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Marquette Men’s Soccer Preview: at #14 Georgetown Hoyas

Saint Jude, pray for us.

Florida Gulf Coast v Georgetown
This is a picture from the NCAA tournament game against Florida Gulf Coast.
Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

No, it wasn’t fun to turn around after Marquette picked up their first win of the season and hand the Milwaukee Cup back to UW-Milwaukee. Obviously that’s the case.

Given the 35 fouls in the match against the Panthers, I don’t know if we can take anything serious away from the contest. It was a bruising, physical game and MU wasn’t able to plow through it and score at all. Is that good thing or a bad thing? I can’t say.

What I can say is that it’s pretty unlikely that MU is going to find themselves improving on their 1-6-1 record on Saturday afternoon. It would be really nice if it happened. I would welcome a draw with open arms, in fact. But Georgetown’s a quality team that has clearly bounced back from their struggles a year ago, and, as we’ll get into in a minute, Marquette historically has had almost absolutely zero luck at beating the Hoyas.

If this sounds like I’m being horribly depressing about the state of soccer at Marquette, I’m not, or I’m not trying to be, at least. Georgetown’s good! Marquette’s not that good this season. I’m also writing this in the wake of the women’s soccer team getting thrashed by Villanova in one of the more unlikely losses in college soccer this season. Sometimes it’s hard to not let that bleed into these previews.

Fingers crossed as we head into Saturday, people. Maybe the Golden Eagles have a trick or three to pull out of their hats.

Big East Match #3: at #14 Georgetown Hoyas (6-1-1, 1-1-0 Big East)

Date: Saturday, September 30, 2017
Time: Noon Central
Location: Shaw Field in Washington, D.C.
Streaming: Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go
Live Stats: GameTracker
Twitter Updates: @marquettesoccer

Ready for Marquette’s all time record against Georgetown? You sure? Brace yourself. Marquette is 1-11-2 all time against the Hoyas, dating back to 2005. Yep. MU is 0-7-2 in their last nine against Georgetown, including two meetings in the Big East tournament. The two teams did go to a 1-1 draw in their contest last season, but that was a significant down year for Georgetown. That’s not this team, not by a long shot.

The Hoyas have gone from unranked in the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll to #14 in the country right now. They established their bona fides this season with a win over preseason #19 Coastal Carolina in the opening weekend of the season, and then kicked things into high gear on Labor Day with a 1-0 home victory over then #15 UCLA. They earned their way to a #9 ranking after that, but immediately followed that up with a 1-0 overtime loss to Xavier. They’ve won their last two since then — at home against Stony Brook and on the road against DePaul — and currently sit in a tie for third place in the Big East. It’s a five way tie, though, and that includes Marquette with three points so far on the season.

MU head coach Louis Bennett has an interesting dilemma on his hands in preparing for this game. If you look at the Georgetown stat sheet, Achara jumps off the page. The sophomore from Nigeria has the team lead in goals at five and the team lead in points at 10. That has him in the top 10 in the Big East in points and tied for second in goals. There’s a catch, though: Achara accomplished all that in just five appearances in Georgetown’s eight games and has not played in any of the last three contests. If he’s back in the lineup for the Hoyas, he has to be the focus of the defense. If Achara isn’t going to be available, Marquette has to defend in an entirely different manner. I can’t tell you if he is or isn’t available, because it’s not like Georgetown is waving a press release around on their website, and it seems that GU’s school newspaper is not on top of it, either. The closest I can get to an update on him is “injured.”

Regardless of who is and who isn’t going to be dressed to play on offense, we know that Georgetown’s defense is going to be a unique puzzle to solve. The Hoyas have allowed just six goals all season, the second fewest in the Big East. They’ve allowed just 70 shots in their eight games, so it’s going to be a struggle for Marquette to merely put 10 tries out into the universe here. JT Marcinkowski has played every minute in net for Georgetown, stopping 77% of shots on goal.