I tell you what, it’s going to be kind of a weird Senior Night for Marquette Golden Eagles on Saturday night.
Marquette has two redshirt seniors on the roster: Jack Alberts and Daniel Szczepanek, and those two chaps will be honored for their five years of service to the MU program. However, Marquette has just two players listed as seniors on the roster, and neither of them are anything remotely close to “traditional” seniors, as 2017 will be their one and only year wearing blue and gold. Brody Kraussel transferred to Marquette for his final year after three seasons at Loyola-Chicago, and Jason Davis is playing his only year of NCAA eligibility after completing his collegiate experience in his native England.
So yeah, kind of goofy, as half the guys being honored have only been playing in Milwaukee since August.
Marquette does have a lot on the line on Saturday night. The Golden Eagles are currently holding down fifth place in the Big East with a record of 3-3-1 and 10 points. They’re two points behind fourth place Xavier and two points ahead of sixth place Creighton. More importantly, though, Marquette is just three points ahead of seventh place Providence and four points ahead of Villanova and Seton Hall in a tie for eighth place.
This is a big deal, as only the top six teams qualify for the conference tournament, and Marquette is trying to get back to the postseason for the first time since 2014. Everyone has two matches left to play, and were Marquette to lose their final two matches that would open the door to the Golden Eagles being left out of the tournament. It’s probably not great for MU’s chances that they have to deal with one of the two nationally ranked Big East teams while attempting to lock down a postseason berth, but that’s the hand that the Golden Eagles have been dealt.
Big East Match #8: vs #21 Butler Bulldogs (10-4-1, 6-1-0 Big East)
Date: Saturday, October 28, 2017
Time: 7pm Central
Location: Valley Fields
Streaming: Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go
Live Stats: GameTracker
Special Promotions: The first 600 fans in attendance get blue & gold glow sticks. PLUS! Wear your Halloween costumes! There will be PRIZES for the best dressed fans, plus trick-or-treating right at the gate.
Twitter Updates: @marquettesoccer
Marquette is 4-4-0 all time against Butler, but the Golden Eagles have not picked up the win in any of the last three meetings. MU’s last win against the Bulldogs came in November of 2013 when Adam Lysak scored a golden goal in the Big East tournament semifinals. Let’s watch, shall we?
With a conference record of 6-1-0, you’d think that Butler would be coming in with a little bit more steam at their back. However, because of the goofy “hey, go ahead and mix some non-con games with the league slate” schedule of the Big East, that’s not the case. Butler is unbeaten in their last four, due to a 2-0 road loss to SIU-Edwardsville back on October 10th. That is not a barnburner of a team, either, as the Cougars are just 7-7-1 on the season. The match before that, Butler got smacked 3-0 by Georgetown as they gave up two goals in the first 10 minutes.
They’ve bounced back from that, obviously, and they’ve done it in a big way. Since SIUE scored in the 61st minute, Butler hasn’t allowed a goal. Three shutout wins and a scoreless draw against then-#1 Indiana have made up their current unbeaten streak. Those results, combined with Georgetown going to a scoreless draw with Providence, have put the Bulldogs on top of the Big East table with 18 points. The Hoyas have 16, so BU will assuredly be motivated to maintain their position with three more points on Saturday night.
As was the case with Creighton earlier in the week, Marquette will have an interesting situation on their hands when it comes to defending Butler. Sophomore Brandon Guhl, a transfer from SMU, leads both the Bulldogs and the Big East in points with 21. With nine goals and three assists on the season, Guhl is tied with CU’s Ricky Lopez-Espin for the Big East’s lead in goals. It’s not just Guhl, though, as fellow sophomore Lewis Suddick is tied for fifth in the league in points. Suddick is even in goals and assists with five each, so from a certain point of view, Suddick is a little bit more dangerous in the offensive third than Guhl. Suddick also has a better sense of timing, as four of his five markers this season have been game winning goals for the Bulldogs.
If Butler manages to hold on to the league title at the end of the season, then Eric Dick will have a crack at Goalkeeper of the Year. He’s third in the conference in both goals-against average and save percentage, and at 0.83 & .824 respectively, Dick’s stats are more than impressive enough to warrant the award even if he’s not the best statistical keeper in the league. Marquette will need to find a way to recapture the magic that gave them three goals in the first half against Creighton, but with the Dawgs running a 4+ game shutout streak, that’s not going to be easy to do.