A fast start on Thursday night gave the Golden Eagles the base they needed to win, but it took a play by Katrina Wetherell in overtime to finally secure the three points as Marquette defeated St. John’s 4-3. MU is now 8-6-0 on the year and 4-3-0 in Big East action. The three points from the win bounced them up to 12 total and puts Marquette alone in fourth place in the Big East.
At a glance coming in, it looked like Marquette was facing a St. John’s team that was offensively powerful but was susceptible to pressure on the defensive end. Marquette proved that in the first 15 minutes as the Golden Eagles did a pretty good job of keeping everything in the Red Storm end. Shot #1 of the match led to a corner kick, which led to this goal, officially credited to Rachel Johnson:
Have a look at Rachel Johnson's fourth goal of the year pic.twitter.com/IHMxMAaspp— MARQUETTE Soccer (@MarquetteWSOC) October 15, 2021
Johnson’s redirect of Wetherell’s corner kick hit a St. John’s defender to go into the middle of the net, but it was ticketed in no matter what anyway and given the foot placement, might have already been in the net officially, too. In any case, 1-0 less than nine minutes in.
Five minutes later, it was defender Madison Burrier creating dysfunction in the St. John’s defense to score to make it 2-0....... but it’s not the dysfunction you usually think about. All Burrier did was launch it at the net. St. John’s, particularly keeper Naya Lipkins, did the rest of the work..... or lack of work, I suppose.
Burrier notches her first of the year off the assist from Kylie Sprecher! Check out the crazy tally for the redshirt junior defender. pic.twitter.com/W92ENTxLhl— MARQUETTE Soccer (@MarquetteWSOC) October 15, 2021
Officially, Kylie Sprecher is the only one who gets an assist on that after the back pass to Burrier. I want to tip my cap to Elaina Eckert, though. She’s the one making the run at the net while Burrier’s ball is in the air. It’s Eckert’s run that freezes Lipkins in place and stops her from running up to field the ball cleanly on the hop, and by the time it hits the ground, there’s nothing that Lipkins can do but look up and watch it go in, just like a centerfielder watching a home run go over the fence.
That was Marquette’s third shot of the match before St. John’s recorded even one, which is definitely the kind of thing you want to do when Zsani Kajan is playing forward for the other team. As you’d expect, St. John’s eventually got their offense in gear, and in pretty quick order after MU went up 2-0. Isabelle Aviza tallied on SJU’s second shot of the match in the 23rd minute and Marquette would go more than 16 minutes without a shot of their own.
23' | Isabelle Aviza with the GOAL to cut Marquette's lead in half, 2-1!— St. John's WSoccer (@StJohnsWSoccer) October 15, 2021
Kajan, the Big East’s top goal scorer so far this season, tallied her first and as it would turn out only shot of the game in the 31st minute, but it was saved by MU keeper Mikki Easter. Not long thereafter, Marquette was able to mount something of a push back in the other direction, and that led to this 45th minute goal from Alyssa Bombacino:
Here's a glimpse at that incredible effort from Bomba to give us a two-goal lead at the break! pic.twitter.com/m5sAcLeBRm— MARQUETTE Soccer (@MarquetteWSOC) October 15, 2021
Running with three SJU defenders and realizing the approach of a fourth, Bombacino realizes MU might not get a better look at the net, and she has a teammate on the far post. Rip it and find out what happens! Turns out, it’s a bad day at the office for Naya Lipkins, and there’s nothing she can do about the angle on that one.
That makes it 3-1 at the half, and honestly, given Kajan’s constant threat to score a goal, that’s a near-perfect 45 minutes of soccer against this Red Storm team.
The second half? Ehhhhh, maybe not so much.
Marquette would get outshot 8-3 in the next 45 minutes, but that’s not the worst thing in the world. Again: Big Time Offense standing across from them. Bunkering to hold your lead after the half? Not the worst plan. Still, the Johnnies scored in the 69th minute to make it 3-2, and much like Lipkins in the first half on the eastern net in the Valley, there was very little about this shot from Frederique St.-Jean that Mikki Easter was going to be able to do.
A clearance attempt in the 88th minute by Marquette led to a rocket shot from Athina Sofroniou, and well, as was the story before on that eastern net, there was nothing that Mikki Easter could do about this ball. It was high, it caught enough crossbar to deflect down and in, and boom: 3-3 tie with just over two minutes left in regulation.
To recap: Marquette scored three goals and held the top goal scorer in the entire conference to just one first half shot, but this one still headed to overtime. That’s soccer sometimes.
Overtime started out looking pretty dangerous for Marquette as the Johnnies generated a shot that went high, a corner kick, and a shot that had to be saved by Easter in the first six minutes. Finally, though, the MU offense got things all the way in gear and created a corner kick in the 98th minute. In a nice mirror image of Marquette’s first goal of the night, it was Rachel Johnson launching and Katrina Wetherell directing it into the net.
Take a look as Wetherell puts the game-winning goal past the SJU keeper and delivers us another BIG EAST dub! pic.twitter.com/odlrAO2eRE— MARQUETTE Soccer (@MarquetteWSOC) October 15, 2021
While Johnson and Wetherell deserve all the praise for placing that corner kick where it was playable and directing it towards the net, we can’t ignore the fact that MU did get it in because Lipkins massively misplayed the kick. She comes well out of her net to play the ball away from her, but by the time she realizes that she’s never going to get into position to do that, Wetherell’s already in the air and the net’s wide open.
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Up Next: Nothing fun, that’s for sure. Marquette is in Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon for a showdown against first place Xavier. First kick is set for Noon Central time on FloFC for Marquette’s final road contest of the season. The Musketeers are 13-1-1 on the season and 6-1-0 in the Big East after winning 1-0 at DePaul on Thursday afternoon.