If you’ve got a solid handle on what’s going on with Marquette women’s soccer this season, holler at me in the comments, because I’m totally lost.
After getting shutout in the first three games of the season, all losses, Marquette got outshot 25-7 by Michigan, and then 13-4 by Minnesota...... except those were both 1-0 victories for the Golden Eagles. The Michigan win came in double overtime, just two and a half minutes short of being a scoreless draw.
You’d think that would lead to something good happening, because sometimes it’s better to be lucky than to be good..... and then Marquette went out in their next game and got shelled, 5-1, by Utah State. In terms of goals, it was the worst defensive performance by the Golden Eagles in several years. However, it was really an issue of the outstanding play by Maddy Henry not being perfect forever. Henry had been carrying the Golden Eagles by averaging over seven saves per game coming into that match, but she was only able to make three against the Aggies.
That sounds more critical of Henry than it really should. At some point, allowing five goals on 18 shots isn’t the keeper’s fault. It was unrealistic to expect Henry to be able to track down so many shots over and over and over again all season long. At some point, the defense in front of Henry has to stop clean shots from getting off against her.
The offense even did their part in that one, managing 18 shots of their own to go shot-for-shot with USU. It only turned into one goal though, which is how soccer goes sometimes.
So now Marquette tangles with their crosstown rivals who probably remember their only regular season loss from last season all too well. How will Marquette handle this opportunity after their last match went so poorly on so many levels? Last year, Marquette managed to fight off their other struggles to play the Panthers fairly evenly long enough for Bri Jaeger to head home a winner. Can they do something like that again?
Match #7: at Milwaukee Panthers (5-1-0)
Date: Sunday, September 15, 2019
Time: 7pm Central
Location: Engelmann Stadium, Milwaukee, WI
Streaming: ESPN+, and you can start your subscription by clicking here.
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Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWSOC
Marquette is 10-9-8 all time against Milwaukee. The Golden Eagles snapped a four match winless streak against the Panthers last year with a 1-0 win at Valley Fields.
The Panthers have picked up where they left off last season. After going 16-2-1 a year ago with a perfect record in the Horizon League and a first round loss in the NCAA tournament (yes, MU was their only other loss of the year), UW-Milwaukee is 6-1-0 so far in 2019. They’re not beating patsies either, as they’re already 2-0-0 against the Big East. The Panthers opened the season with a 2-1 win at DePaul, and then last Sunday, they scored in the 89th minute to beat Butler at home.
They’re getting it done on both ends of the field, too. UWM is scoring 2.6 goals per game on average, and with seven goals allowed, they’re only letting in one per game. Milwaukee’s biggest flaw this season is how often they allow shots on goal. More than half of their opponents’ shots this season have been on frame, and that’s the kind of thing that can end up biting you in the butt eventually if you’re not careful. They’re outshooting their opponents pretty heavily, but if they’re giving up quality chances in the few shots they allow, that’s a potential flaw that can be exposed.
Haley Johnson leads the team with five goals already this year. Combine that with three assists, and she also leads the squad with 13 points. Gaby Schwartz also has double digits in points, getting to exactly 10 on three goals and four assists.
I think we can expect to see Elaina LaMacchia in net on Sunday night, but that’s not a guarantee. The sophomore from Mequon has started both of Milwaukee’s last two matches, so I guess she’ll be out there again. Of course, redshirt sophomore Allie Strottman, the starter for the first five matches of the year, came on in relief of LaMacchia against Western Illinois after the Panthers were up 3-0 late. LaMacchia has struggled a bit in her 190 minutes of action, posting a goals-against average of 1.65 and stopping just 67% of shots on goal. Strottman has a goals-against of just 0.62 and has made saves on over 88% of shots on net this year. I’d say MU’s chances are better if it’s LaMacchia, but there’s still 10 other women out there with her.