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Marquette Women’s Soccer Weekend Preview: vs UWM & at #24 Northwestern

The Golden Eagles split the weekend home and away as they try to find some offensive pop.

NCAA Round One: Oklahoma University Sooners v University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers
tfw you have to use 10 year old pictures because UWM doesn’t have any other pictures in the hopper
Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

In our preview of last Sunday’s match against Stanford, we talked about how Marquette’s offense has largely been supplied by Morgan Proffitt, a defensive midfielder, and Emily Hess, a left back. The point was that MU was going to need to find production from their forwards, and they were going to need to start finding it quickly.

Then Marquette went and got outshot by Stanford, 31-2.

But that’s a defensive issue, you might say. Well, it’s also an issue of not being able to possess the ball long enough to stop the Cardinal from shooting it once every three minutes. In the past, the teams that head coach Markus Roeders has run out there have been masters of maintaining possession and bombing away on their opponents. Not to the degree that Stanford subjected Marquette to, of course, but still tilting heavily in favor of the Golden Eagles.

Even without that shelling from Stanford, Marquette is still getting outshot 53-41 on the season. That’s not good, in fact, it’s objectively bad when you consider the percentage of shots that Marquette is getting (44% of all the shots in the game) relative to their percentage last year (57%), which was arguably the worst season of Roeders’ tenure as head coach.

There’s still this weekend, and then two home games next weekend for MU to iron out the kinks before Big East play starts. Three of their four opponents, specifically the three that they’ll see at Valley Fields, are not lighting the world on fire this season, and as far as the fourth goes, well, maybe MU can muster their effort and result from their 1-1 draw with #22 Santa Clara from last week.....

Match #7: vs UW-Milwaukee (3-2-1)

When: Friday, September 9, 2016, at 7pm CT
Where: Valley Fields
Audio/Visual: will have a free video stream for you, plus there’s live stats.
Special Promotions: A complimentary Qdoba bar at halftime for MU students.
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer & @MKE_WSoccer

This is the 25th meeting between the Golden Eagles and the Panthers. Marquette holds a 9-8-7 advantage in the series after last year’s 1-1 draw.

UWM started the season without a loss in their first three contests, extending a streak from the end of the 2015 campaign to 13 straight matches. That tied a program record, but they’ve lost two of their last three games since then, including the match that stopped that streak at 13.

As you might have expected with 10 straight matches without a loss to end 2015, UWM won the Horizon League regular season title last year, but was knocked out of the HL tournament by penalty kicks. They were picked to finish second in the conference this season, but that’s almost on a technicality. The Panthers finished with the same number of first place votes as Oakland, but because Northern Kentucky also snagged two votes, UWM ended up with 71 points while Oakland snapped up 72.

Maria Stephans and Callie O’Donnell are tied atop the Panthers’ leaderboard with three goals apiece this season. Stephans has the advantage in points, though, thanks to a lone assist. That’s one of nine assists that UWM has registered on their 10 goals this season, with Anna Smalley leading the way with three. Redshirt junior Mallory Geurts has started every match this season after transferring from UW-Parkside but missing all of 2015 with an injury. She has a goals-against average of just 0.87 and a quality save percentage of 80%.

Match #8: at #24 Northwestern (5-0-0)

When: Sunday, September 11, 2016, at 5pm CT
Where: Martin Stadium in Evanston, IL
Audio/Visual: NU’s gonna charge you $4 for a video stream, but live stats are free.
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer & @NUWsoccer

Marquette holds a 6-2-2 all time advantage over Northwestern, although the most recent match went the Wildcats’ way. That snapped a seven match unbeaten streak for Marquette in the series, dating back to 1996.

After starting the season off with two straight shutouts, Northwestern allowed a goal at the 3:21 mark on the road against DePaul in match #3. They ended up with a 2-1 win there, thanks to an 86th minute game winning goal, and they haven’t allowed a goal since. That’s a streak of over 356 minutes without allowing a goal, and that goal by DePaul is the only thing preventing them from a streak of 450 minutes to open the season.

That’s how you go from unranked to start the season to slipping in to the #24 spot in the most recent NSCAA top 25 poll. If nothing else, you have to say that NU is definitely building off their NCAA tournament appearance last season. It was just the third tourney appearance in program history and the first since 1998, and it would seem that they’re determined to not wait even one more year for their next one.

Amidst their defensive prowess, the Wildcats have three players who have scored multiple goals this season. They’re led by four from sophomore forward/midfielder Brenna Lovera, who is also atop the points chart with eight. As you might have guessed, junior goalkeeper Lauren Clem’s stats are ridonkulous: 0.16 goals-against average, 91.7% save percentage.