A stylish Grant Owens header gave Marquette a 1-0 lead early on Saturday afternoon in Pennsylvania, but Villanova would level the match before halftime on their way to a 3-1 victory over the Golden Eagles in the Big East opener for both squads. Marquette falls to 0-5-1 on the season as a result, as well as 0-1-0 in league play.
Owens’ goal was his second of the season and came in the 18th minute. A Luka Prpa corner kick was pushed to the outside by the Villanova defense, but Connor Alba was there to collect it. He sent a cross back into the middle where Owens rose and poked the ball home to put MU up 1-0.
The lead lasted until the 33rd minute when the Golden Eagles fell victim to a wee bit of bad luck. Traffic in front of the MU net led to a collision that while not vicious, it was enough to send netminder Luis Barraza tumbling to the ground. With Barraza off his feet, VU’s Theo Quartey had plenty of time to calmly poke the equalizer home.
The Wildcats didn’t get the game winner until the 74th minute and it was another defensive lapse that cost Marquette the game. VU made a big and sudden burst up the field and got the ball in behind most of the MU defense. That gave Jack Gilliam enough space to be able to smash home his first goal of the season before the Golden Eagles’ back line could coalesce around him to stop his shot and protect Barraza.
Villanova picked up an insurance goal about 11 minutes later to make it 3-1 and pretty much put an end to the match. On the slow-motion replay, it was clear that Barraza was a victim of circumstance as Quartey scored his second goal of the day. But watching it live as it unfolded.... boy, it sure looked like Quartey just dribbled the ball into the box and danced around the stationary Marquette defenders as if they were cones and he was running a drill. It looked really bad live.
Villanova ended up with a 13-8 shot lead at the end of the game with Brody Kraussel ending up as the only Marquette player to attempt more than one shot in the game. Both keepers made three saves in the match, both with two in the first and one in the second half.
Up Next: Marquette will have a week off to mull over their mistakes in this one. They’ll be back at Valley Fields on Saturday, September 23rd to host Seton Hall. The Pirates are 3-4-1 on the season after losing 1-0 to St. John’s on Saturday.