The Providence Friars spoiled the party as the Marquette Golden Eagles were celebrating their 25th year by honoring their alumni. MU was unable to overcome a 17th minute goal and lost 1-0 yesterday afternoon for the first time ever against the Friars. They had previously been 11-0-2 against the Friars and hadn’t allowed a goal in nearly 700 minutes dating back to 2010. That streak was snapped early in the game when freshmen forward Amber Birchwell got behind the MU defense on a ball played from near midfield by Theresa Durkee and beat Maddy Henry one-on-one to give Providence the first half lead.
The Golden Eagles pushed hard for the equalizer and nearly got it just eight minutes later when a long range effort from Emily Hess hit the crossbar. The Golden Eagles made their biggest attempt at a comeback in the second half when they had six of their 10 shots and forced Providence goalkeeper Shelby Hogan to make five saves. At that point you got to give it to the Friars’ net-minder for keeping the Golden Eagles from scoring. MU was able to create great opportunities to score but were just unlucky to not draw level against Providence.
Darian Powell, Emily Hess, and Eli Beard all made their impact felt with two shots each in the game. After Madden’s big game with two goals over DePaul, she wasn’t able to get a shot off against Providence. This is a let down because of how much the Golden Eagles have counted on her production in the last two games. Other than the goal, Maddy Henry really wasn’t tested and finished with two total saves: one in each half. Unlike Powell, head coach Markus Roeders seemed very calm after the match as he gave us his thoughts on the outcome:
As Powell struggled to find words to describe the 1-0 loss, Roeders simply stated that MU was unlucky to score goals in this one. Roeders doesn’t see a problem with how they’re playing, he just thinks it’s a matter of finishing off their chances. While I don’t completely disagree with him, I think you have to be more critical of a Golden Eagle side that has lost to both Villanova and Providence for the first time ever this season. Both being unexpected losses that will seriously hurt their chances of getting in the tournament. This is a Marquette team that had the share of the Big East regular season championship last year. They have clearly had some major setbacks this season and will have to fight hard in the remaining games just to stay relevant atop the Big East.
Speaking of the Big East, let’s take a look at the other results over the weekend. Georgetown thrashed Villanova 5-0 to give themselves a two point cushion at the top with 13 points. Butler jumps into a tie for second with Xavier at 11 points after a 1-0 victory against St. John’s at home. Xavier drew with DePaul 1-1 at home which helps Marquette a little bit. It won’t matter if MU can’t get wins though...especially against teams they’ve never lost to. They desperately need to reel off a string of victories now and hope the top three teams drop some games as they are now seven points behind Georgetown with four games left in the regular season. With the loss, MU is now tied for 5th with Villanova at six points while Providence moves ahead of them with nine points. Remember, only the top six teams in the Big East qualify for the conference tournament.
Up Next: The Golden Eagles will have a midweek bye and will welcome the Xavier Musketeers to Valley Fields on Saturday. Xavier is 7-4-4 (3-0-2 Big East) and is coming off a draw against DePaul. They have now had back-to-back draws after starting Big East play 3-0. The Musketeers will also rest this week before playing Marquette Saturday.