Non-conference play is over for Marquette men’s soccer, and it ended with a bang. MU recorded a 6-1 win over Green Bay on Tuesday night, which was big for a few reasons. Not only was it Marquette’s highest goal total since 1994, but it also put the previous week behind them emphatically. The Golden Eagles were completely out of sorts in their two previous matches, losing 6-2 to Saint Louis and 4-0 to #12 St. John’s.
Yeah! It was no good!
That’s over now, and the Golden Eagles have moved on.
Three matches into Big East play, and MU is 1-2-0 so far. The win was an impressive road rally against Xavier, and in addition to the nightmare against the Johnnies, MU also suffered a nailbiter of a loss to Creighton in the league opener. Three points is all they have so far, but right now, three points gives them a share of sixth place in the league table.
That’s important, as only the top six teams qualify for the Big East tournament. As luck would have it, one of the teams in the three-way lockup with Marquette is their opponent on Saturday night. That makes it a big opportunity to put them below the Golden Eagles in the table and start looking upwards.
It’s important for Marquette to take advantage of the chances to rack up points on the slate. Losing to St. John’s wasn’t surprising, nor will be losing to Georgetown in a few weeks. The Hoyas are looking like a national championship contender right now, so MU has to work around that forthcoming road block when it comes to staying in the top six. Saturday’s match is a great chance to come out firing after Tuesday’s barnburner and plunge headlong into conference play with a full head of steam.
Big East Match #4: at Providence Friars (7-4-0, 1-2-0 Big East)
Marquette is 4-8-2 all time against Providence. The series started with five straight losses by the Golden Eagles, so you could say things have turned around.... but all of MU’s wins came in a row. They’re currently on a 0-3-2 five match winless streak against the Friars.
A Tuesday win over future Big East opponent Connecticut has stemmed the tide for Providence. They had lost their two preview matches, although no one is going to fault them for a 2-1 loss to then-#2 Georgetown. Then again, they did shoot themselves in the foot by giving up a penalty kick goal in the 48th minute for the first goal of the match. In any case, the losses to Butler and the Hoyas leave the Friars in search of points just the same as Marquette at this point in the schedule.
If you’re looking for action in your soccer, you’re going to want to tune in on Saturday night. This match features the two of the three rootinest tootinest shootinest teams in the Big East, as they combine to produce over 30 shots per match on offense. Thanks to Marquette’s six goal explosion on Tuesday night, both MU and PC are averaging over a goal and a half per game this season, so betting on a 2-1 final one way or another is your likely outcome.
The big thing to worry about is that Providence’s defense is incredibly stingy. They’re giving up less than six shots per game, but impressively enough, this has not turned into the best goals-against defense in the league. Even with that few shots per game, the Friars are still giving up 0.91 goals per 90 minutes. If you can get angles on keeper Austin Aviza, you can beat him: He stops less than 70% of shots on goal.
Three different Friars have scored at least three goals this season already, and considering that they only have 18 on the season, it’s impressive that those guys have combined for more than half of the total. Joao Serrano leads the way with four goals, and his three assists give him the team lead in points, too. Providence excels at passing to create goals, as they have 17 assists this season. Ebsen Wolf leads the team with four helpers on the year, and all told, 11 men have contributed at least one point to the stat sheet in 2019.