We can cross “score goals” off the season’s checklist for Marquette women’s soccer, as Carrie Madden knocked in a pair on last Thursday evening against Michigan.
Sadly, that pair were not enough for the Golden Eagles, as the Wolverines scored their third of the match in the 84th minute and swiped the win, leaving MU at 0-2-1 on the still very young season. Following that, their Sunday evening contest against Milwaukee was postponed due to lightning strikes in the area. Thus, “win” is still on the checklist, and given the tendencies of their next two opponents, things aren’t looking all that hot for Marquette any time soon.
I mean, there’s no way around it: They’re going to be out in North Carolina to take on two top 15 teams, including the #3 team in the country. The odds are probably not in Marquette’s favor here. It’s kind of a bummer.
The real bummer of the Michigan match is that there were just 16 total shots. Nine for the Wolverines, seven for the Golden Eagles. You’d like to think that if the MU offense could have harassed the Michigan defense with a little bit more firepower, it might have been enough to return home with a road win. On the other side, it’s probably a little troubling that it took UM just nine shots to push three balls past the Marquette defense and into the net.
There’s a lot going on here. I can’t say that I have any idea how to fix it..... especially with Michigan not streaming matches from their eight year old stadium..... but I know that Markus Roeders’ best teams were ones that applied a ton of pressure to defenses with lots and lots of shots. If not lots of shots, at least a hell of a lot more shots than the other team was throwing out there. The thing of it is, I don’t think we’re going to get a chance to see Marquette approach that this weekend. In fact, it’s probably something of a victory if they play both of these squads even in terms of shots.
Maybe Marquette figured something out against the Wolverines. We’ll have to wait til Thursday night to see what they can do.
Match #4: at #12 Duke Blue Devils (2-1-1)
Marquette is 1-1-1 all time against Duke. All three matches have taken place in Durham, and since the pattern has been win-draw-loss, obviously Marquette will maintain that pattern and pick up the upset win here. The last time the two teams met, it was a 5-2 result in favor of the Blue Devils, but Marquette still ended up in the 2012 Sweet 16, so it wasn’t all bad.
The Blue Devils have had an interesting set of results so far this season. After opening with a shutout of #23 Ohio State, they ended up taking a 2-1 home loss to Illinois in their second match. The Illini quickly answered Duke’s 16th minute goal and tacked on another in the 45th before holding on for the W. Following that, #15 Georgetown dragged the Blue Devils to a scoreless draw before they got back on the winning side of things with a 3-0 smothering of Elon.
As you may have noticed from that last paragraph, Duke has only allowed two goals all season, both to Illinois. That match ended being a surprising result not just for the final score, but how the Illini got there. Duke outshot them 17-6, including an overwhelming 11-1 in the second half. Bombarding opponents with shots is largely Duke’s MO this season, holding a +4.2 shots per game margin. Marquette’s defense is going to be put to the test here and they’re going to need to hold strong to give the offense as much of a chance as they can get.
Taylor Racioppi and Mackenzie Pluck have both tallied two goals already on the season for the Blue Devils, while Ella Stevens has added three assists and Kayla McCoy has two helpers as well. That gives Duke six assists on six goals, so they’re more than happy to make the pass to put it in the net.
Redshirt sophomore Brooke Heinsohn has played every minute in net so far for Duke. She’s allowing less than half a goal per 90 minutes and is stopping 90% of shots on net. However, she has had to make 18 saves through four games, so it seems that perhaps there can be advantages to be gained against the Duke defense.