Marquette simply doesn’t lose at home. Dating back to 2009, when the Golden Eagles won their first American Division title, they are 36-3-4 at Valley Fields.
Of course, Marquette is 56-16-7 overall during that time, but holding a strong home field advantage is one way to guarantee postseason success.
Should the Golden Eagles win their next five games, it would guarantee a bye in the first round of the Big East Tournament and host a second round matchup.
A win there would put them at 15-2-1 overall and would virtually ensure hosting an NCAA Tournament game for the third straight year.
“It’s challenging and mentally demanding being on the road, but there’s nothing like playing at home in front of fans and family,” junior defender Emily Jacobson said.
Marquette knocked off Louisville and Cincinnati this past weekend by a combined score of 7-0 and has not been scored upon in its last five matches.
During their six-game winning streak, the Golden Eagles are outscoring opponents 20-1.
“We’re becoming a real tight unit, and we’re a little more consistent overall lately,” coach Markus Roeders said. “We don’t give up a whole lot of goals so those are all positives.”
Marquette has demolished Big East opponents over the last three years, going 26-1 against the competition, with a lone loss coming at West Virginia last year.
In Big East regular season play, the Golden Eagles haven’t lost at home since Oct. 2, 2009, dropping a 3-1 decision to Rutgers.
As expected, the Louisville match was the more difficult game last weekend, as the Golden Eagles took 71 minutes to break into the scoring column before adding an insurance goal on a long free kick from Jacobson with just eight minutes to play.
“That goal was huge,” Jacobson said of her goal. “It’s important to get a second goal because it takes a ton of pressure off of us on defense and can open up the game a little more.”
The Bearcats didn’t give Marquette much of a challenge, with the first goal in the 10th minute from junior forward Maegan Kelly.
She added two more goals later in the game to increase her total to five for the year. It was a relief for Kelly, who scored 14 goals last year and seven as a freshman.
“I always come into a game with the goal of scoring, and today that definitely happened,” Kelly said.
The junior has contributed in other areas this year, leading the team with six assists.
Junior midfielder Kate Reigle has had a breakout season so far this year off the bench, scoring five times and tallying five assists. Reigle matched her goal total from her previous two seasons on Sunday to pad Marquette’s lead to 4-0 in the first half.
“My goal coming into the year was to beat my goal total from last year, which I’ve done already,” Reigle said. “It’s good to fly under the radar a little bit coming off the bench because it gives us another weapon on offense.”
While the Golden Eagles have had undeniable success in Milwaukee, this weekend will be different, as Marquette travels to Providence and Connecticut.
The Friars and Huskies are a combined 6-5 in Big East play and are 10-3 at home. Both teams are also in Marquette’s division and could make a run at the top of the standings by upsetting the Golden Eagles this weekend.
The Friars boast a win over Syracuse, which is five points behind Marquette in second place in the American Division. In games against Georgetown and Notre Dame, however, the Friars are 0-2.
The Hoyas and Irish are tied for first place in the National Division and vying for a No. 1 seed in the Big East Tournament.
Connecticut, meanwhile, has played a difficult schedule, playing North Carolina and hosting UCLA in a match that was eventually canceled due to rain.
“As long as we keep winning, we’ll be fine; the venue doesn’t really matter,” Kelly said.