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Marquette Men’s Soccer Preview: at RV Seton Hall

The Golden Eagles hit the road for the first time in Big East play in need of a goal, not to mention a win.

Xavier v Seton Hall Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

At the 33:32 mark of Marquette men’s soccer’s match against Kansas City on September 3rd, Beto Soto scored for the Golden Eagles, converting what would be the game winner in the 2-1 victory over the Roos.

That was the last time Marquette won a match.

That was also the last time Marquette scored a goal.

These things are probably connected.

It’s been over 436 minutes of soccer since the Golden Eagles scored a goal. That’s bad at face value, it’s even worse for a team that started out the year ranked #19 in the country and immediately jumped up to #13 in the country in the first in-season United Soccer Coaches poll. The fact of the matter is that Marquette is just not anywhere close to that good.

It would seem that one of the problems that we could identify from the spring season is rearing its head here. Let’s be honest about what the spring season was: Marquette scoring a whole metric ton of very well timed goals to win a lot of very low scoring games. They had just 16 goals in 14 spring matches. Right now? Eight goals in seven matches. It’s literally the exact same pace. But instead of 5-1-1 through seven contests like they were in the spring, Marquette is 3-4-0 because they scored all their goals in a bunch and are going through a wasteland right now.

By the way: It’s not surprising that Marquette is on a four game losing streak. That’s the kind of thing that happens when you get outshot 60-36 across four straight matches. Averaging nine shots a match isn’t getting it done on offense, and allowing 15 on the other end isn’t helpful. Yet again, this was a problem in the spring, but it didn’t manifest itself with losses. In the spring, Marquette was outshot 14.4 to 9.8 on average. This losing streak is nearly matching that exactly.

We’re seeing a different version of the possible outcomes from the spring right now. Marquette has to find something new, perhaps on both ends of the field, if they want to steer out of this slide.

Big East Match #2: at RV Seton Hall Pirates (4-1-2, 0-1-0 Big East)

Date: Friday, September 24, 2021
Time: 6pm Central
Location: Owen T. Carroll Field, South Orange, New Jersey
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer

Marquette is 6-6-3 all time against Seton Hall. The Pirates have won each of the last three meetings and four of the last five encounters. That includes the 4-1 smashing in last year’s Big East semifinals.

I’m not going to say that things aren’t going well for Seton Hall this fall, but they’ve taken a bit of a step back from where things looked like they might be going. The Pirates started off the season as the #10 team in the country according to the United Soccer Coaches preseason poll..... and then they started off the year with a scoreless draw against Temple. That immediately dropped them to #20 in the poll. Going to a 3-3 draw with then-#10 Virginia Tech didn’t really hurt them...... but going to overtime with NJIT and Army probably wasn’t good news, either. That 3-2 victory over the Black Knights was their last non-conference contest..... and then they opened up league play with a 3-2 loss to Providence.

Now, to be clear, the Friars have been having a nice start to the season, so that’s not a horrible loss. It is, however, yet another result that the Pirates probably wish that they had back. They’re now no longer ranked in the USC poll, and things just aren’t going to be getting easier for them as Big East action continues.

Seton Hall’s biggest problem probably lies in the fact that they’re allowing too many quality shots. Outshooting your opponent overall is nice, but when 43% of their shots are on frame against less than 40% of yours, then you’re giving up the advantage that you have in the total volume department.

Once you’re seven games into the season, it’s no longer a fluke that a defender is leading the team in points. German junior Johannes Pex has three goals and five assists for the Pirates to lead the team in both categories along with the points column as well. Five more players have scored at least twice, which is pretty impressive, and seven players other than Pex have at least two assists. SHU has 25 assists on just 19 goals this season, so Marquette’s defense is going to have to be alert at all times.

I don’t know who is going to be in net for the Pirates on Friday night. Andreas Nota started and played every minute of Seton Hall’s first six matches, but he didn’t play against Providence. Junior Hannes Ronnholmen made his third ever appearance for SHU when he started against the Friars, and, uh, well, you can see how that match went for Seton Hall. Nota wasn’t having a great season with a goals-against average of 1.68 and a save percentage of .676, but if he’s healthy, he might still be the better option.