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2017 Big East Women’s Soccer Semifinals Preview: #4 Marquette at #1 Georgetown

90 minutes of soccer to determine who gets one step closer to the championship trophy...

NCAA Basketball: Bryant at Georgetown Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

2017 Big East Women’s Soccer Tournament Semifinals

#1 Georgetown Hoyas vs #4 Marquette Golden Eagles

Date: Thursday, November 2nd, 2017
Time: 1pm Central
Location: Shaw Field in Washington, D.C.
Streaming: Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go
Live Stats: GameTracker
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer
Regular Season: Georgetown won, 3-0

Back on October 19th, Georgetown handed Marquette a 3-0 loss at Shaw Field in Washington. At the time, that dropped the Golden Eagles to 3-4-0 in league play. The good news is that MU has gone 3-0-0 since then and hasn’t allowed a goal while scoring eight of their own.

The bad news is that Georgetown outshot Marquette 22-3 in that game, with MU’s first shot coming shortly after GU went up 1-0 in the first half, and both of the remaining shots came in the 59th minute. Were it not for Maddy Henry’s eight saves in the match, the regular season meeting between these two clubs could have gotten a lot worse for the Golden Eagles.

All of this is relevant because, well, if we’re being honest about the whole thing, Marquette’s NCAA tournament hopes are kind of riding on winning this match.

Yeah, it’s not what you want.

Following MU’s Big East tournament first round win over Xavier, they’re currently sitting at #49 in the NCAA’s RPI. With a 64 team tournament just like the men’s basketball tournament, that RPI is probably not good enough for an at-large bid. Of course, 13-6-1 on the season doesn’t exactly scream “TOURNEY TEAM” either. The RPI will drift upwards merely by playing a road match against #33 Georgetown here, but it won’t be by a lot, and it will still leave Marquette without a significant win to their credit. MU’s best win right now is their home date against Drake, and well, no one cares if you beat #60 at home, y’know?

As you can tell, Marquette’s best chance at a tourney bid is probably by winning the Big East’s automatic bid by hoisting the tournament trophy on Sunday. However, that’s going to require beating the Hoyas on Thursday. Like I said, their hopes are kind of riding entirely on winning this match.

It’s not going to be a picnic. The thing that’s most troubling about the shot differential in the regular season meeting is that Marquette is actually second to GU in the Big East in terms of shots per game. MU puts up 13.9 on average, while Georgetown’s at 18.7. No one else shoots more than 13 times per game. It’s troubling, but it’s also not surprising. MU is getting outshot this season, just barely, at 280-277. Meanwhile, the Hoyas have thrown together over 300 shots and if MU attempts seven shots in this game, it will mean Georgetown will finally have allowed 90 shots. It’s an incredibly smothering defense, and MU is going to have to fight like hell to overcome it.

Goal #1 is shutting down Rachel Corboz. The tiny senior midfielder has a massive impact on how the Hoyas play, as she has four more assists than anyone else in the entire league this season, and has nearly a third of Georgetown’s assists as well. Things run through her, and Marquette will have to cut her possession off. Goal #2 is marking Amanda Carolan and Caitlin Farrell. Those two have teamed up for 15 of GU’s 40 goals this season, and Carolan is particularly lethal. She’s taken just 30 shots this year, and nine of them have found the back of the net.

If Marquette can break Georgetown’s possession and get shots off, and specifically put them on frame, they can beat keeper Arielle Schechtman. Yes, she has an incredibly gaudy 0.37 goals-against average, but you or I could do that when only facing 36 shots on net in 18 games. Schechtman is barely stopping 80% of shots on goal. She can be beaten, if you can put the shot on frame. That’s the key: Just like the best of Markus Roeders’ Marquette teams, Georgetown eliminates the possibility of errors by the keeper by preventing the shot from ever getting to her in the first place.