The Marquette Golden Eagles will go on the road to play last place Seton Hall in the final game of the regular season. The Golden Eagles most recently thrashed Creighton 3-0 while the Pirates fell to Providence 2-1. Thanks to my colleague Brewtown Andy, all the playoff scenarios leading up to the final match day can be found here. If you’re looking for a nice breakdown of all the wacky things that can happen tonight for each team, follow the link. In short, with a win Marquette could jump as high as fourth place (crossing my fingers that Georgetown beats Xavier) and have a home game in the quarter-finals of the Big East tournament. With a draw or loss they could fall as low as sixth place depending on what happens between St. John’s and DePaul.
Big East Match #9: at Seton Hall Pirates (0-11-5, 0-5-3 Big East)
Seton Hall has won zero games all year. They have been the proverbial punching bag of the Big East this season. However, kind of like Creighton, we have to take a closer look at their schedule. Their two draws in Big East play were against DePaul (1-1) and Butler (0-0). The latter of the two is currently ranked in the United Coaches Soccer poll coming in at #20. Both of those games were back in late September as they were opening up Big East action. But since then, the only team they’ve lost to by more than one goal has been Georgetown. Every other Big East game, aside from the one’s already mentioned, have been one goal games. Including back-to-back comeback efforts where Seton Hall actually tied the game in the second half before giving up the eventual winner. So yeah, we should pump the brakes on writing this game off as an easy blowout win by MU, especially after the Golden Eagles suffered their only loss in the all-time series on their last trip to South Orange.
The Pirates have had difficulty in front of net this year, scoring just nine goals which is last in the Big East. They have only totaled four markers during conference play and each of those have been scored by different players. Although they have seldom found the net, they have kept pace with their opponents in shots, averaging just under three less shots per game. This makes sense considering more than half of the Pirates’ games have been decided by one goal. If you leave the Georgetown game out of the equation, their Big East results don’t look that bad with losses against Xavier, Providence, and St. John’s...all teams either in the tournament or looking to get in on the final game of the season.
Seton Hall’s four scorers in conference action have been Marissa Analowski, Lauren Hall, Cassy Harrigan, and Julia Stirpe. If you look at the bigger picture Stirpe, Hall and Harrigan all have two total goals, scoring one each during non-conference play. Stirpe has an assist as well and is the points leader with five. The Pirates have two goalkeepers that have split time in net this year. The Ontario native, Anna MacLean, has logged the most minutes with a shade over 900 and has given up 19 goals while making 37 saves. Junior Laura Dramis has played nearly 630 minutes and has let in nine goals while making 32 saves. Dramis’ 1.29 goals against average is significantly better than MacLean’s mark of 1.87. Important to note that Dramis has started six of the eight conference games for Seton Hall and has been Coach Rick Stainton’s pick to start in the last three matches.
Marquette showed that they can beat up on weaker competition when they got the 3-0 victory against Creighton over the weekend. Hopefully, this game plays out similarly for the Golden Eagles. They will need to come into this game goal hungry because a fourth place seed is on the line. I see no reason why they won’t come into this game with an everything to play for mentality. Coach Markus Roeders has done a great job of getting his team ready for big games. With a chance of a home quarter-final game in the Big East tournament, this game is a must-win for Roeders’ side. If they can build off the performance they had Sunday against Creighton, I see nothing stopping them from their fifth conference win of the season.
A win combined with a Xavier loss means that the Golden Eagles will get to play at home for the opening round quarter-final match-up coming up on Sunday. If things go as planned, MU will host the #5 seed in the tournament which would either be Xavier or St. John’s. Either way, make sure to tune in to Fox Sports Go tonight to watch your Golden Eagles play in their final regular season game.