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2016 Big East Women’s Soccer Tournament Semifinals Preview: #1 Marquette vs #4 St. John’s

The Golden Eagles have their eyes set on a third conference tournament title.

NCAA Basketball: NIT Season Tip-Off-Minnesota vs St. John's Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

2016 Big East Women’s Soccer Conference Tournament Semifinals

#1 Marquette vs #4 St. John’s

When: Friday, November 4, 2016, at 10:30am CT
Where: Shaw Field in Washington, D.C.
Audio/Visual: The Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go has the video stream & there’s live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer
Last Meeting: Marquette won 2-0 earlier this season in Milwaukee
All Time Series: Marquette leads, 11-1-1

Marquette looks to add a fourth trophy to their 2016 season when they meet up with St. John’s in the Big East conference tournament semifinals on Friday. Senior defensive midfielder Morgan Proffitt was named Defensive Player of the Year earlier this week and the MU coaching staff was named best in the league by a vote of the league’s coaches. Those two trophies stand next to Marquette’s 10th regular season championship, which they share with DePaul after last weekend’s thrilling 3-2 overtime victory over the Blue Demons at Valley Fields in Milwaukee.

Offensively speaking, this has been one of the bigger team efforts in head coach Markus Roeders’ tenure in Milwaukee. Thanks to her brace against the Blue Demons, Proffitt finished the regular season as the team leader in goals (5) and tied for the lead in points (13) with Carrie Madden and Molly Pfeiffer. She passed a trio of Golden Eagles, including Madden and Pfeiffer, knotted at four goals and a total of 12 MU players found the back of the net this season to assemble the Big East’s fifth best goals total.

That may not sound impressive for a team that won the #1 seed in the Big East tournament, and yeah, it’s probably not. However, MU was stingy on defense in conference play, posting their only four shutouts of the season all against league foes on the way to allowing just nine goals in nine matches. Proffitt was the DPOY for good reason, but a tip of the cap has to go to freshman keeper Maddy Henry for that performance, too. MU had a rough go of things in the non-conference slate, particularly towards the end when the Golden Eagles got into a nasty habit of gaining then giving up two goal leads. Things stabilized in league play though, and Marquette appears headed for the NCAA tournament after missing out each of the last two seasons.

The question is: Will they be an at-large team or will Marquette seize the Big East’s automatic bid as tournament champion?

For them to do that, they’re going to have to literally go through Diana Poulin. St. John’s senior keeper is a three-time, three-time, three-time [/Booker T voice] Big East Goalkeeper of the Year after leading the league in goals-against average and save percentage this season. Here’s the good news for Golden Eagles fans: MU beat Poulin for two goals in the regular season meeting between the two teams. That was just one of three matches this season where Poulin gave up more than one goal, and she never conceded more than two.

Here’s the bad news: Marquette is 3-1-1 all time when facing St. John’s with Poulin in net. “Hey, that’s not too bad,” you might say. For a five match span, no, it’s probably not. Scroll back up and look at MU’s all time record against the Johnnies again. Yeah. Poulin owns the only win and draw against Marquette in the all time series.

For both of those matches, St. John’s was an offensive dynamo powered by Rachel Daly. She was a senior last year, and the Red Storm has struggled to score goals this season. SJU has posted five ties this season, and four of them were a result of neither team finding the back of the net. They’ve been incredibly reliant on Poulin to backstop them even though they outshoot their opponents by an average of nearly five shots a game. As if to put a bow on this, St. John’s beat Providence 1-0 on Tuesday night in the quarterfinal round to advance to the semifinals. They outshot PC 13-11 but didn’t find a game winner until the 84th minute, and even then, they needed Morgan Tinari to knock in a rebound off an initial save by the Friars.

The winner of this match advances to Sunday’s championship match against the winner of #2 DePaul vs #3 and host Georgetown. That match kicks off at 1pm CT on Friday, while the championship match will start at noon CT and will be televised on FS1.