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Marquette Women’s Soccer Preview: vs Xavier

The Golden Eagles have one last home match this season as they attempt to lay claim to a Big East tourney berth.

Seton Hall v Xavier Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Your Marquette women’s soccer team is riding high after three straight wins and going unbeaten in their last four matches!

That’s great news!

They’re nowhere near being able to clinch a Big East tournament berth with three matches left to go!

That’s less great!

Part of this is because the Golden Eagles are in a four-way tie for fourth place in the league with 10 points. There’s seemingly a clear division in the conference standings breaking out there, as Creighton is the next team after the tie, and they have just five points. With three matches left to go, of course things can change, but it is starting to seem that the six conference tournament participants are going to come from the four squads in this tie for fourth and the three teams ahead of them.

That’s seven squads, and thus someone is getting left out when the music stops playing.

Marquette has put themselves into position to be able to get back into the conference tournament after missing out for the first time in program history last year, and that’s good. However, the work is nowhere close to done, as it’s safe to say that MU still needs at least five points from the final three matches to feel safe about their chances.

I think it’s safe to say that Alyssa Bombacino will not be scoring a hat trick on Thursday night. Getting a hat trick in soccer is hard. Getting hat tricks in consecutive matches, as Bombacino did against Seton Hall and Villanova, is damn near impossible. Still, she’s on an incredibly hot streak right now, and she’s tallied seven goals on just 17 shots this season. If Bombacino has any more magic touches left in her boots, then it would be wisely in MU’s best interests to make sure they find her more than a few times on Thursday night.

By the way, this is the last home match of the year, so it is also senior night. Marquette will be honoring grad transfer Natalie Yass, seniors Maddy Henry, Emily Hess, and Bri Jaeger, and redshirt juniors Erin Johnston and Mary Kate Simon in a post-match ceremony. It will be their last regular season home match, but there’s still a chance that the Golden Eagles will get to play a home date in the Big East tournament.

Big East Match #7: vs Xavier Musketeers (11-3-2, 4-2-0 Big East)

Date: Thursday, October 24, 2019
Time: 7pm Central
Location: Valley Fields
Special Promotion: The first 120 students in attendance get free pizza from Ian’s.
Streaming: Big East Digital Network on YouTube
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWSOC

Marquette is 7-1 all time against Xavier. That’s the good news, including six straight shutouts in that run. The bad news is that the loss came last year down in Ohio, as Marquette lost 3-0.

Xavier comes in with two straight wins to their credit, and only a “well, no one blames you here” 2-1 loss to then-#10 Georgetown is in the middle of a 4-1-0 stretch for the Musketeers. That has them sitting in second place in the league heading into tonight, but it’s a precarious position. Depending on the results from today, there’s five different teams that could pass the Musketeers up if they lose to the Golden Eagles. The middle of the league is incredibly tightly packed with just three matches left to go, and to be honest, first place Georgetown (14 points) isn’t that far away from everyone else thanks to two ties.

This may be a rough defensive ask for Marquette. Xavier is the second most prolific offense in the Big East this season, averaging exactly two goals per game. Impressively, they actually average 2.31 assists per match, so that ability to create at least one secondary assist on their two goals per match is a constant threat that the Golden Eagles will have to be wary of for the full 90 minutes.

Key #1, #2, and #3 to the game is stopping Samantha Dewey. Xavier’s leading scorer this season is the heavy frontrunner for Big East Offensive Player of the Year at this point of the season. She has 29 points on 13 goals and three assists, which gives her six more points than anyone else in the league, and three more goals than anyone else. Dewey has taken nearly 24% of Xavier’s shots on the year, well more than twice and starting to approach three times as many as anyone else. If Marquette can disrupt her playmaking ability, then things get much, much easier in terms of winning this match.

She’s not out there alone, though. Brooke Sroka has hit the net four times this year to be the team’s second leading goalscorer. Grace Bahr and Carrie Lewis have recorded six and eight assists on the year respectively, so they’re the ones to watch when it comes to feeding the scoring machine that is Samantha Dewey.

Xavier has been alternating goalkeepers all season long, which means that it’s Toni Bizzarro’s turn to start in the rotation on Thursday night. She’s the better of the two netminders in terms of stats. She allows just 0.48 goals per 90 minutes and is saving 85% of shots on net. That’s a decided difference from Olivia Jenkins, but even she’s allowing less than a goal per match.