The Marquette Golden Eagles could not find the back of the net and ended a double-overtime game scoreless with Cal Poly late Thursday night. This game ended at around 11:20pm Central time. That’s only relevant because it’s waaay past my bedtime. Anyhow, Coach Roeders’ squad could not find their finishing touch and simply didn’t have enough possession to net the winner.
The player of the game was junior keeper Maddy Henry with five saves to keep the match scoreless. Her superhero moment came in the 58th minute when she made an incredible leaping save to her left push McCray’s shot wide of the goal. The shot from outside the box was destined for the corner of the net. Henry did make two slight errors in judgment but it’s the first game of the season: no better time to get the mishaps out of the way.
Marquette as a whole committed too many turnovers in the middle of the field and were outshot by a slim 17-15 margin. They generated a lot of shots but only four were on target. The Golden Eagles found the most opportunities off of set pieces and had a few scrambles in the box that almost ended up in goals. Carrie Madden had two clear opportunities to score the likely game-winning goal. The first came late in the second half with a shot from the left side of the 18-yard box but it sailed just over the goal. The second was off an Erin Johnston corner where Madden fought for the ball after it bounced around in the box and spun to get a left-footed shot off that missed the bottom-left corner of the net by inches. She finished with four shots but none of them challenging the goalkeeper.
Jamie Kutey was tantalizingly close having a flicked header that was well saved by Cal Poly goalkeeper Sophia Brown. Kutey finished with two shots on target. The only other player with shots on frame for the Golden Eagles was Bri Jaeger with two. Ryley Bugay had a free-kick in the dying moments of the game to get the winner but the 28-yard boot flew over crossbar. It was good to see Macey Shock (great name!) get her first regular season action. She played well and was decisive with the ball finishing with two shots in her 39 minutes on the field.
The starting back line consisted of Emily Hess, Jaeger, Maddie Monticello, and Allison Jacobson. They are all returning starters from last season and played pretty well despite giving up a fair number of shots. Numerous Cal Poly attacks were snuffed out by the defense after looking like dangerous goal scoring opportunities. That, along with Henry’s honorable performance in goal, are two positives that the squad can take away from this game.
A couple more things to point out are that freshmen Madison Burrier came off the bench a played 55 minutes in the game. With Katrina Wetherell starting and playing just over an hour before departing due to injury and the aforementioned Macey Shock playing a significant chunk of time, Roeders seems to trust some of his young players to make an impact early in the season. Another good sign was that Kylie Sprecher came off the bench, playing 14 minutes after being out in the two preseason tune-ups recovering from injury.
This was a back-and-forth game for the most part with neither team holding possession for long spells of time. Marquette was a bit unlucky not to find the net but one could argue they didn’t hold the ball enough to truly dominate the game. Some nights the shots aren’t falling, and that’s soccer my friends. Hopefully, Marquette will work out the kinks over the weekend as they welcome Wisconsin on Monday night. The Badgers are in the receiving votes category of the United Soccer Coaches Poll. It’s a quick turnaround against a tough opponent but I like to think that all the chances that were missed last night will be converted at Valley Monday night. Because that’s how soccer works right?
Funny stat of the night: If we played a game of take a shot every time the play-by-play guy says “the ball was ping-ponged back and forth” we’d be hospitalized. By my rough estimates, he said that 20 times. If there was no video feed I’d have thought they were playing table tennis out there.