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Marquette Women’s Soccer Preview: The Marquette Invitational

The Golden Eagles will look to extend their three game winning streak by hosting a tournament this weekend against Central Michigan and Mercer.

Marquette women’s soccer
Caroline Fink & the Golden Eagles have a good thing going right now.

Marquette is red-hot

The Golden Eagles are coming off of three straight dominant victories against Kentucky, Drake, and Louisville respectively. They have outscored their opponents a combined 7-1 in their last three games. They have also kept their opponents scoreless in over 200 consecutive minutes dating back to the 68th minute of the Kentucky game. Some more stats going Marquette’s way is their shot advantage. In their last three games they have out shot their opponents 47-26. When you do that you are bound to score goals, especially when you have studs like Carrie Madden and Darian Powell leading the attack. Madden is leading the Golden Eagles in points with seven (2 goals, 2 assists) closely followed by Powell’s six points (2 goals, 1 assist).

Another major reason for Marquette’s recent success has been goalkeeper Maddy Henry. Henry has been playing fantastic this season which has led to a Big East Goalkeeper of the Week award this past Monday. She has one official clean sheet against Louisville and played nearly 80 minutes in Marquette’s 3-0 victory against Drake. Henry has given up five goals on 41 shots faced this year with a save percentage of .762., but four of the five goals were conceded in the first regular season game against then #2 Stanford. Henry has 16 saves on the season with a career-high nine against the aforementioned Stanford.

More than one way to win

The Golden Eagles have found different ways to win games during their winning streak. In their match against Kentucky, they had a slow start only recording two shots in the first half. Kentucky may have had a better start winning four corner kicks and forcing Henry to make a save in the opening period. However, the second half was drastically different as Marquette out shot Kentucky 16-5 and got two crucial goals by Madden and Abby Hess that was enough for a 2-1 victory. The Golden Eagles not only showed their ability to come back strong after a mediocre first half, but also to rebound from an equalizer from Kentucky.

Marquette more handily defeated a Drake Bulldogs team that was coming off of a 1-0 win against Weber State. They poured on the pressure in both halves scoring one goal in the first half and two in the second to beat Drake 3-0. They outshot Drake 22-12 in the game and had a corner kick advantage of 8-0. Madden and Powell left a heavy footprint on this game recording four points each. Madden had one goal and assisted on both of Powell’s goals. Powell reached a milestone scoring her 20th career MU goal tying Lannette Rossini for 11th all-time.

Henry was more of a factor against Louisville where she made four huge second half stops to preserve the shutout. This game was a lot closer than the previous two and Marquette showed their persistence and ability to grind out a victory. They were level with Louisville in shots as both teams recorded seven in the game. Marquette got a little lucky on a controversial hand ball that was called in the 51st minute against Louisville in the penalty box. Ryley Bugay stepped up and converted the penalty kick netting her first goal of her Marquette career. The ultimate difference in the game was the goalkeepers. As mentioned, Henry made four crucial second half saves denying Louisville any chance of getting back in the game. At the other end, Louisville’s Gabrielle Kouzelos came way out of her box to clear a ball that landed conveniently at the feet of Eli Beard. Beard then hit a wonderfully lofted 40 yard strike over Kouzelos head that took one bounce before crossing the goal line. Marquette’s ability to manufacture goals seemingly out of nothing is extremely important in tight games like this one.

The first game of the Marquette Invitational will be played between Loyola-Chicago and Mercer at 3 p.m. this afternoon. This will be followed by the Marquette men hosting Illinois-Chicago at 6pm, with the Marquette women vs Central Michigan game in the nightcap starting at 8:15pm. Given the proximity of Chicago, if you’re only coming to the Valley for the women’s game, make sure you arrive early to sort out the parking situation. On Sunday, Loyola-Chicago will again play the early game against Central Michigan starting at 4:30 p.m, while Marquette will face off against Mercer in the final game of the Invitational at 7:30pm.

Match #5: vs Central Michigan Chippewas (2-1-1)

Date: Friday, September 1, 2017
Time: 8:15pm Central
Location: Valley Fields
Live Stats: GameTracker
Special Promotions: Current Military personnel and veterans will receive free admission. Also, there will be a free petting zoo!
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer

The Golden Eagles are 2-0-1 all-time against Central Michigan. For those of you that don’t know, a Chippewa is the name of a current Indian tribe located in the Midwest region of the US. All of the meetings have come at Valley Fields, including an NCAA tournament first round match where Marquette beat Central Michigan 1-0 back in 2010.

After going winless in their first two games of the season, Central Michigan came back nicely and has won their last two games out scoring their opponents 7-2. Their most recent match against Oakland was a 3-2 overtime thriller that saw forward Madison Costner score all three goals in the win. She truly had a break out performance as she had not scored in her previous three games. With those three goals Costner moves clear of Devyn Brough and Lexi Pelafas for the team lead in points with seven. The Golden Eagles better keep an eye on her on the field and make sure to stymie any opportunities she has early in the attacking buildup.

In four games this season Central Michigan have essentially been a first half team. They have scored five goals in the first half while allowing only one. However, they have allowed five goals in the second half and scored only two. This could play into Marquette’s hands if they can hold Central Michigan scoreless in the first period. The Golden Eagles have been exceptional in the second half in the last three games out shooting opponents 29-16. If they can replicate this form against the Chippewas, the Golden Eagles will have a great chance to extend their winning streak.

Match #6: vs Mercer Bears (2-2)

Date: Sunday, September 3, 2017
Time: 7:30pm Central
Location: Valley Fields
Live Stats: GameTracker
Special Promotion: Current Military personnel and veterans will receive free admission
Twitter Updates: @MUWomensSoccer

The Golden Eagles have never faced Mercer in the Bears’ 18 year history. Mercer finished in fourth in the Southern Conference last year with an overall record of 10-9-1 and 6-3 in conference play. The Bulldogs had a very tumultuous season going 2-6-1 in the first half but then turned it around with a 7-2 record in the last half of the year. After winning the first two games of the season, the Bears have dropped two straight against Siena and Kennesaw State by a score of 2-0. The first few games of this season might just be an indicator of things to come for Mercer.

A big problem for Mercer this season has been shot efficiency. They have outshot their opponents 56-37 but have only managed to score two goals in four games. The Bulldogs have also been shutout in back-to-back games going over 200 minutes without scoring a goal. This bodes well for a Golden Eagles team that has back-to-back shutouts and a high-flying offense going into the weekend. The only thing Marquette should be concerned about against the Bulldogs is if they capitalize on their opportunities. That is a huge if considering how well Maddy Henry has been playing thus far. One player to keep an eye on is midfielder Sarah Adcock who has 11 shots (7 on target) this season.

The Golden Eagles have a great chance to continue their momentum this weekend against two teams that have played considerably weaker teams in the first four games of the season.