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Marquette Women’s Soccer Preview: at Villanova Wildcats

The Golden Eagles head to Pennsylvania for a matinee match in search of their first league win.

Lafayette v Villanova Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

After Sunday’s loss to Butler, Marquette women’s soccer has a record of 2-7-1 on the season and 0-1-0 in Big East play.

Marquette women’s soccer has lost more than eight matches just twice in program history, in Year #1 (10 losses) and Year #3 (11 losses.) Both of those seasons were before Markus Roeders was elevated to head coach in 1996. Since then, Marquette has lost at most eight matches in a season, and that has happened seven times, including three straight years in 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Marquette’s next loss will be their eighth of the season, thus tying Roeders’ mark for the most losses under his guidance. If they lose two more matches — and with eight Big East matches remaining, this is bordering on likely at this point — it will be a new low point for MU women’s soccer under Roeders and the worst season since they were essentially still figuring out how to get on and off the bus during road trips over 20 years ago.

That’s..... not.... great.

Now, hey, there’s maybe a caveat here. As we talked about in our league-wide view, Marquette played a REALLY tough non-conference schedule. Maybe they overscheduled for the team that they have and took on a metric ton of losses that maybe they actually shouldn’t have taken. Maybe the team has been adversely affected by Kylie Sprecher’s return to form after an injury diagnosis in March, as the talented forward has logged just 357 minutes after playing over 1,200 last season.

Maybe there’s a lot of reasons for Marquette’s struggles to this point of the season. What we know for sure is that the Golden Eagles need to stack up some wins in pretty quick fashion in order to salvage something exciting out of this otherwise bummer of a season.

Big East Match #2: at Villanova Wildcats (6-4-0, 0-1-0 Big East)

Date: Thursday, September 27, 2018
Time: 3pm Central, because Villanova still doesn’t have lights
Location: Higgins Soccer Complex, Villanova, PA
Video Streaming: Big East Digital Network on Fox Sports Go
Live Stats: StatBroadcast
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWSOC

Marquette is 8-1-0 all time against Villanova. Here’s the bad news: The loss was last year, and it wasn’t just a loss. It was a 4-1 asskicking that sent Marquette to their first ever 0-2-0 start under head coach Markus Roeders. Aside: I’m not super excited about the fact that Marquette is 0-1-0 and facing Villanova second again this year.

Villanova seems to be a little bit ahead of where they were last year. They went 4-5-0 in non-conference action last year, and they went 6-3-0 this year. Can’t knock improvement, regardless of who the opponents were. While that’s probably good news for them, they started out Big East play on Saturday with a 2-0 loss at home against Providence. There’s nothing particularly wrong with losing to the Friars, especially if PC is as good as their non-con performance indicates, but it does tell us that VU might be coming in a little bit hungry for a league victory.

Even with a middling record on the year, Villanova is outscoring their foes, 13-11, and outshooting them as well, 124-104. Bri Austin leads the way for the offense with four goals on the season, with two of those coming against Siena. Austin shares the team lead in points with Chloe O’Neill, who has three goals and three assists. O’Neill has to share the team lead in assists with Niki Molina, who tallied two helpers against James Madison to get there.

In our whiparound look at the league, we spent a lot of time talking about Villanova’s goalkeeping situation. Rebecca Gartner had the net against Providence last week, so it seems likely she’ll get the nod again against the Golden Eagles. She has a goals-against average of 1.32 after letting in two against the Friars, and she stops just 73% of shots on goal.