A potential turning point of the season has arrived for the Marquette women’s soccer team.
I mean, it’s a literal turning point, as it’s the fifth Big East match of the season out of nine. Four down, four left to go after Sunday’s contest out east.
But it’s also a metaphorical turning point, as after four matches of Big East play, the Golden Eagles find themselves with a record of 3-1-0. That’s good enough for third place at the moment, nestling their nine points neatly between 2nd place Providence (hey, that’s Sunday’s opponent!) at 10 and 4th place Creighton at 6 points. If Marquette swings the win against the Friars and gets lucky enough to see Villanova beat DePaul, then MU will find themselves in a tie for first place in the Big East with four matches to play.
That’s a pretty good situation to find yourself in, especially after Marquette started out the season with a record of 4-4-2. In fact, it’s been just 10 days since I had serious reservations about Marquette’s goals of winning the league title. They’ve rattled off three straight wins since then, though, and a fourth straight victory has the chance to put the Golden Eagles in charge of their own destiny with a match against the Blue Demons still down the road.
Big East Match #5: at Providence (9-3-2, 3-0-1 Big East)
When: Sunday, October 9, 2016, at 12pm CT
Where: Chapey Field at Anderson Stadium in Providence, RI
Audio/Visual: The Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go has the video stream & there’s live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer & @PC_WomensSoccer
Marquette has a 10-0-2 all time record against Providence. MU has won seven straight matches and hasn't allowed a single goal in six straight matches.
Providence has carried success in the non-conference slate (6-3-1) over into their Big East matches, where they are undefeated through four contests. More impressively, they’ve only allowed one goal. PC has already survived one major test in league play when they opened up with a scoreless draw with #6 Georgetown. While the Hoyas’ struggles against Big East foes is a topic for a future date, we still have to give credit to the Friars’ defense for holding GU to a standstill.
That defense is anchored by goalie Kristyn Shea. She’s allowed just 12 goals in 14 matches this season, which includes shutouts in each of the last two contests and in four of the last five. She’s stopping 86% of shots on goal, which is actually even more impressive than it sounds Shea leads the Big East in saves by 14, and she’s the only keeper on the league averaging more than five saves per game. In short, PC’s defense can be carved for shots, but Shea has stood strong against those shots for the most part this season.
On the other end of the field, Marquette is going to need to keep an eye on both Rachel Ugolik and Kathryn Hiller. Both women have found the back of the net six times this season, which is good enough for a tie for sixth best in the Big East. Ugolik has three assists as well, which gives her 15 points, the 8th most in the league. If MU’s defense has some free time, they’ll want to track down Casey Estey. She’s tallied five assists on the year, which is tied for the second most by any Big East player this season.