The Marquette Golden Eagles couldn’t convert on their chances and played lousy defense as Xavier put three past them Sunday afternoon. With the loss, they drop to 3-10-2 overall and 1-4-1 in Big East play. They also likely won't be competing in the Big East tournament with just 4 points with three games left. Sixth place Creighton already has nine points, and just reaching nine points is going to be an effort and a half for Marquette.
Confession: This is the first full game I’ve watched all season. It was the Golden Eagles’ biggest game and I thought I might as well watch it over NFL football. Unfortunately, that was a calculated mistake.
Marquette started out aggressive at the beginning of both halves but couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities. It was really a shooting accuracy issue (as it’s been for most of the season) since they really never tested Musketeer goalkeeper Toni Bizzarro.
Xavier controlled most of the ball and was more dangerous in the attacking third. Claire Fisher started the scoring in the 40th minute after she created some space inside the right side of the box and fired a shot to the far post to give the home team a one goal advantage. Marquette’s goalkeeper Maddy Henry had no chance on the shot.
Then after the Golden Eagles made a push early in the second half, the Musketeers regained momentum via a Molly McLoughlin goal. It came when she headed the ball in off a free kick in the 58th minute. This, for some reason, was hotly contested by head coach Markus Roeders and he spent a couple of minutes “discussing” his frustrations with the refs. It didn’t work unfortunately and the goal was not overturned.
Marquette tried to bounce back but just wasn’t clinical enough in front of goal to get themselves back in the game. Notice how I’m trying to say the same things in different ways because this is the only way to explain the loss. That combined with suspect defending at times (though Xavier played exceptionally well) resulted in the crushing 3-0 loss.
MU had their best chance of the game when Abby Hess connected on a header from the middle of the box that gave Bizzarro momentary trouble as it took her two tries to bring the ball in. Afterwards, Xavier’s Samantha Dewey got on the scoresheet in the 84th minute to put the game away.
The play of the game for Marquette came when Maddy Henry made a fantastic penalty kick stop when she dove to her right to deny Dewey in the 74th minute. Here is a great shot of the stop:
Maddy Henry's second half stop on a Samantha Dewey penalty kick.— MARQUETTE Soccer (@MarquetteWSOC) October 14, 2018
: Russ Handwork pic.twitter.com/b7Dj4ebw4z
Shoutout to the great Russ Handwork for that amazing picture. Henry has been the only bright side for the Golden Eagles this season and she showed up again with six saves.
In summary, it was a fast-paced game where Marquette played aggressively at times but couldn’t find the back of the net. In the times where they weren’t aggressive Xavier controlled the ball and did find the goal. This is the most goals Marquette has ever conceded against Xavier and is the first loss in Marquette’s record book against the Musketeers. Before this match they had only conceded one goal in the all-time series, and that was all the way back in Game #1 of the series.
It’s officially win or go home time for Marquette. They are five points back of 6th place Creighton who has nine points. MU will play #4 ranked Georgetown, at Creighton, and home against Seton Hall to close out the season. MU will need to pull off a miracle at Valley Fields Thursday night because the Hoyas are undefeated this year against all competition. Otherwise the Creighton and Seton Hall games are essentially pointless. Hey, nothing is impossible but they way Marquette’s been playing it’s definitely improbable. Is it too cold to bring back that petting zoo?