In Tuesday’s edition of the Marquette Tribune (also available online), there’s a happy-go-lucky article from Grant Becker about how the seniors on the MU women’s soccer team are aiming at finishing their careers where they started: a Big East championship.
It’s a pretty good article, and I have absolutely zero qualms with it.
The problem is that it was published on Tuesday, two days after Marquette threw away a 2-0 lead for the third straight match and lost 3-2 in overtime to Creighton in the first match of the Big East schedule. That is, quite simply, not the kind of start to league play that you want when you’re trying to win the league title.
Now, this doesn’t mean MU can’t win the Big East title, either regular season or tournament version. They’ve still got eight matches left to play, and that’s an awful lot of points left to be contested, especially with league favorite Georgetown having to settle for a draw in their opener against Providence. The problem, as you can guess, is that the Golden Eagles are still going to have to play that Hoyas team that’s currently ranked #4 in the country, not to mention the Friars team that held GU scoreless for 110 minutes.
If Marquette can’t hold leads against Cal Poly, Cal State Northridge, and Creighton, what’s going to happen to them against Georgetown and Providence? Are they even going to get leads in those matches in the first place? If you ignore the complete trouncing from Stanford this season, MU is slightly underwater in terms of shots this season, with opponents managing six more shots than the Golden Eagles, 109-103. Georgetown outshoots their opponents by six shots per game on average.
It’s great that the team is going into things with a positive mental attitude and a definitive goal in mind. Now they have to show their ability to reach that goal on the field.
Big East Match #2: vs Seton Hall (4-4-1, 0-1-0 Big East)
When: Thursday, September 29, 2016, at 7pm CT
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: TWC SportsChannel has the TV broadcast, plus there’s live stats.
Special Promotion: First 600 fans get a #BeBoldWearGold T-shirt.
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer &
The good news for Marquette is that there’s only one team in the Big East that averages fewer shots per game than the Golden Eagles and, yup, you guessed it, it’s the Seton Hall Pirates. If there was ever a game designed to let MU get their system in order and figure out what they need to do to be successful this season, it’d be putting a game against SHU right here on the schedule.
Seton Hall comes in after getting a three match undefeated streak snapped in their Big East opener. The Pirates mustered up just four shots in the match, but ultimately ended up with a loss because they conceded a 69th minute penalty kick to St. John’s. That’s eight straight Big East losses for SHU, dating back to last October when they defeated - you guessed it - Marquette, 1-0. They were lucky to get that win, as the lone goal in the match was scored off an own goal. That match was Seton Hall’s first ever win against Marquette in six tries, and it was gained on an own goal. That was also just the second goal that SHU has ever recorded against Marquette after four straight shutouts. Not great, Bob.
Frankie Maier and Siobhan McGovern are what passes for offensive threats on this SHU team. They both have two goals on the season, and Maier has added three assists. They’re the only two Pirates with double digits in shots, and actually, they’re the only two with more than seven.
The Pirates have had a relatively stable lineup this season, with eight players starting all nine matches. That includes sophomore keeper Anna MacLean. Statistically speaking, she’s doing pretty well on the year, averaging less than one goal per 90 minutes and stopping 85% of shots on frame. She is, however, one of just two keepers on the season in the Big East to record 50 saves already, so Seton Hall’s defense isn’t exactly slowing things down in front of her.