Well, Marquette men’s soccer didn’t have the best Big East opener last Friday, losing to Creighton 2-1 in Omaha.
It also wasn’t the worst performance ever. While they went down 2-0 early in the first half, the Golden Eagles eventually slowed down the Bluejays’ attack long enough to muster up some chances of their own. They were able to halve the lead and they even had a chance to pull level right in the closing moments on a quite advantageously placed free kick.
While that’s a loss to start off Big East play, and Marquette’s first loss of the 2023 season, maybe there’s a lot of lessons to be learned from how the game went. Then again, the announcing crew on the match noted that head coach Louis Bennett wasn’t sure if there was another team in the country that MU could have played to help them prepare for the unique stylings of the Bluejays. Maybe that means that there’s not much to take away from the match if Marquette won’t play anyone else even close to similar for the rest of the season.
Maybe taking a loss last time out helps refocus the Golden Eagles as the season continues with another non-conference match on Tuesday, and one with a little something extra on the line…..
Match #8: at Milwaukee Panthers (2-4-0, 0-2-0 Horizon League)
Date: Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Time: 7pm Central
Location: Engelmann Stadium, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Live Stats: Stat Broadcast
Twitter Updates: @MarquetteSoccer
Marquette is 12-31-5 all time against Milwaukee, making this the 49th time that The Milwaukee Cup has been contested. Marquette gained possession of the Cup last season in the second highest scoring match in series history after Milwaukee had held it since 2017, somewhat assisted by no meetings in 2020 or 2021 due to COVID. While the series has been tilted towards the Panthers in the long haul, things are much more even since the late 1990s. Since Marquette took control of the Cup in 1998, MU’s record in the series stands at 9-11-3 after going winless in five straight matches from 2015 through 2019.
When Marquette beat Milwaukee to gain possession of the Milwaukee Cup last season, that dropped the Panthers to 1-5-2 on the year. They would not win again, going 0-3-6 in their final nine matches of the year. That means, with wins over Dayton and Northern Illinois already to their credit in 2023, Milwaukee is doing better than they did last season, even if that means they are just 2-7-6 since last year’s Milwaukee Cup match.
They’re also doing worse than expected, from a certain point of view. Not because they were picked to finish seventh in the 10 team Horizon League, but because they already have a 3-0 loss to Purdue Fort Wayne on the board. The Mastodons were picked to finish ninth in the HL, two spots below Milwaukee, and getting outplayed by teams that were expected to be worse than you is never a good sign towards your team being better than expected.
Raul Medina is one of two guys who have scored more than one goal this season, and he’s added two assists to hold onto the team lead in points with six. Asher Ozuzu is the other guy with two goals as the freshman from Minnesota found the net against both Chicago State and Dayton. All told, Milwaukee has seven assists on their nine goals this season, so that’s something that Marquette is going to have to keep an eye on.
The goalkeeping has been handled by Daniel Ibarra this season. With 11 goals allowed in six matches, that works out to a goals against average of 1.83. That sounds pretty advantageous for the Golden Eagles, as does Ibarra’s sub-70% save percentage. Marquette will have to keep in mind that the Panthers are still able to come out to a pretty even shots for/against average, so they can’t get completely drawn in by what advantages they get on the offensive end.