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Marquette Men’s Soccer Preview: vs Xavier & at Creighton

A mid-week home tilt and a Saturday night road contest are on deck for the Golden Eagles.

Eastern Kentucky v Xavier Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Marquette men’s soccer is currently 1-1-1 in Big East action and thus sitting in fifth place in the conference standings with four points.

This should not be the case.

Marquette should be 2-1-0 and sitting in a tie for third place with Georgetown at six points.

The Golden Eagles entered the 87th minute of their match against #22 Providence on Saturday with a 2-0 lead. This feels like the kind of match that you should win.

Then they entered the 88th minute of the match with a 2-1 lead. Again, this feels like the kind of match that you should win.

Obviously, they did not. It ended in a 2-2 tie after the Friars scored in the 88th minute and no one tallied a golden goal. To a certain extent, Marquette is lucky to be in fifth with four points because overtime matches can be looked at as a coinflip situation. If PC had won, it wouldn’t have been the weirdest thing to ever happen.

Marquette should have won the match. They’re lucky that they didn’t lose. For the second straight match, the Golden Eagles took their foot off the gas at the very end. It didn’t matter against Seton Hall when the Pirates scored a goal with 10 seconds left to make it 3-1, but it was still a goal allowed at the very night. That’s not as bad but still relatively similar to what happened against Providence.

This needs to stop.

Over the next four days, Marquette is going to get to take a shot at two teams who have combined to start 0-5-0 in Big East play. It’s still early for both teams in that regard and the winless starts are clearly going to make them hungry for victories when they face the Golden Eagles. That’s all the more reason for Louis Bennett and his lads to buckle up and make sure they bring home points in both contests to make up for the lost two points from the Providence match.

Big East Match #4: vs Xavier Musketeers (6-4-0, 0-3-0 Big East)

Date: Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Time: 7pm Central
Location: Valley Fields, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: FloFC
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer

Marquette is 8-3-1 all time against Xavier. Marquette won the first four meeting in the series, which came in 1987, 1990, 2007, and 2013. Things tilted in the Musketeers’ favor in the middle of the run, but it’s been going Marquette’s way in the last four meetings. The Golden Eagles are unbeaten in the last four encounters with a record of 3-0-1 including advancing on PKs after drawing in the 2018 Big East tournament.

Xavier had a nice start to the season as they pinned three straight wins on either side of a 1-0 road loss to then-#1 Indiana. This wasn’t anything world breaking as it didn’t even nudge them towards the top 25, but it’s hard to knock 6-1-0.

It’s not hard to knock 0-3-0, and that’s what Xavier has done since Big East play has started. This is a bit more in line with what was expected from the Musketeers when the Big East preseason poll picked them in a tie with UConn to finish eighth in the league. Actually, it might be worse than that because this includes a 1-0 home loss to Villanova, the team that was picked to finish 11th.

In terms of defending the X-Men, the priority has to be placed on shutting down Karsen Henderlong. He has five goals and an assist through 10 matches, which means he has nearly half of Xavier’s 11 goals on the year and he’s one of just five men to record an assist at all. His 20 shots lead the team, so he’s clearly option #1 for them. Option #2 appears to be Felix Tangen-Boe, but he has just one goal and one assist while sitting as the only other Xavier player with more than eight shots on the year.

Jerome Jolly has been unexpectedly prolific for Xavier with three goals on just eight shots. Justus Kauppinen is the only Musketeer with more than one assist this season, and he has two. That doesn’t sound like much, but it is a full one-third of the team total.

Matthew Rosenberg is the projected starter in net for head coach Andy Fleming. He’s played every minute of the season so far and has accrued a goals-against average of just 0.80 so far. It seems, however, that Xavier’s tactics as a whole are doing a lot of work there for Rosenberg. He’s stopping fewer than 70% of shots on goal this season, which means if you can pepper him with shots, you should be able to get one in the net. Xavier allows just 7.2 shots per game, though, so the mere possibility of peppering is easier said than done.

Big East Match #5: at Creighton Bluejays (3-4-1, 0-2-0 Big East)

Date: Saturday, October 9, 2021
Time: 7pm Central
Location: Morrison Stadium, Omaha, Nebraska
Streaming: FloFC
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer

Marquette is 8-9-1 all time against Creighton. The series starting with a 1-0 MU victory back in 1983, and they controlled the early portion of the series with a 5-2-0 record in the first seven matches. As of late, it’s been Creighton in charge as Marquette is just 1-3-1 in the last four. However, the most recent contest was the win as the Golden Eagles prevailed 2-1 in overtime in Omaha in the spring season.

Creighton, quite simply, has not lived up to the promise shown by their 1-0 defeat of then-#1 Indiana. They weren’t living up to it before that this season, losing 2-1 at home to Tulsa and 4-0 on the road to Saint Louis. Then, after drawing with Ohio State in their next match, the Bluejays dropped their first two Big East matches. They did take a tie into the 90th minute against then-#1 Georgetown before the Hoyas scored late to win, which is not the worst thing ever, but they followed that up with a St. John’s loss that featured two goals given up past the hour mark.

The Bluejays do come into the week on a two match winning streak after beating Nebraska-Omaha and UIC in non-conference play. Both wins were by shutout, so they’re running well over 180 minutes without a goal allowed right now with a mid-week match against DePaul on deck before Marquette comes to town. It’s definitely possible that the Jays still have that streak going as well as their first Big East win, but who can say for certain?

This is all probably bad news for the team that was picked to finish third in the Big East this season.

Creighton has 11 total goals on the season and four of them have from Diego Gutierrez. He has one of CU’s eight assists on the year as well for a team high nine points. Three of the Jays’ other seven goals this season have come from Manu Toledano, who is in a tie with Gutierrez for the team lead in shots with 17. In short, these are the guys you’re expecting to be at the top of the scoring chart and in fact the guys that Creighton wants up there. If Marquette can somehow trick the Bluejays into funneling their offense into Daniel Espeleta, that might be a sound tactic. He’s third on the team in shots with 13 but has nary a goal to be seen yet this season.

Paul Kruse is your friendly neighborhood Creighton goalkeeper with Nathan Schnur making his season debut last time out against UIC for the final half hour or so. If CU is in a competitive match, it’ll be Kruse in net, so we can expect to see him on Saturday. He’s allowing …. Wait, is that right? 1.39 goals per 90 minutes played? Oh, this is still fallout from the 4-0 loss to SLU, isn’t it? Even with that anchor on his season, he’s still stopping 75% of shots on net, so Marquette can not take Kruse’s abilities lightly.