Marquette men’s soccer dropped their fourth straight loss on Friday night, falling 1-0 to Villanova. The Golden Eagles are 3-4-0 on the year, a long cry away from their preseason top 25 ranking, and 0-1-0 out of the gate in Big East play.
Let’s just cut to the heart of the matter, and that’s Balthi Saunders’ goal in the 28th minute. Here’s a video clip of it thanks to the Big East grabbing it from FloFC:
Obviously, with the camera zoomed in on the ball and eventually on Saunders, it’s hard to get a full feel for the breakdown that led to what appears to be about a simple 20 yard pass down the sideline from midfield to Saunders, and then a relatively simple dribble into the box and shot past MU keeper Chandler Hallwood. We can see the ball flying through the air at the start of the clip, so clearly a long play to get it to midfield might have had an impact on how Marquette reacted in general, but the Golden Eagles were also clearly chasing the ball all the way back and quite honestly didn’t come anywhere close to putting any kind of pressure on Saunders to do literally anything other than what he did.
It’s not great is what I’m saying.
That was one of 10 first half shots for the Wildcats as they outshot MU 10-4 in the opening 45 minutes of the match. All but one of Marquette’s shots came before Saunders’ goal, which isn’t a great reaction to falling behind either.
Things turned around shots wise in the second half as MU outshot Villanova 8-1. That’s not due to a late flurry of putting pressure on Villanova either, as the Golden Eagles didn’t manage a single shot at all in the final eight minutes of the contest. VU’s lone shot of the half came in the 75th minute, and I’m going to presume this is all more “VU is comfortable sitting on a lead” than it is “Marquette is ripping them up.” You could definitely argue that Marquette’s offense was more put together across 90 minutes than Villanova was as the Wildcats managed just two shots on goal for the entire game against six for the Golden Eagles.... but Nova had the shot that went in so it doesn’t really matter now does it?
Up Next: Marquette gets most of a week to think about what they’ve done before traveling out east to continue conference action. A date in South Orange against Seton Hall is on tape with first kick set for 6pm Central on Friday, September 24th. The Pirates are currently ranked #19 in the country but that’s going to change before Friday. SHU lost their Big East opener 3-2 on Saturday night at Carroll Field thanks to two Providence goals in the final nine minutes.