The three match losing streak is over for Marquette women’s soccer, but boy oh boy, it sure didn’t look like that was going to be the case for a while.
Kate Gibson and Aislinn Boyle provided the second half fireworks as the Golden Eagles rallied from a 2-0 halftime deficit to grab a 2-2 draw with Providence on Thursday night. Marquette is now 6-6-2 on the year and 2-3-1 in Big East action. That gives them seven points, same as the Friars, and both teams are two points short of the sixth and final Big East tournament berth with four matches to play.
How did we get there? Well, it wasn’t fun for head coach Frank Pelaez and his team, that’s for sure. Providence’s first shot of the match, and actually the first shot of the entire match, found its way past MU keeper Chloe Olson in the 10th minute. “Found” isn’t the right word, as it was a quality strike from the right side. PC had just launched it forward, and a Marquette attempt at corralling the ball went straight to McBride’s feet. She bolted forward, Hailey Block did her damnedest to stay in front of McBride and deny her an angle, but she found it and popped one far corner, giving Olson no chance to stop it.
Realizing the hole that they were now in while riding a three match losing streak, Marquette pushed the issue. The Golden Eagles had each of the next three shots in the match, but in the 24th minute heading into the 25th, the ball was back down in front of Olson. Providence let a shot go, and from watching the replay, it looks like Olson had the slow bounder tracked all the way as she falls towards the left post to get it.... except Caroline Cline had a track on it as well, and her attempt to boot it for a corner kick skims her shoe instead, and zip, in the net, 2-0 Providence.
That stood up til halftime, even while Marquette outshot the Friars 7-5 in the first 45 minutes. The second half got underway with Marquette now shooting at the end they were defending in the first half, and it was not back and forth up and down the field I counter your counters soccer. But, in the 54th minute, the Golden Eagles broke up the shutout. Marquette picked up a free kick at about maybe the edge of what you’d call the dangerous area for free kicks, and Katrina Wetherell tried to just rip it in the net from there. It didn’t work, but it did hit the crossbar, pop up into the air, and go straight to Kate Gibson, who headed it in.
Heck of a sequence, heck of a goal by Gibson.
As the PBP man on the FloSports broadcast said, we now had ourselves a ballgame, as the Golden Eagles had 36 minutes to find another goal and challenge PC’s hold on three points. Both keepers made a save along the way to keep things at the 2-1 mark, and in 74th minute, riiiiight about where you start to say “oh man, can they actually get the equalizer,” Elsi Twombly got free down the right side.
Providence keeper Emma Bodmer did not have her dive timed right, and the ball bounced past her. It went right to Aislinn Boyle out in the middle of the box, and she made the uncomplicated play to knot the match at two each. Not gonna lie, I thought it was Alex Campana at first because all I saw was the blonde ponytail and the number 9 on her back, so I just presumed the lighting stopped me from seeing the 1 next to the 9. But good for Boyle, as it was the first career goal from the Canadian sophomore to go with the assist that she logged against Green Bay earlier this year.
Marquette would generate three corner kicks the rest of the way and an 88th minute Hailey Block shot that went high was the only official shot after MU’s second goal. The clock ran out eventually, and that was that.
Is it weird that all four goals were scored on the same net, the one on the west end of Valley Fields? I’m sure that kind of thing happens more often than you think in soccer, but it certainly seems noticeable when your team breaks up a three match skid.
You wanna see both goals in one place? Here’s the highlights, courtesy of FloFC and GoMarquette.com.
Up Next: While we could count Thursday night’s contest as part of the 30th anniversary celebration, Sunday’s match with Villanova is the big official celebration of the start of MU’s women’s soccer program. I presume there’s going to be dozens of former players at the match, which will be against Villanova and start at 1pm Central. The Wildcats (3-7-2, 2-4-0 Big East) have now lost three straight heading into Sunday after falling 1-0 to Georgetown on Thursday afternoon.