2018 Big East Men’s Soccer Tournament Semifinals
#1 Creighton Bluejays (11-4-2, 7-1-1 Big East) vs #4 Marquette Golden Eagles (7-8-2, 5-3-1 Big East)
Date: Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Time: 7pm Central
Location: Morrison Stadium, Omaha, NE
Video Streaming: Big East Digital Network on FoxSportsGo.com
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Twitter Updates: @marquettesoccer
All Time Series: Tied at 7-7-0
Regular Season Meeting: Creighton won, 2-1
All it took for Marquette to reach the Big East semifinals for the first time since 2013 was rallying from a halftime deficit, taking the lead, surrendering the lead, surviving overtime, and nine rounds of penalty kicks.
Just your average Saturday night on Marquette’s campus, if we’re being honest.
So now the fourth seeded Golden Eagles are on to the semifinals, and they have to take to the road here. Creighton was the regular season champion, so they got to skip the quarterfinal round of the tournament and thus they’ve been resting since their regular season finale on Halloween. That’s something of a bad note for Marquette, as CU closed out the Big East slate with a 2-1 overtime loss at home to Georgetown that spoiled their shot at an unbeaten trip through the nine match conference calendar. The Bluejays have been stuck thinking about that defeat, and while it didn’t mean anything for the standings as they had already clinched the title, it did knock them down in the United Soccer Coaches poll as they went from #14 to #17 where they currently reside.
Of course, that national ranking probably means that Creighton is going to make the NCAA tournament no matter how this match turns out. The same can not be said for the Golden Eagles, who will need a victory here merely to move to .500 on the season. That’s fine. The goal for the Golden Eagles was to get to the Big East tournament this season, and now they find themselves in the semifinals. To a certain extent, MU is playing with house money here.
With that said, they weren’t that far from swiping a win from the Bluejays in the regular season. Well, kind of. Kind of-ish. Yes, Creighton won 2-1, and yes, they got the second goal just 34 seconds after Marquette scored in the 80th minute of the game, and yes, Creighton outshot Marquette 17-7 in that one. However, if you watched it, Marquette was clearly giving CU fits for the first 35 minutes of the second half, up to the point where the Big East Digital Network announcing crew was openly pointing out that it would be very much in Creighton’s interest to tack on an insurance goal in order to keep the pressing Golden Eagles at arm’s length. Shots favored Creighton just 5-4 after halftime, so if Marquette can remember what they did to force the issue like that in the second half, you have to at least consider the possibility that the Golden Eagles have a chance to beat the Bluejays.
If Marquette wants to shock the world, they’re going to have to lasso Sven Koenig and Joel Rydstrand. The former scored the game winning goal against the Golden Eagles in the regular season and went on to be named Big East Offensive Player of the Year. The latter “only” had two assists against Marquette, but they were just two of his five assists on the season, and Rydstrand still found a way to be named the best midfielder in the Big East this season.
So, y’know, no big deal: Just overcome two of the best players in the conference as well as deal with the goalkeeper with the best statistics in the league. Marquette will just have to counter with Luis Barraza, the man voted as the best goalkeeper in the Big East this season. Will that work for the Golden Eagles? Can they keep things going long enough to provoke one more road trip this season? It doesn’t seem impossible, that’s for sure. Unlikely, maybe, but definitely not impossible.