One match at a time.
On Wednesday afternoon, Marquette men’s soccer will face off against DePaul. It is the first of the final four matches of the regular season for the Golden Eagles. As things stand heading into Wednesday, nothing has mathematically been taken off the books for Marquette, even though they are winless through six matches at 0-3-3.
Four matches left to go means there is possibility of earning 12 more points this season. Adding 12 more points to MU’s total of three is 15, and right now, Georgetown, Seton Hall, and Xavier are tied in first place at 13. No one has surpassed Marquette’s best possible final outcome, not yet.
Wednesday’s results — there is a full slate of five matches with Xavier taking the day off as the 11th wheel — may shift that significantly. A win, MU’s first in league play, moves Marquette to six total points and into the neighborhood of eighth place Creighton, depending on their match with Butler. A draw means DePaul and Marquette both move one point forward, which could potentially keep both teams in 10th and 11th place respectively.
A loss means Marquette has three points with only nine more possible left to earn. That would immediately mean MU can’t finish better than fourth, and depending on other results around the league? Might mean no better than fifth, and possibly even no better than a tie for sixth. A reminder at this point: Only six teams qualify for the Big East tournament, and tying for sixth means you’re crossing your fingers that a tiebreaker with Providence goes in your favor after drawing with the Friars earlier this year.
An important note to all of this before we reconvene after Wednesday to talk about Saturday night’s match? Marquette still has to play Georgetown and their current 4-1-1 record in the league before the season ends. Counting on that contest for three points from a victory is not the world’s best plan. Did it happen last year when the Hoyas were #1 in the country? Sure, but it’s probably in MU’s best interest to stack up points against 10th place DePaul before that happens.
Big East Match #7: at DePaul Blue Demons (3-4-6, 0-2-4 Big East)
Date: Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Time: 1pm Central
Location: Wish Field, Chicago, Illinois
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Twitter Updates: @marquettesoccer
Marquette is 30-6-1 all time against DePaul. All of the Blue Demons’ victories in the series have come since 2004, and it was a back-and-forth series through 2017 as the meetings got sparse once both clubs moved to the Big East. The Golden Eagles have won each of the last five encounters, including a 1-0 shutout last year in Milwaukee.
Yes, this match is a battle of the sad sacks in the Big East this season as neither Marquette nor DePaul have figured out a way to win a conference match so far. DePaul’s current winless streak stands at six matches thanks to a loss to Penn in the middle of league play as well as a win against UIC in there, too. The Blue Demons stand in front of Marquette in the standings largely because of three draws in their last four contests, all three of which were against the squads currently tied for first place in the Big East. That includes going 1-1 with then-#13 Xavier this past Saturday afternoon in Chicago.
As you’d expect from a team that’s winless in six league attempts, DePaul is not an offensive powerhouse of a team. 12 goals for this season in 13 matches means they’re not even averaging a goal per game. Cade Hagan and Michael Anderson are tied for the team lead in goals with two each. While the Blue Demons don’t have firepower at their disposal, they do have diversity in offense. Nine different men have put the ball in the net, and that doesn’t include Omar Ramadan, who is fourth on the team in shots attempted this season. 12 different men have recorded a point this fall, thanks to seven different guys adding an assist to the stat sheet. Ramadan and Hagan are part of a trio to record two assists to lead the team, with Marek Gonda joining them there.
Gandhi Cruz has played all but one game in net this season for DePaul. The one he missed was the outing against Penn back on September 25th, and since he wasn’t redcarded out of their most recent match, we have to presume that Cruz will be out there on Wednesday afternoon. His goals-against average on the season is right at 1.00 with 12 allowed in 12 matches, and he’s stopping 82% of shots on goal. That’s a big number of stops, and Cruz averages just over 4.5 saves per match as well. DePaul is getting badly outshot this season — 194-104 — so those saves from Cruz are precious and important to them.