Katrina Wetherell’s fifth minute header on a modified corner kick was the difference in Omaha on Thursday night as YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles defeated Creighton 1-0. The Golden Eagles are now 6-4-0 overall and 2-1-0 in Big East action.
The first official shot of the game went in the net to decide this one and it prompted a “wait, already?” from MrsB as she flitted in and out of the room before settling in to watch the Golden Eagles face the Bluejays. As I said in the intro there, it was a modified corner kick. Not actually a corner kick, but Elsi Twombly played Kylie Sprecher’s very deep throw in back to Sprecher for the launch into the middle of the park. It certainly looks like a designed play for the Golden Eagles, and the action close to the sideline appears to 1) catch the Bluejays off guard and 2) draw the defense towards Sprecher and Twombly. That freed up the space for Wetherell to time her movement and dive perfectly to punch the ball past keeper Keelan Terrell who appears to have absolutely zero chance to react to Wetherell.
GOAL!!!! Katrina Wetherell heads home her third goal of the season and first since the season opener in the fifth minute for the early 1-0 lead at Creighton! pic.twitter.com/koAA42RK4K— MARQUETTE Soccer (@MarquetteWSOC) October 1, 2021
As for the “holds on” in the title of the article, well, Creighton outshot Marquette 11-5 in the remaining 85 minutes of the match. Shots were 6-2 Jays at the half, and whether that’s because Marquette was content to lay back with an early 1-0 lead or because Creighton was going to naturally play a more offensively potent style, it’s hard to say. Things evened out in the second half with Creighton holding just a 5-4 shot advantage in the final 45 minutes. It was definitely an up and down match and MU was not content to sit back and defend after intermission.
There were two near miss goals for the Bluejays late in the first half. One doesn’t go into the stat book at all as the ball deflected off I believe MU’s Maggie Starker on a scramble in front of the net, but Bonnie Lacey was there to sweep the ball off the line.
Second half about to start and MU leads 1-0 thanks in large part to Lacey's work on the near post late in the opening stanza. pic.twitter.com/FVzU8Vr0Vt— MARQUETTE Soccer (@MarquetteWSOC) October 1, 2021
The other was a ball that smashed into the crossbar in the 40th minute. It was well played by keeper Mikki Easter, and had it been a foot lower, it certainly looked like she timed her jump to have made the save if necessary.
Marquette nearly tacked on an insurance goal about 15 minutes after halftime. Kate Gibson was right place right time as Terrell just whiffed on a challenge. But the ball bounded high and Gibson’s attempt to body the ball into the wide open net didn’t come together and it rolled out cleanly for a goal kick.
Freshman Kate Gibson checks in and moments later almost creates MU's second goal of the match. 66' and MU up 1-0 on Wetherell (3) header. pic.twitter.com/NSidZA8v3H— MARQUETTE Soccer (@MarquetteWSOC) October 1, 2021
Gibson had another chance at a very late insurance goal where she broke free with the ball from midfield and Terrell came all the way out to the 18 yard box to defend it. Gibson did get past her, but not cleanly. That allowed the Jays defense to retreat in enough time to protect the net and force it out for a corner kick.
Easter made three saves in the match, two in the second half, to protect the clean sheet. It’s the fourth shutout of the year for the redshirt freshman from Virginia, and her goals-against average has dropped to just 0.60.
Wetherell now has three goals on the season which ties Rachel Johnson and Maggie Starker for the team lead in that department, and those three are tied with Elsi Twombly for the points lead at seven. I make this point more to talk about Wetherell’s physical health. The redshirt junior is already playing with a brace or at the very least a wrap on her wrist dating back to an injury suffered against Utah State. She came off the pitch for a sub in the first half with a limp and then had to be removed from the field for concussion protocol late in the second half after a collision. She returned to the match eventually, which is good news of course. But Marquette does need Wetherell on the field to be their most productive selves, and eventually these dings are going to add up.
Wanna watch all the highlights in one spot, courtesy of FloFC and GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: The Golden Eagles return home after picking up two wins in consecutive road matches. It’ll be Seton Hall at Valley Fields on Sunday, with first kick on FloFC scheduled for Noon Central. The Pirates are 6-5-0 overall and 1-2-0 in Big East action after falling 2-1 to Connecticut at home on Thursday night.