Well, the opening weekend could have gone better for Marquette.
The Golden Eagles got into a 2-0 hole against Nebraska and even though they outshot the Huskers, they ended up taking a 2-1 loss. That was followed up two days later with a 1-0 loss to Kansas that was pretty much all Jayhawks from the jump.
So now Marquette is 0-2 for the first time since 1999. Yeah. There’s some similarities there. MU opened up with two games against high major squads that year, losing 3-1 to Illinois and 2-1 to Wisconsin. Part of that streak of starting off with at least one win in the first two matches has been scheduling a team that was downstream of Marquette, so to speak. It’s a bit of a case of “you poke the bear, you’re going to get bit,” but Marquette’s schedule’s also not getting easier any time soon. They’ll be in California to play #13 ranked Santa Clara one week from today, and #3 ranked Stanford follows that up three days later.
Starting out 0-2 also isn’t a death sentence for the season. Marquette went 16-5-2 after that 0-2 start in 1999, winning the Conference USA tournament and advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament. It can be done, especially with a Big East schedule that picked up a measly three total points in the newest NSCAA top 25 poll.
Match #3: at Illinois State (0-2-0)
When: Thursday, August 25, 2016, at 7pm Central
Where: Adelaide Street Field in Normal, IL
Audio/Visual: ESPN3/WatchESPN will have the streaming broadcast. Live stats will be here.
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer & @Redbird_Soccer
This will be the third meeting all-time between Marquette and ISU. They met for the first time in the first round of the 2012 NCAA tournament, where MU came away with the 3-0 win. Illinois State evened the all time series early in the very next season, earning a 3-2 win in Normal.
Illinois State opened up their season on the same rough slide as Marquette did, although I mean the Marquette of 1999. The Redbirds lost at home to Wisconsin and on the road against Illinois last weekend, both by 1-0 final margins. You have to admit it’s a little weird that they lost to the same teams as Marquette did in 1999, right? Kinda creepy.
ISU might have been a little unlucky in their first two matches. Yes, they were outshot by a combined margin of 35-24 and didn’t score a goal. However, they did put 14 shots on goal against just eight by their opponents, so they’re getting good looks at the net that just aren’t going in.
This would normally be the part of the program where I talk about Illinois State’s leading scorer so far this season, but they haven’t actually scored a goal yet. Redshirt senior Lauren Koehl leads the team in shots, though, with eight. Freshman goalkeeper Hayley Smith played all 180 minutes for the Redbirds last weekend, so I’m guessing we’ll see her again on Thursday night.