The 2021 fall season continued to be a struggle for Marquette women’s soccer on Sunday afternoon. The Golden Eagles put together over 55 minutes of scoreless soccer on both ends of the field before allowing a goal, and ultimately were gifted a second chance at a win. However, Utah State’s control of the match paid off in the long run as the Aggies scored in the second period of extra time to take the 2-1 victory. With the loss, Marquette drops to 1-3-0 on the year and the Golden Eagles have lost three straight since winning their season opener.
The biggest thing for Marquette in this match was going to be seeing how they reacted to getting absolutely run off the field by #14 BYU back on Thursday. Through 45 minutes, the answer to that was pretty positive. It was a scoreless match at halftime, and Marquette led Utah State in shots, 5-4. Things started slipping in the other direction as the second half got underway. The Aggies fired off four shots in the first 11 minutes of the period without Marquette interjecting one of their own. With that pressure mounting, it’s not entirely surprising that USU was able to get Kami Warner deep to the left of the goal to send a cross into the middle. Marquette keeper Mikki Easter didn’t play it cleanly, which left the ball bounding out in front of Sara Taylor and she put the home team up 1-0 in the 58th minute.
Marquette continued to struggle to get things together after that, although it appeared that the Aggies were a little bit content to sit back a little bit as well. As the match proceeded, it definitely looked like it was headed towards a regulation loss for Marquette…. Until the 82 minute mark.
I don’t know what got into the head of this particularly USU defender that told her it was a good plan to chest a ball to the ground while facing her own net, but Elsi Twombly’s presence on her elbow one way or another caused the ball to poke past keeper Diera Walton. It looked like Walton had no intention of charging the ball to make a save because she knew her defender wasn’t going to expect her to do that and thus it would risk injury to them both. Still, that decision froze her in place as Twombly was officially credited with a goal that might have actually been an own goal.
The final eight minutes of regulation ticked by mostly uneventfully, although Easter did have to make a save in the 87th minute on a long range free kick and a free kick given by the referee blowing the clock dead right before the end of regulation led to a shot flying well high of the net.
One yellow card each and a well intended shot from MU’s Elaina Eckert that flew wide right was the only drama of the first 10 extra minutes of the match. That led to a second overtime session, and that’s where Utah State scored their golden goal. I watched it happen and I’m still not sure what Mikki Easter was trying to do with the shot from Sammi Murdock. Maybe she thought Murdock’s body language read as trying to put the ball in the air, but what happened was Murdock’s shot was low and Easter ended up playing it with her feet while jumping a bit. As you can expect, this resulted in the ball deflecting off of Easter’s feet a bit and easily bounding into the net for the game winner.
Up Next: Well, the good news is that Marquette has three matches left to go to figure themselves out before Big East play starts. The better news is that Marquette’s opponents are all struggling about as much as MU is right now. The next chance at a win comes on Thursday night at Valley Fields when Illinois-Chicago comes to town. The Flames are 0-4-1 on the season so far after losing 1-0 to Western Illinois on Sunday evening. First kick is set for 7pm Central.