The Marquette Golden Eagles will be in Queens this afternoon as they take on the St. John’s Red Storm. MU is coming off back to back losses to begin Big East play for the first time ever. If you want to get caught up on MU’s last game against Villanova, check out my game recap. I’m not going to dwell on the past so let’s just say it was MU’s worst loss in recent memory for multiple reasons and move on. The Johnnies started the year unbeaten in their first four games but have lost four of their last five games. They broke that streak against Creighton last weekend, beating them 1-0 in double overtime. It wasn’t that impressive considering Creighton’s ranked #233 in the BennettRank with a 2-8-1 record this season, and not to mention that the Jays lost a player to a red card late. The goal for Marquette is to not only beat St. John’s, but look good while doing so. They must get back to playing dominant football like they were during their seven game win streak. With that said, let’s take a look at their opponent.
Big East Match #3: at St. John’s Red Storm (5-5-1, 1-1-0 Big East)
St. John’s came away with a 1-0 double overtime victory in their last game against Creighton. Both teams traded chances throughout the game and it was really a question of which side could out-last the other. It became easier for the Red Storm after Creighton’s Haylee Blatch was shown a red card after tackling St. John’s Madeleine Watson just outside the box in the 87th minute. Having the one-up advantage was the difference for the Red Storm who eventually found their leading scorer, Christina Bellero, in behind the CU defense. Bellero calmly slotted the ball into the net to give St. John’s their first Big East victory and end their four game losing streak.
The Red Storm have found themselves in close games often this season. All but one of their games has been decided by one goal or less. A simple bounce of the ball their way and they could have had a different result in a lot of their losses. All this means is that they are a better team than their record indicates. However, four of their five losses have been 1-0 defeats. Ultiamtely, they are prone to the shutout if Marquette can figure out their game plan defensively. In three of their five wins the Red Storm scored two goals. The Golden Eagles may not need to get a shutout to win. Even if they hold St. John’s to one goal they have a good chance to get the much needed victory, though a shutout would be a confidence booster for a defense that has allowed nine goals in the last three games.
Ugh, that wasn’t even fun to type.
Alright, so allowing zero goals against the Red Storm would be nice. How might they go about doing that? As long as they can shut down aforementioned star Christina Bellero, they should be in good shape. I suggest either double-teaming her when she gets the ball or having a specific player designated to mark her when the Red Storm has possession of the ball. If worse comes to worse, just foul her when she gets near the box, but, like, in a nice way. Basically, do whatever it takes to prevent her from getting a shot towards net. The Golden Eagles have had their share issues defensively as of late and containing St. John’s leading scorer would be a big win for the back line. Bellero has five goals and two assists this year for 12 points. Aside from her, no other player has more than four points this season. The other seven Red Storm goals have been scored by seven different players. So yeah, whatever you do, do not let Bellero near the goal.
The Golden Eagles could see one of two freshmen goalkeepers (or both) this afternoon. The keeper with the most playing time is Jordan Kamp with seven games played and nearly 680 minutes of action. The other option is Antonia Tammaro who has started four games and logged 360 minutes. What’s the difference between the two? Kamp has the better record going 4-2-1 with two shutouts. Tammaro has the better goals against average at 0.75 and an impressive .875 save percentage. Those marks are good enough to be fourth in the Big East in goals against average and third best in save percentage. I guess the only reason she’s hasn’t played more is her 1-3 record. Though, she has gotten zero goals of support in those three losses, so you can hardly blame her. More than likely head coach Ian Stone is giving both of his keepers lots of playing time because they are both freshmen and he wants to build them up for the future. Kamp got the start in the double overtime victory over Creighton so we’ll see if Stone decides to start the hot hand against the Golden Eagles.
It’s probably going to be a close game but Marquette really needs to pull this one out to get their season back on track. Realistically, they cannot afford to lose any more games against teams not named Georgetown if they want any hope of making the NCAA tournament. To be honest, after that thrashing by Villanova, finishing in the top six and qualifying for the Big East tournament is not a guarantee by any measure. Carrie Madden came off the bench last game and seemed to provide some life to the offense, so hopefully we’ll see her get some more playing time against St. John’s.