Marquette men’s soccer has a big moment in front of them tonight at Valley Fields. After defeating Villanova in their most recent match, Marquette has pushed themselves to 6-6-1 on the season. Any time you get an opportunity to move back across the .500 mark on the season, that’s a big deal.
Of course, I could also be talking about the Big East standings here.
As things stand right now, Marquette is in a five-way tie for fourth place in the conference. That’s good news for certain. However, only the top six teams in the league qualify for the conference tournament, and if the table as it sits right now were the final standings, two of the five teams in this tie would be left out in the cold.
That’s not great!
Marquette has four matches left to play to secure their spot in the tournament. As luck would have it, Wednesday’s opponent is the team that’s in third place just ahead of the five-way tie. As luck would have it, Butler is sitting at seven points right now, while the fourth place tie is with six points. That’s a fantastic opportunity to vault past the Bulldogs in the table if the Golden Eagles can manage to snare three points with a win. Who knows what happens around the rest of the league today, but if you can put a team in front of you behind you with a win, you have to grab that opportunity.
Cedrik Stern has been pretty good in net for Marquette since taking over duties from Jackson Weyman four matches ago. The Golden Eagles are only 2-2-0 in that time, but the two losses have big red flags on them. The first was a 4-0 loss to then-#12 St. John’s (oh well, that happens) and the other was 2-0 to Providence after the Golden Eagles went down to 10 men in the 10th minute of the match and it was honestly an impressive job by Stern to keep the match at just two goals. As a result of those two, Stern’s goals-against average is a bit higher than Weyman’s was through nine matches, but the German sophomore is stopping a higher percentage of shots during his tenure. If he can keep that up, then I think the Golden Eagles have a good chance to do good things as the regular season winds to a close.
Big East Match #6: vs Butler Bulldogs (8-4-1, 2-2-1 Big East)
Date: Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Time: 7pm Central
Location: Valley Fields
Streaming: Big East Digital Network on Caffeine.tv/bedn or the Big East’s YouTube channel
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer
Marquette is 5-5-0 all time against Butler. The first three meetings were back in the 1990s, and then they didn’t meet again until The Reformation. MU has gone 3-4-0 against the Bulldogs when both sides have been in the Big East, but last year’s 10 man win against the Butler snapped a four match Marquette losing streak.
The Bulldogs come in on a five match unbeaten streak, with only a draw against DePaul between two wins on either side breaking up a winning streak. For a brief second, I thought that they had a very impressive win over Akron, but not only is Akron not ranked like they were when Xavier beat them to start the season, but the Zips are now 1-8-1 on the year. So, y’know, not great. Still, though, the last five contests have turned around Butler’s season to a degree after a 4-4-0 start.
Wilmer Cabrera, Jr., has the team lead in points at 13 after a goal and an assist against Seton Hall last time out. The assist is what’s making the difference right now, as Cabrera has five goals and three helpers, while Brandon Guhl matches him in goals but has just two assists on the season. Any discussion of what the Bulldogs can do on the offensive end of the pitch has to include Jack Heywood, who has tallied seven assists in 11 matches. He had a streak of four straight matches with an assist snapped when Seton Hall managed to hold him without one while Butler beat them 4-0. That’s a weird sort of impressive accomplishment, if you think about it.
Gabriel Gjergji has been Butler’s netminder all year, playing every single minute for them. After shutting out Seton Hall last time around with five saves to his credit, he has a goals-against average of 1.02 this year. Five saves in a match is right about average for Gjergji this year, as the 6’1” Italian stops 80% of shots on goal.