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Marquette Women’s Soccer Preview: at Drake Bulldogs

The Golden Eagles head to Iowa in need of their first win of the season.

Track and Field: USA Championships
I can work with a statue of a mascot.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Marquette women’s soccer is 0-5-1 on the season thus far.

This is an aberration of the highest order in the history of the program.

There have been 25 previous seasons of women’s soccer at Marquette. The Golden Eagles have lost more than five games in 15 of those seasons, and only 12 times since Markus Roeders took over as head coach in year #4. One of those 12 was his first season, and MU only lost six times. In just nine of his 22 seasons has Marquette lost more than six times, and they’ve never lost more than eight times.

Roeders has never finished with a losing record, coming closest in 2015 at 8-8-3. With 12 regular season matches remaining, Marquette will need to do better than 8-4-0 over the remainder to avoid Roeders’ first ever losing season.

I’m not saying that they can’t. I’m saying that it’s a long, long, long, looooong way off.

Step #1: Getting the shot differential turned around. Ignoring the relative disaster that was the two game trip to North Carolina, Marquette is getting outshot 62-42 this season. That works out to a -5.0 differential on a per game basis, with Marquette attempting just 40.3% of the shots in their games. MU needs to find a way to maintain possession on a regular basis and start turning that possession into shot totals that work in their favor. If they can accomplish that, then they’ll be taking a big chunk of the heavy load off of keeper Maddy Henry, who is averaging more than six saves per game and has made six or more saves four times this season, including in each of Marquette’s last three contests.

Match #7: at Drake Bulldogs (2-4-0)

Date: Sunday, September 9, 2018
Time: 1pm Central
Location: Cownie Soccer Complex, Des Moines, IA
Video Streaming: ESPN+, so you’ll need a subscription.
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWSOC

Marquette is 2-0-1 all time against Drake, with just one goal allowed in the series. That one came back in the first ever meeting in 2005. There was a return bout in 2006, and this contest is a return from last year’s 3-0 Marquette win in Milwaukee.

Drake comes in with a win in their most recent game. They wrapped up a six game road jaunt to open the season with a 1-0 victory over North Dakota State. The goal from Olivia Bruce in the 85th minute snapped a scoreless streak by the Bulldogs that had stretched past 432 consecutive minutes. They had scored in the 13th minute of their first win of the season, again coming from Bruce, and then got shutout in three straight losses.

Some of this is a surprise for those that follow the Drake program. The Bulldogs are coming off of a Missouri Valley Conference regular season title last season, but they were picked to finish fourth in the league this year. Hannah Bormann and Alyssa Brand represented Drake on the preseason all-conference team, but they haven’t really made an impact on the team yet this season. Bormann has played in just two games and logged 106 total minutes, while Brand has just five shots in four appearances out of Drake’s six matches on the year. The pair combined for five goals and eight assists in 2017, so their absence on the field is playing a fairly significant role in Drake’s struggles. Brand has missed the last two matches, while Bormann has only appeared in the last two contests.

As you might expect, Bruce’s two goals on the season lead the team. The Bulldogs have tallied just two assists on their four goals on the season, so I don’t know how much we can expect any kind of fancy passing from them. Kelsie Stone has played every minute in net, kind of somewhat by necessity. The sophomore from Hoffman Estates, Illinois, made three appearances last year as the backup keeper, but she’s now the senior member of the goalkeeping corps on the roster with only a freshman backing her up. While Drake has been losing matches, it hasn’t been Stone’s fault. Her goals-against average is respectable at 1.17, and she’s stopping over 81% of shots on goal.