Nine games to watch during the 2021 fall sports season

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Photo by Collin Nawrocki

Lukas Sunesson (9) dribbles through two Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville defenders in Marquette’s 4-3 comeback win Aug. 29.

With Marquette men’s soccer coming off a Sweet 16 run in the NCAA Tournament, volleyball appearing in another BIG EAST title game and the first women’s soccer winning season since 2017, the fall sports schedule is full of games to look out for.  Here are nine fall sports games to keep an eye on: 

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Sept. 2: Women’s soccer at No. 24 BYU (8 p.m. CST) 

Marquette’s first road test of the season will not be easy, starting with BYU. The Cougars finished the 2020-21 season ranked No. 17 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll with a record of 11-4-1. The matchup in Herriman, Utah will be a big test for the Golden Eagles, who return nine starters from last year, as BYU is 35-5-2 over the last two years. It will also be the first time second-year head coach Frank Pelaez will lead his team against a ranked opponent.

Sept. 4: Women’s volleyball at Ohio University (1 p.m. CST) 

Following a trip to Honolulu, Hawaii to participate in the Rainbow Wahine Classic, the Golden Eagles will travel to Normal, Illinois for the Redbird Classic. One of MU’s games will feature head coach Ryan Theis’ old squad, Ohio University. With the Bobcats, Theis compiled a record of 144-54, which placed him third in the history of the Mid-American Conference.

Sept. 11: Women’s volleyball vs No. 3 University of Kentucky (6 p.m. CST) 

Kentucky comes into the season as the reigning national champions. The Wildcats are No. 3 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Preseason Poll. A win against Kentucky would be crucial for the Golden Eagles’ NCAA seeding. The last time these teams faced each other was in 2016, when UK beat MU three sets to none. 

Sept. 12: Women’s volleyball vs No. 2 Wisconsin (6 p.m. CST)

Wisconsin comes into the season once again as national champion contenders as the Badgers return most of their starters from last year’s team, which made it to the Final Four before losing to Texas.  The Golden Eagles defeated the Badgers at Wisconsin field house in 2019 in a epic five-set match. However, they have yet to beat the Badgers at the Al McGuire Center.

Sept. 13: Men’s soccer vs Wisconsin (7 p.m. CST)

In 2019, the Golden Eagles earned their first win against the Badgers since 2015. The Golden Eagles return both of their goal scorers from that 2-0 win in 2019 in All-BIG EAST Preseason Team Honoree Lukas Sunesson and redshirt sophomore forward Christian Marquez. Of the 15 MU players who played in the game, eight are still on the roster.

Sept. 23 Women’s soccer vs Butler (7 p.m. CST)

Marquette will not have an easy start to the BIG EAST schedule, opening up against Butler. The Bulldogs were noted No. 2 in the BIG EAST women’s soccer coaches’ preseason poll. Butler has taken the last five contests against MU, but the Golden Eagles forced a double overtime match last season at Valley Fields losing 1-0.

Sept. 24: Men’s soccer at No. 15 Seton Hall (6 p.m. CST)

At the start of the season, Seton Hall was voted No. 2 in the BIG EAST men’s soccer preseason coaches’ poll. Other than possibly being one of the best teams in the BIG EAST and the reigning conference champions, the Pirates are ranked No. 15 in the United Soccer Coaches Poll. The Golden Eagles will have a chance at revenge against the Pirates for last year’s BIG EAST Tournament Semifinals 4-1 loss.

Oct. 10: Women’s volleyball at Creighton (1 p.m. CST)

Creighton comes into the season as the conference favorite for the second straight season. Last season, the Golden Eagles earned their first regular season win at D.J. Sokol Arena since Sept. 3 2011 when they swept the Blue Jays Feb. 6. Creighton then defeated MU 3-1 in the BIG EAST championship. This season, BIG EAST coaches picked Marquette to finish second in the conference.

Oct. 21: Women’s soccer vs Georgetown (7 p.m. CST)

The 2021 BIG EAST champions come in at No. 11 in the United Soccer Coaches Preseason Poll. Three Georgetown players — Kelly Ann Livingstone, Daisy Cleverly and Julia Leas — earned BIG EAST preseason honors. The Golden Eagles have not found a way to beat the Hoyas in their last six matchups, including a 3-0 loss in 2019.