No one is particularly thrilled that Marquette did not reclaim the Milwaukee Cup on Wednesday night at Valley Fields. Not only did the Cup escape their possession for a second straight year, but the loss dropped the Golden Eagles to 3-4-0 on the year.
It’s not what you want.
Marquette has looked to be a better side than last season, though, and some of this has merely been growing pains. That’s fine. It’s especially fine after Marquette handed Villanova their lunch last week Saturday and picked up three points to open up conference play. Reaching the Big East tournament again this season is the goal and three points in hand with eight matches left to go is a pretty big deal.
With that in mind, it’s important for Marquette to focus on snagging victories against the teams that they should beat in the Big East. Heading into the season, Villanova was one of those teams, as MU was picked to finish sixth and the Wildcats were slotted in eighth. We have another situation like that this weekend, as Saturday’s opponent was picked to finish ninth. Things pick up a bit next weekend with league favorite Georgetown coming to Valley Fields, so while I’m not going to call this one “must win,” it would be incredibly valuable for MU to be sitting on six points with seven matches left to go.
The Big East coaches would pick MU over Seton Hall on a neutral field. Marquette’s history says that they’re more likely than not to beat Seton Hall. All they have to do is go out and do it.
Big East Match #2: at Seton Hall Pirates (3-2-1, 0-1-0 Big East)
Date: Saturday, September 22, 2018
Time: 5:30pm Central
Location: Owen T. Carroll Field, South Orange, NJ
Video Streaming: Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @marquettesoccer
Marquette has a record of 6-4-3 all time against Seton Hall. The series has been played every year since 2005, with the Pirates taking the first three meetings. Things have swayed towards MU since 2010, when the Golden Eagles started a four match winning streak and have gone 6-1-1 since, including a 4-2 victory in Milwaukee last season.
Seton Hall finds themselves in the half of the Big East that lost their opener last week. They coughed up a 10th minute goal to St. John’s in Queens, and while half of their shots in the match were on frame, the Pirates were unable to find an equalizer. They rebounded from that one with a 2-1 win over Sacred Heart on Wednesday in their most recent match. That win snapped a three match winless streak for SHU, as they had lost to Delaware and gone to a scoreless draw with Hofstra before falling to St. John’s.
The Pirates’ biggest problem this year has been, like it was against St. John’s, turning shots into goals. They’re outshooting teams 96-77 on the season, but they’ve both scored and allowed seven goals through their six matches. They’re also incredibly foul prone, committing an average of 13.7 per match.
CJ Tibbling and Carlton McKenzie have distinguished themselves on the offensive end this season with a team high two goals each, but attention must be given to Nico Andersen as well. The senior defender from Denmark has a goal and a team high three assists to his credit, so Marquette is going to need to limit his ability to feed his teammates.
Andreas Nota will be your keeper for the Pirates. The 5’11” Italian has played every minute this season after transferring in from NAIA Campbellsville since last season. With just seven goals allowed in six matches, his goals-against average of 1.10 is about exactly what you’d expect. Nota is jamming up shots on frame to the tune of 78.8%, so it seems that if Marquette can generate chances — and we’ve seen Connor Alba and Lukas Sunesson do exactly that — they’ll have a chance to bury one past him.