I don’t know if I’m 100% prepared to say that Marquette women’s soccer has steered out of the three game losing funk that they were in not that long ago.
Sure, Marquette has won their last two matches to even up their record on the season at 3-3-0. And sure, Marquette has shut out their last two opponents and outscored them 4-0. All good things!
Marquette’s goal in their 1-0 victory against Illinois-Chicago was maybe on the freakish flukish side of things. And sure, getting a 3-0 victory feels pretty great.... but it was against a St. Thomas team making their Division 1 debut this year and they’re 2-4-1 on the year.
I’m not saying that Marquette didn’t work hard and try hard and play to the best of their abilities in these games. I’m saying that maybe they got lucky to win a game where they were outshooting their opponent and maybe they kicked around a team that’s only technically on their level in the other match.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that the problems that led to three straight losses aren’t still there. It’s just that maybe the last two opponents haven’t been on the same quality as then-#14 BYU so it’s harder to see whether or not MU is pulling in the direction that head coach Frank Pelaez wants them pulling.
I don’t think that Friday night’s match is going to help us tell anything in particular either, and that will make sense in a second here. It is, however, going to be Marquette’s last contest before they start Big East action. Whatever hiccups are left in the system, they need to be gone by the time we hear that final horn on Friday night because things start getting very crucial very quickly after that.....
Match #7: vs North Dakota State Bison (0-5-1)
This is the first ever meeting between Marquette and North Dakota State.
Things are, somehow, worse than they appear for NDSU this season. After getting outscored 13-0 in their two exhibition matches against Big Ten opponents, the Bison are currently -13 in goal differential in the regular season. They have been shutout four times in six matches, including a 3-0 neutral site loss to Dixie State, and they scored just one goal in each of their other two contests. And somehow, it’s even worse than that, as North Dakota State is getting outscored 8-0 in first halves this season and outshot 41-13.
Lavin Douglass and Olivia Watson are your goal scorers this season for NDSU, but they don’t appear to be the focal point for the offense. Alicia Nead and Bella Grandbois lead the team with seven shots through six matches. No one assisted on either goal for the Bison, so it’s hard to say what the Golden Eagles might have to watch out for in that department.
Abby Wilkinson started North Dakota State’s first three matches of the year, but she got into a collision in the final minute of that third match as a goal was scored, and she has not played since. It’s been junior Sofia Howe in the net ever since, and statistically speaking, things have been going better for the last 290 minutes. Howe’s goals-against average is 1.86, which is not good but is definitely better than the 3.01 from Wilkinson. Same goes for save percentage, where Howe is at .786 against .625 from Wilkinson in the first 269 minutes of the season.