Back on Saturday night, YOUR Marquette men’s soccer team beat #1 ranked Georgetown for the program’s first ever win over a top ranked team in what was the regular season finale for the Golden Eagles. With an 11 team conference, only 10 teams can play on any given day of Big East action, and Marquette drew the straw to sit out Wednesday’s final match day.
Beating the Hoyas on Saturday left Marquette with a record of 7-8-1 overall and 4-5-1 in conference action. That’s 13 points worth of results in the Big East table, and that wasn’t enough to clinch a conference tournament berth. It was enough, however, to leave Marquette with a chance to get into the six team tournament with some help on the final match day. There were five possible ways for the Golden Eagles to get into the field, two that made them the #5 seed and three that seeded Marquette sixth.
Marquette needed two things to happen for sure: A DePaul loss or tie and a Creighton loss. They also needed both Butler and Villanova to not lose. Any combination of wins or ties from the Bulldogs and the Wildcats were helpful. Heading into the day, it seemed that the most likely situation to come through for the Golden Eagles would be #16 Providence going into Omaha and beating the Bluejays.
In order then:
- Villanova beat Seton Hall, 1-0, on an 87th minute goal from Anthony Cousins. Excellent. This meant the Butler/St. John’s game could end with any result and it wouldn’t really matter to Marquette.
- DePaul and Xavier went to a 1-1 draw after the Blue Demons equalized in the 75th minute. Excellent, that’s one of the two results in that match that Marquette needed.
- And then, finally, in the last match of the regular season in the entire league, Creighton scored in the 4th and 16th minutes on either side of booting in an own goal to take a 2-1 win over the nationally ranked Friars.
To a certain extent, Providence being able to beat Creighton wasn’t actually the most likely thing to happen for Marquette. With the win over PC, the Bluejays have closed out the season with four straight wins and a 5-0-1 record in their last six matches. The last time they lost? Well, as irony would have it? When Marquette downed them, 3-1, back on October 9th, thus giving the Golden Eagles the head-to-head tiebreaker if things came down to it.
It almost seems as if Creighton spent the rest of the regular season making sure things would not come down to that tiebreaker.
And so, the season ends quietly. It’s an end to a somewhat frustrating season as the Golden Eagles started the campaign nationally ranked and ended it with a win over the #1 team in the country, a squad that had lost just one other time all season. It feels like it should have gone differently, but we’re stuck with the results that we got.
With the season over, we have to say a big Anonymous Eagle THANK YOU to the Marquette seniors: Christian Albelo, AJ Franklin, Christian Gennaro, Nick Guido, Gabe Kash, Clay Smith, Cedrik Stern, Sam Thornton, Zak Wegner, and manager Alec Wons. These guys have put their heart and soul into the MU soccer program and our hats are off to them. All of these guys were on the roster for Marquette’s magic run to the Sweet 16 in the exceptionally weird 2021 spring season, and figuring out a way to win soccer matches while dealing with COVID protocols left, right, and center can not have been easy and we thank them for doing just that. I usually don’t like singling out any one of the seniors when I do these things, but we just can’t ignore the fact that AJ Franklin is wrapping up his college soccer career with three goals scored: One of them gave Marquette the lead in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament and one of them went as the game-winner against the #1 team in the country. That’s two of the biggest goals in MU history, honestly, and respect where respect is due.
And now, we move on into the offseason and wait to see what MU does next fall.