Can’t do better than first place, that’s for sure.
That’s where Marquette women’s soccer stands in Big East play after snagging a 2-1 win over DePaul on Thursday night. Was that the Big East opener for both teams, and therefore whoever won was going to be in a tie for first place? Mind your business.
This was not, at the end of 90 minutes, the world’s most thrilling game. To wit: Marquette scored on the third and fourth shots of the match, and those goals came in the 21st and 28th minutes. No, not Marquette’s third and fourth shots, the combined third and fourth shots. By the time the match was over, the two teams combined for eight total shots…. Which means just four more shots over the final 62 minutes.
Good news: Marquette’s defense was locking down DePaul.
Bad news: Marquette’s offense wasn’t getting on track… although they were up 2-0 so that’s not the worst thing in the world.
Let’s talk about the goals. The first one was a nifty individual effort from Taylor Schad, triggered by a give-and-go play out near midfield with Isabelle Cook. Schad scooted her way forward, and forward, and then went to the left until she shook the DePaul defense, and bang, back of the net, 1-0 Marquette.
HALFTIME | MU - 2 | DPU - 0 | We are at the half, so let's look back at our first-half goals! First, it was freshman Taylor Schad with her second in three outings. pic.twitter.com/ioVWWgQVFq— MARQUETTE Soccer (@MarquetteWSOC) September 22, 2023
The second one was also the product of a great individual effort, it’s just that there was a shorter amount of effort. Aeryn Kennedy launched a free kick into the DePaul 18 yard box, and it looked like maybe the Blue Demon defense was just going to let it bounce to Elena Milam, their keeper, perhaps at Milam’s behest. Except no one noticed Kate Gibson zipping in and behind the DePaul defense from the side. She collected and fired, 2-0 Marquette, less than 30 minutes gone.
HALFTIME | MU - 2 | DPU - 0 | Kate Gibson pushed Marquette ahead 2-0, tracking down a free kick from Aeryn Kennedy. pic.twitter.com/e9acpCQCIz— MARQUETTE Soccer (@MarquetteWSOC) September 22, 2023
For a good long while, through intermission, and deep into the second half, the match was a “yep, this sure is soccer” match. Things changed a little bit in the 85th minute when Marquette’s Molly Keiper deterred DePaul from getting their first shot on goal of the entire match by bodying a Blue Demon off the ball and also getting her arms involved in said bodying. All of this happened at the very top corner of the 18 yard box, clearly inside of it, and while DePaul seemed to be turning the ball away from the net anyway.
VAR confirmed said penalty, although that might be more about location than confirming the foul because if you thought it was a foul worth calling to give the PK (I didn’t, but I’m a Marquette homer), nothing about VAR was going to change your mind.
Lea Eisenring beat Mikki Easter to the left side of the cage, even with Easter correctly guessing that Eisenring would go that way, and the score stood at 2-1.
SUDDENLY DEPAUL BECAME VERY INTERESTED IN GETTING A SECOND GOAL.
There was a furious final five minutes of the match, but it never materialized into so much as a shot for the Blue Demons, and that was that.
And yes, the penalty kick goes into the book as DePaul’s only shot on goal of the entire match.
Up Next: Marquette is back at it on Sunday afternoon when they look to keep this Big East unbeaten streak going. They’ll host Butler for a 1pm Central time start. The Bulldogs moved to 4-4-2 on Thursday when they rallied for a 1-1 draw against Xavier.