(UPDATE, 9/14/18, 9:21pm: There was a power outage at Valley Fields about 40 minutes before first kick on Friday night. With the lights desperately needed to conduct a match past 7pm in Wisconsin in September and the power company needing to “dig around a bit” to locate the issue, the match was officially postponed until daylight hours on Saturday. Everything else about this preview is still accurate, and the the game details section has been adjusted to reflect the new start time.)
I have been waiting SIX YEARS for this match.
SIX. LONG. YEARS.
On November 17th, 2012, Marquette women’s soccer was in Provo to tangle with BYU in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. The Golden Eagles had won eight straight matches at that point and were unbeaten in their previous 16 contests. During that streak, they had earned 12 shutouts. For the season, they had allowed just 13 goals in 22 matches, including only three against Big East foes.
45 minutes gone: BYU had the advantage in shots, 12-5, but it was scoreless.
90 minutes gone: Shots were even in the second half, 8-8, still scoreless.
110 minutes gone: Still scoreless.
Officially, the match was now a draw. But it’s the NCAA tournament, and someone has to advance to the Elite Eight. On to a penalty kick shootout.... and BYU missed on their first attempt.
After five attempts a side, though, things were even at three makes each. Onwards to sudden victory, where if both sides make or miss, the shootout continues, but a make and a miss ends the match and the season. Extra round one: two makes. Extra round two: two makes. Extra round three: Only BYU sends the ball home, and by extension, they sent Marquette home as well.
It was just the third Sweet 16 appearance in Marquette history, and the Golden Eagles have never reached the Elite Eight. With a 3-0 loss in 2010 and a 4-0 loss in 2005, you can easily and safely say that this was the closest that Marquette has ever come to an Elite Eight. MU won another Big East regular season title the next year and another in 2016, but the Golden Eagles have not won an NCAA tournament match since falling to the Cougars.
Marquette and BYU haven’t played since.
I. WANT. REVENGE.
I don’t care that Marquette just picked up their first win of the season on Sunday and that things have kind of been a struggle through the first seven matches of the year. Vengeance is the course of action for the day, and I’m planning on being there in person in the Valley to see it extracted.
Match #8: vs BYU Cougars (3-2-1)
Friday, September 14, 2018 Saturday, September 15, 2018
7pm Central 1pm Central
Location: Valley Fields
Special Promotion: Thanks to the power outage, EVERYONE gets in for FREE.
Video Streaming: GoMarquette.com
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWSOC
Marquette is 2-1-1 all time against BYU. Both wins came in Milwaukee, back in 2000 (2-1) and 2008 (1-0, OT).
I want to preface everything I’m about to say in regards to BYU in this preview with a very important fact. The Cougars picked up a 10-0 win against Idaho State on September 1st. They outshot the Bengals 31-10 and pounded ISU for six second half goals, including three in the final 10 minutes. Please keep that in mind when I say anything about either their offense or their defense. Thank you.
Picked to finish third in the West Coast Conference this season, BYU might be aiming their sights a little higher than that at this point of the season. Their only losses this season are to #9 Texas A&M and #1 Stanford, both by 2-0 margins. BYU held both games scoreless for at least 34 minutes and didn’t give up a second goal until past the hour mark in both situations. The Cougars ended up outshooting both opponents as well, and it’s not because the Aggies and the Cardinal dropped back into a defensive position and BYU got a few extra shots off because of extra possession time. 10-8 after halftime against TAMU and even at nine each after the break against Stanford. That’s just a straight up win for BYU in terms of offensive production, even if it didn’t turn into goals that won them the actual game.
Of course, they also have a draw against Nebraska that makes you wonder what’s up. The Cougars needed two late goals in the 77th minute and the 82nd minute to force extra time after the Huskers were up 1-0 after four minutes and 2-0 at halftime. Nebraska’s only 4-3-1 on the year, so that’s not exactly a gold star on BYU’s resume, even if it was on the road.
BYU has a trio of three goal scorers on the roster. Mikayla Colohan, Madie Gates, and Elise Flake have all found the back of the net thrice on the season, but it’s Colohan out of the group that needs the most watching from the MU defense. She’s also triggered two more goals by way of an assist, which is also part of a three-way tie for the team lead. Colohan was an Honorable Mention performer for the 2017 season and the sophomore midfielder from Fruit Heights, Utah, was the Cougars’ only rep on the 2018 preseason all-WCC team.
I have no idea who’s going to start at keeper for BYU, much less who will finish the match. Cassidy Smith and Sabrina Davis are about even in terms of minutes this season, 292 to 254 respectively. This isn’t a situation where head coach Jennifer Rockwood has a first half keeper and a second half keeper, as both Smith and Davis have started matches this season. Sometimes they start and play the full 90, sometimes they sub for each other at halftime. Odds are that MU will see both of them, but that’s not a guarantee. Smith is a sophomore and has the slightly better stats, allowing 1.23 goals per 90 minutes and stopping 73% of shots on frame. Davis, a junior from Littleton, Colorado, allows more goals at 1.41 per 90 minutes, but her save percentage of 71% isn’t that far behind Smith.