Thursday is the final match day for women’s soccer in the Big East. YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles are 3-4-2 in league action this season, which gives them 11 points in the standings. 11 points has Marquette in a tie for sixth place in the standings, which is a problem because only the top six teams qualify for the conference tournament.
Marquette’s biggest problem is that they’re tied with Connecticut, and the Golden Eagles took a 2-1 loss to the Huskies on October 2nd. If it comes down to MU and UConn for one final spot, the tiebreaker goes to UConn. That means Marquette is going to need the Huskies to lose to Seton Hall on Thursday night (6pm Central time start) if they want a Big East tourney spot.
So, that makes Thursday night a Must Get Points situation for Marquette. Connecticut losing to Seton Hall on Thursday night does MU no good unless the Golden Eagles snag at least a point from a draw.
On top of that, Marquette can not do better than a tie for fifth place. Creighton and Butler are currently tied for fourth place in the league with 14 points. If Marquette beats Xavier on Thursday, that would get them to 14 points, and Creighton and Butler are playing each other. If one of them wins, the other loses and stays on 14 points and thus would land in a tie with the Golden Eagles. It would be most beneficial for MU if it would be Creighton getting the win, as Marquette beat Butler and lost to the Bluejays. They have the tiebreaker over the Bulldogs, so MU win + UConn loss + Creighton win = #5 seed.
Big East Match #10: vs #24 Xavier Musketeers (12-2-4, 6-0-3 Big East)
Marquette is 9-3-0 all time against Xavier. The Golden Eagles went 2-1 against the Musketeers in the 2021 calendar year, but it was Xavier coming out ahead, 3-1, in the 2021 fall season down in Cincinnati for the most recent meeting.
As you can see from that goose egg in the loss column for league play, the Musketeers haven’t stumbled against a Big East foe yet this year. That kind of makes that whole “Marquette needs points here” thing a much tougher climb, and the fact that their unbeaten streak is actually 11 straight matches just adds to that. It gets worse. Xavier beat Creighton 2-1 in their most recent match, and Aida Kardovic’s goal in the 83rd minute was the first goal that the Musketeers had allowed into the net in the last seven matches. All told, Xavier is outscoring teams 9-2 in Big East play.
Xavier will control a match, but they won’t blow you out of one, either. They’re pretty much doubling opponents up on shots this season, 15.1 to 7.8 per contest. They only have 24 goals on the season in 18 matches, led by five from Molly McLaughlin. Her goal against Creighton was the first since October 2nd against Seton Hall, so take that into account. In Big East play, Xavier has been shutout three times, which is where all three of their draws come from. That gives them nine goals in their other six matches, and that was seven in five matches before putting up two on the Bluejays.
Whatever else you want to say about Xavier, we all have to agree that it appears that the Musketeers have their netminding settled for the next several years. Maria Galley is a 5’10” freshman from Connecticut, and thanks to Georgetown’s goalkeeping being weird this season, she’s the most likely candidate for Big East Goalkeeper of the Year. She has a goals-against average of 0.61, which means you might need an electron microscope to see it, and she’s stopping nearly 82% of shots on frame this year. Remember: Xavier’s not really allowing that many shots at all, so Galley is making less than three saves per match to get there.