We wrapped up Labor Day weekend with a Marquette men’s soccer game down in Oklahoma, and things did not go the way we wanted it to. A 74th minute goal from the hosting Tulsa Golden Hurricane was the only scoring strike in the match, and thus, the #13 ranked Golden Eagles lost 1-0 and fell to 3-1-0 on the year.
Yes, it’s the first loss of the year, and yes, it’s probably going to impact Marquette’s spot in the polls. It’s not an upset though, and not just because MU was the road team here. Tulsa was earning votes in last week’s United Soccer Coaches poll and they beat #8 Missouri State on Friday. Quite honestly, the only reason Tulsa wasn’t ranked when this game was played is because USC releases their poll on Tuesday afternoon. That was a ranked Tulsa team that beat a ranked Marquette team on Monday night, and the result can’t be called either surprising or a disappointment.
Sure, it would have been nice for Marquette to not get outshot 12-5 in the first half. It ultimately didn’t matter because the game was tied without a goal through 45 minutes, and honestly, Marquette had some good chances to put a goal on the board before halftime. The shots evened out a bit in the second half as the two sides combined for eight total shots. Whether that’s because of adjustments or because Tulsa got to spend the last 16 minutes defending a lead, I’m not totally sure.
Finally, though, Tulsa broke through in the 74th minute. It was one of the most straight forward goals that you’ll ever see, almost to the point of it being a quality textbook example of how to build up out of the back for an attack. Tulsa moved the ball well, made the right play, kept moving it into open space, and eventually, they got it very deep on the right hand side of the net, Marquette’s Chandler Hallwood played the angle to defend a shot coming from that side, which left him and/or the net completely and totally exposed for a run straight down the middle, which is what happened. Malik Henry-Scott came bolting through, the cross was perfectly timed out to his run, and boink, right in the net without any hope of anyone doing anything about it.
Marquette had some chances to do something about it late, gathering a corner kick in the 82nd minute, getting a shot from Sam Thornton that missed left in the 87th, and a foul by Tulsa star Alex Meinhard in the 90th that gave Marquette a final free kick opportunity. Nothing came particularly close to danger, though, and so it goes in the record book as a loss.
Up Next: Marquette will likely hold on to their top 15 ranking in Tuesday’s USC poll since they do only count matches through Sunday when compiling the rankings, so they’ll have that going for them when they return to action on Friday. It’ll be another road trip for the Golden Eagles, this time out to DeKalb, Illinois, to face Northern Illinois. The Huskies are 2-1-0 on the year after beating Purdue-Fort Wayne and St. Thomas at home and losing to Notre Dame on the road. They’ll visit Eastern Illinois on Tuesday before Marquette comes to town on Friday. First kick is set for 7pm Central in what will be one of two final tune ups before Big East play begins.