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Marquette Men’s Soccer Preview: vs #11 Tulsa & vs Utah Tech

The Golden Eagles open up their slate with their biggest test of non-conference play, but it is a home game.

Houston v Tulsa
This is Captain ‘Cane, the Tulsa mascot.
Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images

It’s time for some football!

Marquette men’s soccer gets their 2022 campaign underway on Thursday night as they start with the first of four straight home matches. The opener will be MU’s toughest test of the non-conference slate, so that’s both good news and bad news.

Maybe the Golden Eagles take advantage of their home turf and score a big win over a ranked foe, just like they did in the 2021 season finale when they beat #1 Georgetown. Maybe they can use that stern test, win or lose, to propel them forward towards success for the rest of the season. Maybe Marquette can take advantage of bringing back almost every notable contributor from last year’s team and turn that into a highly successful season.

A lot of those returning guys tasted glory in the spring of 2021, going 8-1-1 in the COVID shortened timeshifted season to get to the NCAA tournament. They have an idea of what it takes to get there. The question is whether or not that they can replicate the kind of play that they need to make that happen. Can Chandler Hallwood go back to being an unstoppable wall in net? Can MU’s defensive corps tighten things up and cut Hallwood some breaks? Can the offense pick up the production on their end of the field to make things a little bit easier on the defense?

Lots of questions are hanging in the air. Maybe they don’t get answered against a tippy top team on Thursday, but that’s not the only game for the Golden Eagles this weekend. They’ll get two bites of the apple to get on a winning track to star the season. Let’s see what we get.

BY THE WAY: Marquette’s home matches and Big East matches are carried on FloSports. This means a pay subscription if you want to watch the streaming broadcasts. DO NOT PAY FULL PRICE FOR FLOSPORTS. Click here to get a Big East sponsored discount on your subscription.

Match #1: vs #11 Tulsa Golden Hurricane (0-0-0)

Date: Thursday, August 25, 2022
Time: 5pm Central
Location: Valley Fields, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: FloFC
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer

Marquette is 1-1-0 all time against Tulsa, but they have never played them in Milwaukee. The win came back in 1983 in Omaha, while the loss came last year in Oklahoma. From a certain point of view, MU has not scored a goal against Tulsa in nearly 40 years.

Last year, Tulsa went 16-2-1 somewhat thanks to that win over Marquette in early September. The only loss they suffered in the regular season came in a visit to UCF in mid-October, where the Knights beat them 3-2. The Golden Hurricane got their win back at home to close out the regular season and then beat #2 seeded UCF in the AAC title game to earn an autobid to the NCAA tournament. They then got a regular season rematch in their first game of the NCAA tournament and beat Creighton 1-0 before bowing out in the Sweet 16 to West Virginia.

As you might expect from that #11 preseason ranking, Tulsa is the unanimous favorite to win the AAC regular season title this fall. They return seven starters from last year’s team, including Alex Meinhard, Mariano Fazio, and Alex Lopez. I mention those three chaps because they are the AAC’s Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, and Goalkeeper of the Year respectively. In short, they’re probably going to be a terror to deal with for their conference brethren, and so probably a tall task for Marquette to figure out as well.

The Golden Eagles do have a notable advantage on Tulsa, as grad transfer Ben Barkley led TU in assists last season. Will having an inside source on the tactics that Tulsa used against Marquette make a major impact on how the Golden Eagles play? Well, it can’t hurt now, can it?

Match #2: vs Utah Tech Trailblazers (0-0-0)

Date: Sunday, August 28, 2022
Time: 2pm Central
Location: Valley Fields, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: FloFC
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer

This is the first ever meeting between Marquette and Utah Tech, mostly because last year was Utah Tech’s second year as a Division 1 program.

If you’ve never head of Utah Tech before, that’s fine! Technically speaking, Utah Tech has only existed since July 1st of this year. That’s the day that they officially changed their name from Dixie State University. Yes, Dixie State in southwestern Utah, just miles from the Arizona state line. It makes sense if you learn that the original Mormon settlers in the 1850s 1) were from the southeast and 2) were growing cotton. It, of course, makes less sense in 2022, and so now they’re Utah Tech.

FUN FACT: Former Marquette women’s soccer assistant coach Nick Vorberg is an assistant coach for Utah Tech!

After going 4-13-1 last year with a 2-7-1 record in WAC play, Utah Tech enters this year picked to finish ninth in their conference. That’s ninth out of 10 teams, so take that, Houston Baptist. There is a big drop off between UNLV and Texas-Rio Grande Valley at a tie for seventh place with 32 points in the preseason poll and UT, who grabbed just 14 points. In short, they’re a long way off from being expected to compete in their league this fall.

Sophomore Larsen Rogers is Utah Tech’s leading returning scorer after putting up one goal and one assist last season. Yeah. They’re losing their top three guys who were their only three players to find the back of the net more than once in 2021. Larsen was one of 10 guys who had an assist last season, so in a way, they’re returning their leading assists man, kind of.

Jacob Zimmerman is UT’s most experienced goal keeper back this year. He appeared in four matches last season, starting all four and putting up over 340 minutes played. Zimmerman gave up five goals in those matches, with three coming in an October contest against Cal Baptist. He did stop 80% of shots on goal, so at least in a limited sample size, there’s proof that Marquette is going to have to be particular about putting the ball on frame to beat him.