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A Marquette Women’s Soccer Xavier Recap/Creighton Preview Combo

So many combinations going on lately. This week has been A LOT.

Xavier v Creighton Via Getty

The last time we talked about Marquette women’s soccer, we were talking about how the Golden Eagles would respond to taking their first loss of the season. In fact, I completely neglected to mention that it was actually the first loss of Frank Pelaez’s tenure as head coach.

Well, that match has come and gone and it’s almost time for a new match, so we’d better recap said match.

It went really well! Marquette looked pretty good!

The Golden Eagles scored twice in the first 40 minutes to lead 2-0 at the half, tacked on a third before the one hour mark and coasted in for the 3-1 victory against Xavier on Thursday afternoon. Marquette is now 4-1-0 on the year and 2-1-0 in Big East action. The Golden Eagles are now one of just two teams with a winning record in conference action in the Midwest Division, although we haven’t even hit the midway point yet.

Elsi Twombly didn’t score for the second straight match for the Golden Eagles, but she did contribute to the first goal of the match when she sent a ball screaming across the goal mouth for Kylie Sprecher to finish off in the 21st minute.

It’s an awkward finish for Sprecher after making clean contact with the ball, but no worries on her health. The senior ended up playing the full 90 minutes even with the Golden Eagles up big in the second half.

Twombly missed out on a chance for a second assist when Rachel Johnson needed to do some footwork of her own to get clear to fire this boomer up and over Xavier keeper Olivia Jenkins in the 36th minute.

The result is obviously fantastic. The actual play is maybe a little less so. Marquette actually got outshot in the first half, 7-5. It ended up 10-8 for the game with both sides only managing three shots in the second half, which is a totally fine situation since five of the six total shots came after Block scored to make it 3-0. Marquette holding Xavier to just three shots in the final 36 minutes is pretty good, and I’m not worried about the Golden Eagles hanging back to protect their lead at that point.

MU’s third goal of the game came from Hailey block, the Wisconsin native and transfer from Southeast Missouri. She hadn’t played in a Big East match yet for the Golden Eagles, but her 46 minutes of action turned out well when she was able to recorral her not quite solid first touch and punch it into the net for her first goal in a Marquette uniform.

Lauren Schill continued her run of good play in Marquette’s net. The freshman made four saves in the match, including one in the 77th minute after having her clean sheet broken up by Grace Blumfeldt in the 64th minute. That fourth and final save stopped the Musketeers from inching within a goal for the final 13 minutes and helped Schill’s field defenders play a little freer without having to really buckle up to protect a one goal lead.

How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com?

And so, on to the next one......

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

Date: Sunday, March 21, 2021
Time: 1pm Central
Location: Morrison Stadium, Omaha, Nebraska
Streaming: Creighton Athletics YouTube
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteWSOC

Marquette is 5-3-3 all time against Creighton. However, the latest run of the series has not gone in MU’s favor. The Golden Eagles are just 1-1-2 in the last four encounters, with both of the last two going as draws.

Speaking of things not going in your favor, let’s talk about Creighton’s entire season so far. As you can see, they have done nothing but end up on the losing end four times. Actually, it’s five times, as they also lost an exhibition match to Minnesota State-Mankato, but at least that can be explained by head coach Ross Paule rolling with his bench for the most part in that one. Worse than being 0-4-0 in official matches is the state of Creighton’s offense. They have scored one goal in four matches, which has resulted in 1-0 losses to Missouri and Xavier and a 4-0 loss to Butler in their most recent contest back on Thursday afternoon.

The goal came in a 2-1 double overtime loss on the road to DePaul. Creighton can’t even claim that they’ve been leading in a match at all this season, as their goal was the equalizer in the 68th minute. The goal that beat them came in the 102nd minute, but it was actually just 61 seconds after the second overtime session started.

For all of the lack of positive results in terms of balls in nets, Creighton hasn’t actually been playing poorly. Well, it depends on what you want to think of as “poorly,” I guess. If you like up and down soccer with a lot of shots no matter whether or not those shots are on goal, then you probably think Creighton is playing very poor soccer. The Bluejays are averaging 9.5 shots per game and allowing just 8.2 shots per game on the defensive end. For comparison’s sake, Marquette is at 13.6 and 12.0 per game respectively. In a fun coincidence, the music playing as I finished that sentence was The Beatles singing “It’s going to be a drag. Misery.”

Ansley Atkinson is your goal scorer on the year for the Bluejays. She scored that one unassisted against DePaul, so she’s the only one with points. She’s not leading the team in shots, though, and she’s not even second. Aida Kardovic is tops in shots with seven, but she’s only played in three of the four matches after missing the opener. Madison Radke has six shots to fall in second place on the team right now.

Keelan Terrell has played every minute in net so far this season. The sophomore from Kansas has seen her goals-against average balloon up to just short of two goals per 90 minutes thanks to the four goals that Butler hung on her last time out. Terrell is stopping 62% of shots on net and she’s averaging just over three saves per game. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but don’t forget that Creighton is only allowing 8.2 shots per game. That’s a lot of shots on goal relative to total shots allowed.