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Marquette Men’s Soccer Preview: at #15 Butler

The postseason hopes of the Golden Eagles are riding on this one.

NCAA Basketball: Georgetown at Butler Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

With two matches left to play, YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles find themselves in ninth place in the Big East, five points back of the sixth and final conference tournament spot.

Now, no one has been mathematically eliminated as of yet, so with six possible points still on the table for Marquette, it’s possible that they could catch and pass DePaul for that final tournament bid. They absolutely have to have wins in their next two matches, though. That might be a little bit of a steep task for Marquette, as they haven’t won consecutive conference matches since 2013.

Still, that’s the task ahead of them. It would be quite the accomplishment for this very very young MU squad to scrap and claw their way into a postseason berth. There are just two seniors on the roster, so to pull off this kind of rally late in the season could go a long way towards launching Marquette into a sustained burst of success.

Freshman Luka Prpa has four goals and an assist in Marquette’s last four matches to give him 24 points (9G, 6A) on the season. That gives him a smidge of a lead over Butler’s David Goldsmith (23 points) for the best total in the league this season. Goldsmith has Prpa pegged on goals, 10-9, but Prpa gets the lead because he has Goldsmith doubled up on helpers. It’s not a gimme at this point yet, but Prpa has to be the heavy favorite for Big East Freshman of the Year. Offensive Player of the Year isn’t totally out of the question either if he can find the back of the net a time or three in the next two matches.

Big East Match #8: at #15 Butler (9-5-1, 4-3-0 Big East)

When: Saturday, October 29, 2016, at 6pm CT
Where: Butler Bowl in Indianapolis, IN
Audio/Visual: The Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go has the video stream & there’s live stats.
Twitter Updates: @marquettesoccer

Marquette holds a narrow lead in the all time series, 4-3-0. The teams have met four times since Butler joined the Big East, and the Bulldogs have shut Marquette out in the previous two encounters. Before that, you have to go all the way back to 1992 to find a day when Butler defeated Marquette.

Facts Are Facts, Part 1: Butler is ranked #15 in the country in the NSCAA top 25 poll.

Facts Are Facts, Part 2: Butler lost to DePaul 1-0 on Wednesday on a goal with five seconds left in double overtime. They are probably not going to be ranked when the next poll comes out.

Facts Are Facts, Part 3: Butler is 2-5-0 in their last seven matches, and 1-4-0 in their last five. Their only win in the last five is against last place Seton Hall.

It’s possible that Butler is the worst #15 team in the country in recorded history, because they are just not good whatsoever right now. They made their bones this season by opening up 7-0-1 with a 4-2 win over #7 UC Santa Barbara along the way. That’s when their current 2-5-0 streak started and brought us here, where they need this win to get into the Big East tournament almost as much as Marquette does. Butler’s currently sitting in fifth place in the league with 12 points, but they’re vulnerable to both St. John’s and Georgetown in 7th and 8th at eight points each.

The aforementioned Goldsmith is the star for Butler, and for good reason, obviously. His teammates aren’t slouches, though, as the Bulldogs lead the Big East in total goals, even with their recent lack of success. Freshman Lewis Suddick (8G, 2A) is tied for the fourth most points in the league and he has the fifth most goals. Like I said, not a gimme for Prpa to win top freshman honors quite yet. Jared Timmer’s six assists are tops on the team and tied for the second best mark in the league with, amongst other people, Luka Prpa.

Eric Dick has played every minute in goal for the Bulldogs this season, and he’s allowing just a shade over a goal per 90 minutes. He’s tied for the second most shutouts in the league this season, although he’s stopping fewer than 75% of shots on frame.