Marquette men’s soccer wraps up the 2022 season on Wednesday night.
We already know that it will be the end of the season, because the Golden Eagles can not qualify for the Big East tournament. Only the top six teams qualify, and MU was eliminated from contention even before their most recent contest against Georgetown even started.
The reason why? Marquette is winless in Big East play. 0-5-4, and that was 0-4-4 before falling to the Hoyas.
If Marquette figures out a way to beat St. John’s in the Valley on Wednesday night, they will accomplish the fourth one win season in Big East play under the direction of head coach Louis Bennett since he took over in 2006 and their fifth since joining the Big east as Steve Adlard went 1-8-1 in his final season in charge.
If Marquette does not figure out how to defeat the Red Storm, they will go winless in conference play for the second time in program history. Marquette has only been in a conference since 1989 while the program itself dates back to 1964. Yes, MU has gone winless in a conference schedule before. The Golden Eagles were 0-11-0 in 2006.... which was Bennett’s first year in charge.
Marquette hasn’t had a one win conference season since 2015. That itself was the first one since Bennett’s third season as the MU head coach as he went 1-9-1 in year #2 and 1-8-2 in year #3.
I don’t want to say it’s an ominous thing that there’s a chance that the Golden Eagles could be all the way back around to where Bennett was when he took over the team after a highly successful 10 year run at UW-Milwaukee...... but it kind of is, isn’t it? Yeah, there’s something to be said about the fact that Marquette is the worst team in the Big East even by RPI standards and they’re only at #112 while the rest of the league is in the top 100 (just barely, hello #100 St. John’s). That’s nine straight matches against teams somewhere between 27 and 92 in the RPI, and yeah, it’s hard to get wins against that kind of competition.
But also we’re on the verge of literally the worst performance in league play by a Marquette squad in over 15 years..... and a win only makes it the worst performance in seven years, which is also not good.
Fingers crossed, I guess?
Big East Match #10: vs St. John’s Red Storm (4-7-5, 2-3-4 Big East)
Marquette is 4-4-3 all time against St. John’s. The Golden Eagles are currently riding a two match losing streak against the Red Storm, and both of those matches — Milwaukee in 2019 and New York in 2021 — ended 4-0 to the Johnnies.
St. John’s comes in winless in their last three and with just one win in their last seven matches. That’s 1-2-4 in that stretch, including scoreless draws with then-#12 Xavier and UConn, both in Queens. That match with the Huskies was the most recent contest for the Red Storm, and the point that they got from that one kept them alive for the Big East tournament. As things stand right now, they have 10 points, which is two behind sixth place Connecticut at 12 points, and Providence is in between them at 11 points.
The Red Storm will need help to get into the top six. They will need to beat Marquette, of course, but they will also need UConn to either lose or draw against Georgetown (pretty safe bet) and Providence to do the same against Creighton. Both of those matches will start an hour before SJU/MU kicks off, but again: St. John’s has to win to make those results matter, so it’s not like they can scoreboard watch for 45 minutes and then figure out what to do with the Golden Eagles.
As you can guess from the fact that the Johnnies need help to land in the top six, they have a certain set of problems. First of all, they have a goal differential of -1 on the year, 18-17. To be honest, 18 goals allowed in 16 matches is actually kind of good, so that’s not that big of a problem on its own. St. John’s is also ever so slightly — literally just 0.3 per game — getting outshot by their opponents, and that is the kind of thing that leads you to being just slightly underwater in goal differential.
Redshirt junior Antek Sienkiel is the biggest offensive threat that the Red Storm have. His seven goals are more than twice as many as anyone else on the roster, and he has two assists to get him to a team high in points at 16. I don’t know what is says about St. John’s that a guy listed as midfielder/defender on the roster is leading the team in shots at 33 in 16 matches, but that’s what’s happening. Wesley Leggett is second on the team in that category, and he’s one of two guys with three goals this season and Leggett has the team lead in assists with four, too.
While the Johnnies have used three different keepers for at least 270 minutes worth of time this season, I feel pretty safe saying that Zenden Hart will be the starter on Wednesday night. He has the most appearances and minutes this season and he’s played all of SJU’s last four contests. The Australian freshman is also the best statistical keeper that the Red Storm can put on the field. He’s allowing just 0.85 goals per 90 minutes this year and is stopping over 81% of shots on goal.