On Saturday, Marquette women’s soccer played their eighth match of the season.
They got shutout for the fifth time this season.
It was one of the worse performances of the season by the Golden Eagles, if not the worst when you take a few things into account. When you get shelled by top ten teams like Duke and North Carolina, you have to just chalk that up to the game and move on. With that in mind, MU came into Saturday’s slightly postponed match with BYU fairly even in shots with their opponents in their other six matches this season, trailing 65-60.
BYU outshot Marquette 19-6.
This isn’t the kind of soccer that Markus Roeders wants to see from his team. We’ve talked about it in the past enough, and you can revisit the math if you want. Roeders’ best teams were teams that dominated possession and dominated shot percentage. This team isn’t doing that, and I have no idea where he and his assistants even start to try and fix this, especially with just Monday’s match standing between MU and the start of Big East play.
Even worse, it’s possible that the coaches don’t know where to start to try and fix this. Go read the quotes from assistant coach Ashley Bares after the match. She may has well have told The Wire “Pffft, I don’t know, go ask the players.”
One thing I can say is that this might just have to be marked as a lost season, and the focus going forward may need to be on the development and experience of the younger players. Of the top five field players in terms of minutes, two of them are freshmen. Three freshmen and a redshirt sophomore started against BYU. I make this point because these women are going to have to play significant and very important roles on next year’s team.... because Marquette has just three juniors on the roster, and one of them, Bri Jaeger, is a redshirt junior and isn’t necessarily a guarantee to return for her final season of eligibility.
I’d say fingers crossed for some kind of marked performance in tonight’s match, but as we’ll get into in a second, things aren’t exactly bright and shiny in that regard.
Match #9: vs Milwaukee Panthers (7-0-0, 1-0-0 Horizon League)
This series has been played in every year of Marquette’s program, twice in 2005 thanks to the NCAA tournament, and the two sides are knotted up at 9-9-8 all time. Things have turned in UWM’s favor over the past few years, with Marquette going 0-2-2 over the last four meetings.
Cards on the table time, guys: Milwaukee’s women’s soccer team is ridiculous. They are currently on a 27 match unbeaten streak, and a 31 match regular season unbeaten streak. I am not joking. They haven’t lost a match at all since the 2016 Horizon League tournament championship game, and they haven’t lost a regular season match since September 28, 2016.
They also didn’t qualify for the NCAA tournament last year.
See, what happened was last October 18, they shelled IUPUI by a score of 6-0. Then, on November 3rd, the Jaguars were back up at Engelmann Stadium on UWM’s campus for the HL title game, and, uh, well, somehow it went to a scoreless draw. Officially, that match is in the record books as a draw. However, someone has to “advance” to become the Horizon League champs and claim the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.... and IUPUI won the penalty kick shootout, 4-3.
That suuuuuucks, but not as much as the NCAA tournament committee leaving out a 16-0-4 team just because they play in the Horizon League. I don’t give a crap what their RPI was at the time (it was #68, btw), give them one of the at-large bids. THEY’RE UNDEFEATED. How do you not give them a shot?
ANYWAY, they’re 7-0-0 now. Since the original match date with Marquette was postponed, they’ve reeled off another seven wins, needing overtime just once, on a visit to Iowa State. They gave up two goals in that match, the most they’ve conceded since that 2016 Horizon League title game. UWM opened up the season with three straight shutouts and started HL play on Friday with a 1-0 blanking of Youngstown State. That has them back on a 103 minute shutout streak heading into Monday night, which is probably a bad sign for Marquette and their five total goals on the season.
A pair of freshmen are doing the damage on offense for the Panthers, and they’re both southeastern Wisconsin natives. Pleasant Prairie’s Haley Johnson shares the team lead in goals with Franklin’s Jelena Sever at three apiece. Johnson has the team points lead, thanks to her team high five assists on the season. Redshirt senior Erin Corrigan has four helpers to go with two goals, which means that Corrigan and Johnson have combined for nine of UWM’s 19 assists on the season. By the way: 19 assists on 16 goals. Is that good? It seems good.
It’s a Milwaukee area freshman in net for the Panthers, too. Elaina LaMacchia has stepped right in and hasn’t let the Panthers miss a beat. She’s got a microscopic goals-against average of just 0.57, and she stops 84% of shots on net. As you might expect with a freshman netminder, credit must be paid to the defenders in front of her. LaMacchia is averaging just three saves per game, so her back line is going all out to keep her as risk-free as possible.