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Marquette Men’s Soccer Preview: vs Providence Friars

The Golden Eagles are presented with a chance to make some noise in the Big East standings.

Big East Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals
Nice dog mascot > creepy Friar mascot
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Ok. So.

For the first time in Louis Bennett’s tenure as head coach of the Marquette Golden Eagles men’s soccer team, they failed to win a non-conference match this season.

That is probably not great.

That’s in the past, though. To the future now, where Marquette has six more Big East matches in front of them. Right now, the Golden Eagles are in a four way tie for sixth place in the league with three points. This is, in a fashion, good news. Six teams qualify for the Big East tournament, and for now, MU is at least tied for that final spot. It’s a little too early to talk about tiebreakers, but we know that MU already has a win over one of the other four: Seton Hall. This is also good.

Saturday provides Marquette with an excellent opportunity to break out of the tie. They’re hosting Providence at Valley Fields, and right now, PC is the only team in the league without a win. They’re in last place. Marquette is in ninth place, at least according to the most current standings on the Big East website.

Aside from this apparently being an excellent opportunity for a win for the Golden Eagles, there’s a little bit more on the line as well. Remember I said that MU is in a tie for sixth place? Well, a win over the Friars would give Marquette six points on the season. Right now, six points is good enough for a three-way tie for second place in the Big East. Of course, all ten teams will be in action, so who knows where the standings could end up by Sunday morning.

Still, six points are better than three points, regardless of where Marquette falls in the standings. Fingers crossed that they get them.

Big East Match #4: vs Providence Friars (2-7-1, 0-2-1 Big East)

Date: Saturday, October 7, 2017
Time: 1pm Central
Location: Valley Fields
Live Stats: GameTracker
Special Promotions: Police & Fire trucks in the West lot for an interactive experience for the kids, and all First Responders get in for FREE, with $2 tickets for their families. The first 200 students get a long sleeve MU Soccer shirt.
Twitter Updates: @marquettesoccer

Marquette is 4-7-1 all time against Providence, with the four and the one coming in a five match streak between 2011 and 2014. It included MU’s victory over the Friars in the 2013 Big East championship game as well. PC has taken the last two contests, outscoring MU, 6-4.

Soooooo, what’s up with the Friars?

They were the unanimous pick to win the Big East back in August and things have not gone well for them pretty much at all. Now, they were dealt kind of an awful hand to start the season, as taking on the preseason #2 and #4 teams in the country in the first two matches is a hell of a way to get things going. However, Providence started out as #12 in the country, so you’d think that they had a little bit of fire in them. They leveled their season record with wins in the next two contests, so you’d be mostly right. 0-5-1 in their next six matches, though....... sheesh, something has gone terribly wrong, it seems.

Since beating Bryant on September 4th, Providence has managed just three goals in their last six matches. They’ve been shutout three times, although at least they returned the favor to DePaul in their lone draw of the season. The shutouts are probably the most troubling item in the Friars’ story right now. Mac Steeves was named as the Big East’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, and while he’s providing pop to the tune of five goals, three assists, 13 points, and 51 shots, (top 10 in the Big East in all four), he’s getting almost no help. No one else has multiple goals on the year, and only Joao Serrano has more than one assist.

After going with two different keepers in the first two matches of the season, head coach Craig Stewart has gone with Colin Miller, last year’s star keeper, for the past eight matches. He’s not the brick wall he was last year, when he allowed 0.74 goals per 90 minutes and stopped nearly 85% of shots on goal. Miller is at 1.28 goals per 90 now and he’s stopping only 72% of shots aimed on frame. There is weakness here, and Marquette needs to exploit it.