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Marquette Women’s Soccer Preview: vs Providence & Creighton

Ignore the first Big East match of the year. The real schedule starts now.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 11 Butler at Providence Photo by Andrew Snook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I’m going to keep the preamble here short and to the point. Remember everything I wrote about the season and Big East play for Marquette Golden Eagles women’s soccer before the Georgetown match? Well, it all still counts for this one. Toss the memory of the loss to the Hoyas in the bin, and let’s attack the final eight matches of the regular season with gusto.

Big East Match #2: vs Providence Friars (6-3-1, 1-0-0 Big East)

Date: Thursday, October 3, 2019
Time: 7pm Central
Location: Valley Fields
Streaming: Big East Digital Network on Caffeine.tv and the Big East’s YouTube channel
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWSOC

Marquette is 11-2-2 all time against Providence. Unfortunately for the Golden Eagles, the losses have come in the last two meetings. After shutting out the Friars for seven consecutive matches, Marquette is now the one that can’t put the ball in the net after two straight PC clean sheets.

The Friars come into Thursday night on a three match winning streak, including an overtime victory at Texas. They’ve allowed just one goal during the winning streak, and they started off Big East play last week with a 4-0 smashing of St. John’s. Providence scored with less than 90 seconds left in the first half, and then again just 18 seconds into the second. That’s a real backbreaker of a move.

While the Friars have a positive record at this point in the season, they’re underwater in shot differential. They get outshot by more than two shots per game, but two matches in particular have that thrown out of balance. Providence gave up 21 shots against UConn in their season opener (a 2-1 win) and then 22 shots in a road 1-1 draw with Boston College.

Even with that shot problem, the Friars have the best scoring defense in the Big East right now. They’re allowing just 0.57 goals per 90 minutes, and they’re one of just two teams in the league letting in less than a goal per game. Most of the credit goes to keeper Shelby Hogan, as she’s stopping 89% of shots on goal this season. That’s amazingly impressive, even more so when you realize that her 4.9 saves per match are the fourth highest average in the Big East.

In terms of offense, Marquette will have to watch out for Hannah McNulty and Elayna Grillakis. McNulty has a team high five goals on the season, with three of them going for game winners. That gives her the team lead in points as well with 10, but Grillakis is second with six points on three goals. No one else on the roster has more than one goal in 2019, and only Olivia Lucia has more than one assist. Lucia, a senior defender from New Jersey, has two helpers on the year.

Big East Match #3: vs Creighton Bluejays (7-3-0, 1-0-0 Big East)

Date: Sunday, October 6, 2019
Time: 1pm Central
Location: Valley Fields
Streaming: Big East Digital Network on Caffeine.tv and the Big East’s YouTube channel
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWSOC

Marquette is 5-3-2 all time against Creighton. The last three results against the Bluejays have been a true mixed bag, with a loss, a win, and a draw in that order. MU has shutout Creighton in the last two meetings, as last year’s match was a scoreless tie.

Georgetown’s record and ranking speak for themselves. You know what you’re getting with the Hoyas. May I offer you the theory that the Bluejays are underrated, perhaps criminally so? Take a look at the current NCAA RPI situation. Georgetown is #40. Creighton is #42. Yes, yes, it’s still a bit early in the season. But two of their losses are to top 15 RPI teams, and the third was on the road against a top 80 team. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

A win against DePaul in their Big East opener stemmed a two match losing streak for the Bluejays, and they’ll visit Xavier before winding their way to Milwaukee for Sunday afternoon’s contest. It will be Creighton’s fifth road contest in their last six, so we’ll see if that’s taking a toll on the Jays.

Skylar Heinrich is currently the second most prolific goal scorer in the Big East. Her eight markers on the year trail only Xavier’s Samantha Dewey, who has nine on the year. The Omaha native is only a freshman, so get used to hearing more about her as the next three seasons go on. Creighton does enjoy using the pass to score goals, recording 14 assists on 18 goals in 2019, so while keeping an eye on Heinrich is crucial, diverting the ball away from a CU attacker is just as important for Marquette’s chances.

Katie Sullivan is the keeper of note for head coach Ross Paule. She averages five saves per game and is allowing 1.03 goals per 90 minutes. Sullivan stops 83% of shots on goal, which is a pretty important detail as the Bluejays allow just as many shots as they take.