Coming into Thursday night in Omaha, Marquette women’s soccer had scored seven goals. Seven goals in 11 matches. Things have not been going well for the Golden Eagles on the offensive side of the field to say the least.
For 45 minutes on Thursday night, that changed.
Marquette’s offense exploded for three goals in the first 33 minutes of the match, finding the back of the net on their first, fifth, and sixth shots of the night. Those three strikes, two of them from Hailey Block, gave the Golden Eagles a 3-1 lead at intermission, and they protected that through the entire second half to finish the game with that score and take three points for the league standings. Marquette is now 5-5-2 overall this season but a comparatively better 2-1-0 in conference matches.
As I said, Marquette scored on their first shot of the match, and it came very quickly, just 183 seconds in. It looked a little something like this:
15' | MU - 1 | CU - 1 | Hailey Block netted her first of the season in the third minute, but the Bluejays responded four minutes later with a long-distance strike to even the score. Kate Gibson also with a quality chance early. pic.twitter.com/xNnS9iJl1v— MARQUETTE Soccer (@MarquetteWSOC) September 28, 2023
Officially, that’s Elsi Twombly with the assist for popping the ball back to Hailey Block after Block played it forward. Unofficially, that’s the right post with the assist, but Block’s shot was geometrically in the right place to deflect in once it got past Creighton keeper Keelan Terrell.
Creighton responded with a goal of their own in the seventh minute, as Azumi Manriki fired away from a little bit further out than Block’s shot. Block got a groundball past Terrell. Manriki fired a laserbeam of a shot into the Marquette net past keeper Mikki Easter. Not much that Easter could have done about that one, and the match was knotted at one.
In situations like this, the question becomes “are these two sides going to calm down and settle in now or is this going to be a bonkers match?” For Marquette, the answer was “bonkers match.” There was a period of settling in, and then Twombly reversed the action on a pass, pushing it forward into the path of a teammate instead of knocking it back. This time it was right to Josie Bieda, and she made friends with the right post, too.
30' | MU - 2 | CU - 1 | Hailey Block and Josie Bieda with nearly identical goals off the right post and Marquette leads 2-1 at Creighton. pic.twitter.com/g0NUj7aOCd— MARQUETTE Soccer (@MarquetteWSOC) September 28, 2023
There’s a lot of echoes of Block’s goal there, to be sure.
That Bieda goal came in the 23rd minute, and it marked just the third time this season that Marquette tallied two goals in a match. It is the third time in the last five matches though, and that’s something that bears watching going forward.
Block’s second goal of the match came out of a situation that looked like Marquette was on the verge of fumbling a quality chance to put the ball in the net. A free kick from Isabelle Cook from the right sideline went straight in and landed right at Caroline Cline’s feet almost right on top of the penalty spot. She had a little bit of space, but couldn’t collect it strong enough to turn and fire with it. Cline pushed it away, and it deflected off a Creighton defender straight in front of Block who banged it into the net for a brace and a 3-1 lead.
39' | MU - 3 | CU - 1 | Block's second of the match pushes Marquette ahead by two scores late in the first half. pic.twitter.com/e1lq9nODOI— MARQUETTE Soccer (@MarquetteWSOC) September 28, 2023
Less than 33 minutes gone, six shots, three goals. A little bit of luck involved given the first two were at least slightly post assisted and the third caught a good bounce in front of Block, sure. But Marquette had an attitude of FIRE AWAY in this match, and that led to good things.
By the way, it’s not like Creighton was going to sleep this entire time. After Block scored her second goal, the two sides were tied in shot attempts at six each. When the first half ended with the Golden Eagles up 3-1, Creighton had the shots advantage at 8-6, and Easter had to make four saves to keep the Bluejays to just one goal.
That trend kept going in the second half as Marquette’s attitude turned into one of protecting their two goal margin. Was it exactly the right play? Well, maybe, given that you want to lock down a win when you’ve scored more goals in the first half than you have in any other match this season, but boy howdy if that didn’t lead to an awful lot of work for Easter in the final 45 minutes.
Officially, Creighton outshot Marquette 9-0 in the final 45 minutes. Easter made another four stops in the second half to bring her to eight in the match, which matches her career best, which she had earlier this year against Denver. That’s just the official saves mark, which doesn’t count all the balls played into the area by the Bluejays that Easter tracked down and secured to snuff out a scoring chance before it developed further.
Up Next: Marquette will stay out on the road for their next match, and they’ll be winging their way to the east coast. On Sunday, the Golden Eagles will tangle with Connecticut with a Noon Central time start on FloSports. The Huskies went to a scoreless draw with #11 Georgetown on Thursday night to move to 2-0-1 in Big East contests, so there’s a certain amount of importance relative to the standings attached to that one now.