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Marquette Men’s Soccer Preview: at Wisconsin Badgers

The Golden Eagles have one more non-conference tilt to get out of the way before plunging into Big East action the rest of the way.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - First Round - Virginia Tech v Wisconsin Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The big question facing Marquette at this point is whether or not the team has a goalie controversy.

Redshirt freshman Noah Heim made his collegiate debut on Saturday against Georgetown, making six saves and allowing two goals in MU’s 2-1 loss to the #14 ranked Hoyas. In other words, mostly fine, leaning towards pretty good. The question arises because there’s been not word one out of MU about whether or not Heim played because junior Luis Barraza was injured or if it was a tactical decision made by head coach Louis Bennett. Hell, even the Big East Digital Network announcer didn’t even realize it wasn’t Barraza in net immediately, and he had to have been handed a Starting 11 card at some point before play began.

If it’s injury, then the net belongs to Heim for as long as he’s needed. Barraza and Heim are the only two netminders on the roster. If it’s tactics or a coaching decision, then we have to wonder if Barraza ever finds his way back onto the field. If you’re willing to bench your netminder against a top 15 team because you need something different from that position, then when do you possibly ever have reason to bring him back? On top of that, Heim played pretty well! Both of the goals that he conceded were, to one degree or another, not his fault. A booted in deflection after he had made an outstanding save? Things happen, and that’s why you have defenders out there in front of you. A 1v1 chance? More of a backline breakdown than truly anything Heim did wrong. If MU didn’t have a horrible pattern of breakdowns like that, maybe more of the responsibility shifts to Heim. But they do and it doesn’t.

Marquette showed signs of being able to dictate the pace against Georgetown last time out. The Golden Eagles seemed to be tilting the field towards finding an equalizer in the final 20 minutes of that contest. They need that kind of enthusiasm and spirit to continue against the Badgers to snap their current two match losing streak. Diego Nunez has scored two of Marquette’s last three goals this season, and he hasn’t even played three matches worth of minutes so far this season. If the Golden Eagles can find ways to keep him active and firing, maybe they can start turning this ship around and get things pointed towards a Big East tournament berth.

Match #10: at Wisconsin Badgers (6-2-2)

Date: Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Time: 7pm Central
Location: McClimon Soccer Complex in Madison, WI
Streaming: BTN Plus on BTN2Go, which means you have to plunk down $10 for a month of UW coverage.
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @marquettesoccer

16-29-11 is not the combination to my gym locker, but instead, it is Marquette’s all-time record against Wisconsin. While the full series is heavily tilted in favor of the Badgers, this decade has shown favorable results for the Golden Eagles. MU is 4-2-1 against Wisconsin since 2010, including wins in three of the last five encounters.

Picked to finish third in the Big Ten this season, Wisconsin comes into Wednesday night with wins in five of their last six contests. The loss was a 4-3 defeat on the road against Duke, just their second of the year after dropping their conference opener to Michigan in early September.

While the Badgers are having a positive season, no one is going to confuse them for a defensive powerhouse. They have allowed at least one goal in all but two matches this season and they’re only outshooting opponents by less than 1.5 shots per game. They’re actually in a accuracy deficiency, as UW has allowed 58 shots on goal against compared to 57 SOG of their own. It would stand to reason that if Marquette can muster the offensive fortitude that they showed in the second half against Georgetown, things could turn in MU’s favor.

The Marquette defense will be presented with a unique test when facing off against the UW offense. Three men have already scored four goals this season, and Mike Catalano is one up on Chris Mueller and Tom Barlow, as he has five. While Catalano (no relation to Jordan, I presume) has the lead in scoring strikes, it’s actually Mueller that’s the more dangerous player. He has eight assists on UW’s 19 goals this season and has failed to register an assist in only three matches this season. He’s usually not a 90 minute player for head coach John Trask, so MU will have to keep a careful eye on the substitution table.

Phillip Schilling will almost assuredly be the netminder on Wednesday night. The redshirt senior from Germany has played every minute of the season so far with two sophomores and a senior on the bench behind him. As alluded to earlier, he’s prone to letting in goals at a rate of 1.32 per 90 minutes. He does stop shots on goal, though, stopping over 73% of those attempts.