Well, Tuesday’s trip to visit Notre Dame did not end with the result that Marquette wanted, or perhaps more accurately, the result that Marquette needed.
The Golden Eagles rallied from down six before eventually losing by just one goal to the Fighting Irish, sending MU to a 6-4 record on the season. This isn’t particularly the best record that you’d like to have after 10 games if your goal is to make it back to the NCAA tournament, but Marquette is in the beneficial position of closing the regular season with three games against high quality opponents.
That’s the good news, the bad news is that MU can’t really afford another loss if they want an at-large berth to the NCAA tournament. Beyond balancing out the four losses on their record, they also don’t have any quality wins to point at as an example of why they deserve one of those rare at-large spots. Wins against Providence, Duke, and Denver would definitely turn that around.
In other news, Marquette has a spot in the Big East standings to defend. For the moment, the Golden Eagles are in third at 2-1 in league play, behind both Denver and Providence at 2-0. Villanova is at 1-1 thus far, and Marquette’s two victims, Georgetown and St. John’s, are bringing up the rear. With a home date against the Pioneers closing out the regular season, a win over Providence would be a big deal for the Golden Eagles in terms of locking up one of the four conference tournament spots. In fact, a MU win coupled with a St. John’s loss to Denver on Saturday would actually clinch a spot for Marquette. It would also put Marquette into a position of being able to clinch at least a share of the Big East regular season title in that finale against the Pioneers.
Big East Game #4: at Providence Friars (8-3, 2-0 Big East)
When: Saturday, April 15, 2017, at 11am Central
Where: Chapey Field at Anderson Stadium in Providence, RI
Audio/Visual: The Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go has the free video stream, and there’s live stats.
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteMLax
Marquette is 3-0 all time against Providence. Two of the games, the first one and the third one, were one goal affairs.
Much like Marquette, the Friars are receiving votes in the most recent Maverik media top 20 poll. Also much like Marquette, I’m not entirely sure why the Friars are receiving votes at this point of the season. I suppose it has to do with their one goal losses to Boston University and Hofstra, with the BU loss coming in double overtime in the season opener. It appears that some of the voters are giving PC credit for coming close to beating the undefeated and #2 ranked Pride, but that’s kind of a goofy reason to rank a team. They don’t particularly have any notable wins, and there’s also that 10-8 home loss to a 6-4 Sacred Heart team that’s kind of not great.
Marquette will have to contend with a pair of excellent scorers on the Friars offense. Brendan Kearns (25G, 8A) is tied for sixth in the Big East in goals per game, while Nick Hatzipetrakos (20G, 18A) has the ninth best average. As you can probably guess, Hatzipetrakos’ 18 assists are good enough for the team lead, and it’s also good enough to rank him third in the Big East in assists per game. That’s a pretty good year already for the sophomore from Syossett, who had just seven points in 13 games last season.
Tate Boyce is your leading candidate for Goalie of the Year in the Big East. His 6.64 goals-against average and .618 save percentage are both league best marks, as he allows more than a goal less than MU’s Cole Blazer and stops five percentage points more shots on goal over Blazer.