I decided to brave the elements Saturday night and went to Valley Fields to watch the unbeaten Marquette men’s soccer team take on No. 2 Connecticut in what was the biggest match in program history.
Following the Golden Eagles’ incredible 3-2 win, I’m confident in saying this: Marquette will have three Big East champions this fall.
Both soccer teams as well as volleyball will win regular season Big East titles, some for the first time ever, and here’s how it will be done.
Everybody knows about the success of the women’s soccer program. The Golden Eagles are searching for their fourth straight division title and are three points up on Syracuse with three matches to play.
They are 10-2-2 this year and have not lost a match since a 5-2 setback against Duke on Sept. 9.
The Orange are unbeaten in their last five matches and have won four straight by a combined score of 7-1.
This weekend will be important for them, as they travel to South Florida – which sits just two points behind them in third place of the American Division – as well as Marquette before finishing out the regular season at home against St. John’s.
Marquette hosts St. John’s and Syracuse this weekend before closing out its campaign with South Florida at home next weekend.
In essence, the Golden Eagles need to beat Syracuse Sunday to ensure a No. 1 seed and a bye in the first round of the Big East Tournament.
It’s all out in front of the Golden Eagles now. When they beat Connecticut Saturday, it marked the first time in program history they had beaten the Huskies.
It was the first time ever that Connecticut goalkeeper Andre Blake allowed three goals in a match. He had allowed four total all season.
Now, Marquette will look to win its second straight Blue Division title.
The win put Marquette even with Connecticut in points in the Blue Division with nine, but the Golden Eagles obviously own the tiebreaker.
It won’t be easy for Marquette, however. Following a nonconference tilt with Northern Illinois tonight, the Golden Eagles travel to Washington, D.C., to take on Georgetown Saturday.
The Hoyas were flying high at 10-0-1 as late as last Wednesday before dropping consecutive matches to Connecticut and Notre Dame last week. Georgetown hosts nonconference foe Lehigh this afternoon before hosting the Golden Eagles.
Marquette has five conference games remaining, including three on the road. It must beat Georgetown and win one of two matches against Notre Dame at the end of the year to ensure it controls its own destiny.
Like I said, it won’t be easy, but this Golden Eagles team will get it done.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Bond Squad. Marquette improved to 5-0 in Big East play last weekend, but from what I understand it didn’t come easy.
Coach Bond Shymansky was reportedly furious in the third and fourth sets of a five-set win over South Florida on Sunday afternoon.
Nonetheless, the Golden Eagles scraped out their seventh straight win and remained perfect in conference play.
This is the toughest of the three sports to gauge because Marquette still has 10 conference games remaining. A lot can happen between now and the finale against Notre Dame on Nov. 11.
The Golden Eagles have already knocked off the Irish on the road and will host Louisville and St. John’s – two of their toughest opponents – later in the season.
Marquette does have to travel to Louisville as well, a match that should be very difficult.
Let’s say Marquette goes 8-2 over its last 10 conference games (a conservative guess, to be sure), that still puts it at 13-2 in Big East play. Last year, the Golden Eagles won a program-record 12 Big East matches and finished third.
This year, a 13-2 record earns Marquette a No. 1 seed in the Big East Tournament, which it hosts for the second straight year.
Ladies and gentlemen, we’re just getting started.