With a win on Saturday, Marquette men’s soccer could clinch a spot in the eight team Big East conference tournament.
I know, this somehow seems absurd given the fact that Marquette is 1-4-2 in Big East play and that the Golden Eagles are winless in their last six matches (shouts to Northern Illinois for being a part of that run). But ties in the last two matches have given the Golden Eagles two points, and that’s keeping them alive for a berth right now.
A quick note on the format of the conference tournament: Since Akron’s in the league now, there are 12 teams split in two divisions and eight of them qualify for the conference tournament. The two division winners — currently Georgetown and Xavier with 16 and 12 points respectively, but that can change on Saturday — get the #1 and #2 seeds, and the rest of the field is set by the six best point totals in league play.
Spots #3 through #7 are out of reach for Marquette right now, as Creighton and Akron are sitting on 10 points and Marquette has just five. However, eighth place Seton Hall has seven points, and a win by the Golden Eagles would give them three points and move their total to eight, thereby surpassing the Pirates.
But Marquette will still need help if they beat Georgetown.
They will still need:
- Seton Hall to lose at home to Providence. MU did not play the Pirates this season because of divisional play, so it’s best to presume that the tiebreakers will not go in MU’s favor with a SHU draw and eight points.
- Villanova and DePaul to go to a draw in Chicago. The Wildcats and the Blue Demons also have five points right now, so a win by either side in this match moves them to eight points as well. Marquette and DePaul tied and MU didn’t play Villanova. Again, subjecting things to the whims of tiebreakers is probably not the best idea.
- Butler to lose or go to a draw against Akron. The Bulldogs have six points and Marquette can not advance if they get to nine. Seven on a draw would be fine.
All three matches will be happening at the same time, as the Big East elected to go with the fancy World Cup/Premiere League idea of “everyone plays at the same time so no one knows what else is going on and can not make decisions about what happened in an already concluded match” for the final match day of the season.
That’s a lot of very specific results to go along with beating a top 10 opponent, but that’s what happens when you have the very weird season that Marquette has had. If they just scored against a shorthanded St. John’s team, or didn’t give Xavier a chance to shoot a point blank wide open shot in the final minute, or didn’t fall behind 3-0 against a DePaul team that refused to shoot after that and let MU tie them, or or or or or. You get the idea. It’s wild that it got to this point at all, and it probably shouldn’t have gotten here, but it has, and now Marquette has a chance to make it all worthwhile.
If they don’t, the season’s over.
Big East Match #8: vs #7 Georgetown Hoyas (10-2-2, 5-1-1 Big East)
Marquette is 2-15-3 all time against Georgetown. The wins were back in 2009 as the Golden Eagles picked up a 1-0 victory on a 29th minute goal from Calum Mallace and then last year, as MU upset the #1 ranked Hoyas for the program’s first ever victory over a #1 ranked team. The last seven meetings have been what passes for a good run for the Golden Eagles in this series as they are “only” 1-4-2 in that stretch dating back to 2016.
The Hoyas come in undefeated in their last three contests and with a record of 8-1-1 in their last 10 matches. They wrapped up their home schedule and their non-conference schedule on Tuesday afternoon in what turned into a come-from-behind 4-1 win over UNC Wilmington. The Seahawks scored in the first 10 minutes in that one, but it was 2-1 at half as Georgetown dominated play from there.
Jacob Murrell provided the equalizer in that match, which was also his team leading 10th goal of the season. That also gave him 24 points on the season which you are not surprised to learn that’s the best number on the squad as well. It was also a big day for Zach Zengue, who assisted on three of Georgetown’s goals against UNCW. That gave him four assists on the year and nudged him into second place on the points list behind Murrell with 14 as he has five goals as well. Marlon Tabora and Kieran Sargeant are the long term passing wizards on the GU roster with a team high seven and six assists respectively.
I don’t know who’s going to play goalie for Georgetown on Saturday. Tenzing Manske took the field for the UNCW game on Tuesday, and he’s played the full 90 minutes in two of GU’s last three matches as a result. However, Ryan Schewe has been the guy in three of the last five contests. Schewe has been the guy for most of the season, playing in nine matches to Manske’s five, but like I said, it’s been back and forth lately. Manske has a little bit worse goals-against average, 1.20 to 1.00, but he’s also played 55% as many minutes as Schewe, and more minutes = more chances to make your GAA drift downwards. Proof of that? Manske has the better save percentage, 72.7% to 69.0%. Ultimately, Georgetown does not overpower you in total shots attempted, and they do let in a goal pretty regularly. No matter which netminder Marquette sees, they should have opportunities to score, the question is just whether or not they can take advantage of them.