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Marquette Women’s Soccer Preview: vs Drake Bulldogs & at Louisville Cardinals

The Golden Eagles came away from Opening Weekend with a 1-1-0 record. Can they start a winning streak this weekend?

Drake University mascot
Drake’s mascot is Griff the Bulldog.
The Des Moines Register-USA TODAY Sports

Abby Hess pushed the first weekend of the season into the positive column last Sunday when she scored Marquette Golden Eagles’s game winning goal against Kentucky. That left the Golden Eagles with one win and one loss on the season after falling 4-0 to Stanford last Friday. Considering the Cardinal were ranked #2 in the country at the time, coming away from those two matches at 1-1-0 is a perfectly acceptable result.

Now Marquette moves on to the next weekend of the slate, including the first road test of the 2017 campaign. After hosting Drake on Friday, Marquette will head southwards to visit Louisville on Sunday. Both teams should provide an interesting test for MU, so we might have a better feel for what Markus Roeders has in his team by the time Sunday night rolls around.

So far, the Golden Eagles’ offense is showing signs of what it was expected to look like. Carrie Madden and Darian Powell share the team lead in shots with four, while Eli Beard and Jamie Kutey are right behind them at three. Two freshmen have gotten themselves on the points board already, with Hess starting off her redshirt freshman season with that game winner, and Kylie Sprecher earning the hockey assist on Madden’s goal that opened the scoring against the Wildcats. If Hess and Sprecher can keep up the attack, that will end up helping to open things up for Madden, Powell, and Kutey, who are expected as MU’s primary scorers this season.

After getting a little bit bombed by Stanford, Marquette’s defense recovered nicely against Kentucky. MU held a 18-7 shot advantage in that one, and that’s the kind of margin that will lead to a lot of wins. The focus for the Golden Eagles has to be to play more like they did in the second half against Kentucky, where they outshot the Wildcats 16-5. That’s a stellar 45 minutes of soccer, and hopefully it’s easily repeated.

Match #3: vs Drake Bulldogs (1-1-0)

Date: Friday, August 25, 2017
Time: 7:30pm Central
Location: Valley Fields
Streaming: GoMarquette.com
Live Stats: GameTracker
Special Promotion: The first 200 students get a free MU blender bottle!
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer

Marquette is 1-0-1 all time against Drake with both meetings coming in back-to-back seasons a little more than a decade ago. Both matches went to overtime, with Christy Zwolski scoring a golden goal at home in the 94th minute for the win in 2005, but neither team scored in 2006 out in Iowa.

After being picked to finish second in the Missouri Valley Conference this season, Drake got off to a rough start in their opening weekend. They suffered a 3-0 loss to UNLV out in the desert, and then in their second match as part of an invitational hosted by the Runnin’ Rebels, Drake needed a 95th minute goal to get a 1-0 win over Weber State. This is a UNLV team picked to finish third in the Mountain West and a WSU team expected to show up in the bottom half of the Big Sky. Not the best way to start things off.

Sophomore Annie Schmitz is your lone goal scorer on the year for Drake, and she’s one of three Bulldogs tied for the team lead in shots with three. Senior Haley Morris started and went the full 90 in net against UNLV, but head coach Lindsey Horner went with freshman Kelsie Stone for the first half against Weber State before going back to Morris for the remainder. I’ll let you make your own guesses as to who starts for DU on Friday.

Match #4: vs Louisville Cardinals (3-0-0)

Date: Sunday, August 27, 2017
Time: 12:00pm Central
Location: Lynn Stadium in Louisville, KY
Streaming: ACC Network Extra/WatchESPN
Live Stats: Sidearm
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer

Marquette has a busy history with the Cardinals dating back to 1993. The Golden Eagles hold a 16-6-1 edge in the all-time series which has been laying dormant since 2013. MU won each of the last five meetings, including three shutouts and two overtime victories in both matches where UL managed to put the ball in the net. This is the first time since 2011 that the two teams will play in Louisville.

Coming off a 7-7-4 record last season, Louisville is not expected to make a lot of noise when it comes time for ACC play. However, the Cardinals are not taking that laying down, and they’re off on a three match winning streak to start the season. They picked up home wins against Boston University and Miami (OH) before treking up to Bloomington on Thursday night to take on Indiana. There they picked up their second straight shutout of the season, extending their clean sheet to over 195 minutes on the season.

In the meantime, UL has opened up a 2-to-1 shot differential on the season, recording 50 shots for and allowing just 25 shots against in their three matches. Six different Cardinals have scored a goal already this season, led by two markers from Emina Ekic. The freshman midfielder from Louisville also leads the team in shots so far in 2017 with 13, making her the only woman on the squad to hit 10 thus far.

Redshirt freshman Gabrielle Kouzelos has played every minute in net for head coach Karen Ferguson-Dayes thus far this season, and she’s been pretty good. Kouzelos has nine saves on 11 shots on goal, and her goals-against average through three matches is a teensy little 0.67.