Emily Harris in the 20th minute. MU finished the half with a 12-8 advantage on shots, so while the Golden Eagles were in control, you could see how Villanova might be knocking on the door, too.
The Wildcats handed Marquette an insurance policy just 75 seconds into the second half. MU’s Caroline Fink fired a pass out in front of the Nova net, and while there was a cluster of defenders there, it crashed off of freshman Kristin Barbour and into the net to give Marquette a 2-0 lead.
Given a lead against an opponent that has never scored a goal against you, it kind of makes sense that MU went into a shell a little bit from there on out. The shots advantage turned in Villanova’s favor after the own goal, with the Wildcats outshooting the Golden Eagles, 9-6. Henry was outstanding for Marquette, snaring five shots to finish with eight saves overall on the afternoon for her fourth career shutout and drop her goals-against average to 1.19 on the season.
Up Next: Marquette returns home for the final two matches of the season. They’ll face Butler on Sunday with an eye on clinching that Big East tournament spot. The Bulldogs are 10-5-2 on the season and 3-3-1 in league play after getting a 2-0 win over Creighton on Thursday night. That was a big win for BU as it vaulted them over the Bluejays for the sixth and final tournament berth, but with only one point separating the two squads, Butler still needs more to make sure they qualify.