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Marquette Women’s Soccer Preview: vs Creighton Bluejays

Is two back-to-back wins to close out the year too much to ask for???

John Gutierrez-USA TODAY Sports

The Marquette Golden Eagles will play their final home game of the year against the Creighton Bluejays on Sunday afternoon. The Golden Eagles are coming off a tough loss at Georgetown in a game where they really never got anything going offensively and were unable to challenge they Hoyas. As was expected, Georgetown bounced back very well after their first Big East loss of the season. Now MU can take an exhale right?

Big East Match #8: vs Creighton Bluejays (3-10-3, 1-4-2 Big East)

Date: Sunday, October 22, 2017
Time: 1pm Central
Location: Valley Fields
Streaming: Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go
Live Stats: GameTracker
Special Promotion: Pink Out! Join the Golden Eagles for their annual “Kick for the Cure” match where nine pink long-sleeved jerseys will be auctioned off on gomarquette.com with bids starting at $50. Fans at the game will also be able to purchase raffle tickets for 1 of 2 jerseys that will be given out at the game. The proceeds will go to the American Cancer society.
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer

NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND. Although they haven’t had all that much to celebrate, credit Creighton for beating Villanova (who MU lost to) 1-0 on a ridiculous counter attack off a corner kick stemming from a saved penalty kick. THIS ALL HAPPENED IN THE FINAL TWO MINUTES OF REGULATION. CU also managed a 1-1 draw against Georgetown which I’m sure was celebrated as a win by the Bluejays. You read that right... they scored against a Hoyas team that has only allowed two goals in Big East play. So do NOT be fooled by their record. Creighton is a tricky team and it definitely won’t be an easy game for the Golden Eagles who haven’t shown the same dominance in Big East play as they did in non-conference.

The Creighton Bluejays have been out shot by opponents 19.8-9.5 this year. They have also had difficulty combining with each other in the attack with only seven assists on their 14 goals. They have struggled mightily in the second half on the defensive side of the ball allowing 22 of their 26 goals in the second period. This plays right into MU’s hands as they have scored double (12) of the amount of goals in the second half as they have scored in the first (6). If the Golden Eagles can hold Creighton scoreless in the opening period, they will put themselves in great position to come out victorious considering the Blue Jays have just five second half goals.

In net for Creighton is Omaha native McKenzie Meola. She has played every minute in goal for the Bluejays and leads the Big East in saves with 96. This is in part a result of Creighton leading the Big East in a category you don’t want to be first in. They have conceded the most goals with 29 and have the worst goals against average at 1.72. But still, credit Meola for making an average of just above 6 saves per game. Without her play, the scores would be a little more lopsided for a Bluejay team that has only lost by three or more goals three times all season. Taryn Jakubowski and Kaira Houser lead the way for Creighton with three goals a piece. Jakubowski is the points leader with seven because of her one assist. Aside from that, they have three players with two goals each. Marquette shouldn’t have trouble defending the Bluejay attack as long as they stay focused and organized in the back.

If you’ve been following the Golden Eagles throughout the season, you are very familiar with their star players. Sophomore Maddy Henry has been heroic in net with seven clean sheets and has one Big East Goalkeeper of the week award and two Big East Honor roll awards. Her 4.94 saves per game average ranks third in the Big East. Henry is actually from Omaha which will add extra significance for her in this game playing against a few players that played for rival High Schools. Marquette’s two leaders on offense are Darian Powell and Carrie Madden. Powell is the points leader with 14 (5 goals, 4 assists) and Madden closely follows with 11 points (4 goals, 3 assists). Powell currently sits in 7th place on Marquette’s all-time scoring list with 23 goals. She is just two goals away from a three-way tie for 6th place. Wouldn’t it be awesome if she could reach that milestone with game-winning goals against Creighton and Seton Hall?

Boy, I sure hope the Golden Eagles can come out victorious in this one. They desperately need to win out to secure a spot in the Big East tournament, as they’re currently in a tie for fifth place in the league, and that means that MU is technically holding onto the sixth and final spot in the brackets. They’ll have the easiest road to the tournament based off record as they play Creighton that has three total wins this year and will close out against last place Seton Hall who has yet to win a game all season. MU has a 4-3-1 series lead against the Bluejays. Some more stats that favor Marquette: the Bluejays have gotten points on just three occasions when they’ve played on the road and have zero road wins in Big East play. The Golden Eagles also benefit from having the late start on Sunday. All the other games will likely be finished by the time they reach halftime. So they will know exactly where they stack up before their game is finished. Hopefully, they’ll have the advantage at halftime and won’t need to worry about 1) the other results or 2) making a second-half push to get the victory.

Speaking of the other games... #7 DePaul will travel to play #8 Villanova, #4 Providence will be at #10 Seton Hall, #3 Xavier will be in Queens against #6 St. John’s, and the biggest match of the weekend will be top ranked Georgetown at #2 Butler. The top four teams ahead of the Golden Eagles are Georgetown (16 points), Butler (15 points), Xavier (14 points), and Providence (13 points). The Golden Eagles are currently in a tie for fifth with St. John’s at nine points. However, DePaul and Villanova aren’t too far behind with seven and six points respectively. The Golden Eagles are essentially entering a must-win game against Creighton if they want to remain among the top 6 teams. Remember, only the first six teams qualify for the Big East tournament.