Marquette Wire

Women’s soccer stay atop Big East with 1-0-1 weekend

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Photo by Valeria Cardenas/valeria.cardenas@marquette.edu

Photo by Valeria Cardenas/valeria.cardenas@marquette.edu

The Marquette women’s soccer team tied St. John’s 1-1 Thursday night in New York before coming home to Valley Fields for a 1-0 victory against Xavier to cap off a six-game unbeaten streak and keep pace with DePaul, St. John’s and Georgetown at the top of the Big East standings.

The Golden Eagles (7-5-2, 3-0-1) faced their toughest competition of the year when it faced off against the Red Storm. The two sides battled back and forth, and Marquette controlled most of the game. Senior midfielder Mary Luba headed in a pass from sophomore midfielder Meegan Johnston in the 38th minute to get Marquette on the board first and helped the Golden Eagles keep control of the first half and into the second.

Coach Markus Roeders said it took the team a while to finally get into a solid groove against St. John’s.

“St. John’s is always a challenging opponent and even more at home,” Roeders told GoMarquette.com. “It took us about 20 minutes to settle in, but we played very well from there on out. (Luba’s) finish of (Johnston’s) cross was fantastic.”

The Red Storm answered when St. John’s defender Jesse Schaefer one-timed a rebound off the hands of Marquette goalkeeper Amanda Engel in the 68th minute. Engel came out of the net to punch out a corner kick, and was caught out of position when the ball went straight to Schaefer. While the goal did help the Red Storm get back into the game, it did not deflate the Golden Eagles too much.

St. John’s had more scoring chances than the Golden Eagles in overtime, but neither could net a second goal, and the game ended tied at 1.

Roeders said the result was not what the team wanted, but was still important for the Big East.

“It was a tough battle between two of the best teams in the league,” Roeders told GoMarquette.com. “As much as we did everything possible to win this game, we can’t be overly disappointed. We did earn a result on the road.”

Sunday afternoon welcomed the Golden Eagles back to Valley Fields to end a stretch four of five games played at home.

Xavier presented a different challenge for Marquette, as it is equally as physical as the Golden Eagles, and plays a grind-it-out defense which the team had not encountered much so far this season. The result was a slow start to the game with an inability to establish a solid flow for the Marquette offense. But halfway through the first half, the Golden Eagles got their scoring chances.

Johnston started it off with a shot that just barely went over the crossbar in the 27th minute. Two corner kicks in the 35th minute created two quality scoring chances. But it was sophomore forward Darian Powell who finally broke through in the 37th minute, when she rocketed a shot into the top-right corner of the net off a back heel pass from Luba.

With the 1-0 lead, Marquette continued to maintain possession, not allowing for many scoring chances by the Musketeers. The back line pushed forward into the offensive zone, and quelled nearly any attack Xavier tried. The Musketeers were not able to get many balls into the box, but when they did, the Marquette defense stopped any legitimate chance.

With the 1-0-1 weekend, Marquette enters into a four-way tie for first place in the Big East. St. John’s, Georgetown and DePaul join Marquette with 10 points. After testing itself against St. John’s, Marquette will once again need to show its nonconference play was a fluke when the team battles Georgetown Sunday.

Roeders said the matchup between the two squads will be one of the best matchups of the season.

“We know how high quality Georgetown will be,” Roeders said. “They’re a top team in the league. … They have some real exceptional individual players but really, as a team and the way they play, it’s a great matchup.”

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