MU Welcomes Villanova to Valley Fields on Saturday
Sept. 23, 2016
MILWAUKEE -- The Marquette University men's soccer team tries to extend its unbeaten streak to seven matches when it hosts BIG EAST Conference foe Villanova at Valley Fields Saturday at 7:05 p.m. The first 100 students in attendance will receive a free Marquette snapback camo hat.
• The Golden Eagles face a Wildcats squad with two wins over Top 25 foes already this season, having defeated both then-No. 6 Boston College and No. 22 Delaware on the road.
• Villanova holds the slim edge all-time against Marquette, 2-1-1, with three of the four meetings being played away from Valley Fields. VU claimed a 2-1 home win in last season’s meeting, which followed the lone meeting in Milwaukee in 2014 being played to a 1-1 draw.
• Despite a scoreless draw last time out against St. John’s, Marquette still ranks 15th in the nation with 16 goals scored through seven matches played. Villanova has just 10 goals scored all season.
• Prior to that, VU dropped its league opener to visiting 10th-ranked Butler, 3-2, in overtime, following an impressive three-match winning streak over non-conference opponents, highlighted by matching 2-1 victories over No. 6 Boston College and No. 22 Delaware – both on the road.
• The Wildcats carry an even goal differential on the year, scoring and allowing 10 goals apiece, but have been more impressive in the second half as eight of their goals have come in the final 45 minutes of regulation. Seven different players have scored for ‘Nova this season with Lucas Hodges (3g, 1a) and Padraic McCullaugh (2g, 1a) serving as the only players to find the back of the net more than once.
• In net, Will Steiner claims all seven decisions for Villanova entering play on Saturday with a 1.36 goals against average and 30 saves on a .750 save percentage.
• Marquette has logged huge minutes of late, which can pose a challenge for any squad much less one that features 13 newcomers. After scoring four goals in three straight matches, MU has managed just four goals in its last three matches combined.
• MU goalkeeper Luis Barraza stopped all seven shots that came his way en route to his first shutout of the season and fifth clean sheet of his career. He was named BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the week for his performance, the second time in his career earning the honor.
• Last season’s match-up at Villanova produced disappointing results for the Golden Eagles, who took a 1-0 first half lead on C. Nortey’s 40th minute tally before the Wildcats stormed back with scores in the 45th and 78th minutes for the win. Lucas Hodges got the ‘Cats on the board with just 40 seconds remaining in the first half to send the match to a 1-1 tie at the break, while Sean Sheridan gave his team a lead it would not relinquish. ‘Nova held an 18-15 lead in shots with a 9-2 advantage in shots on goal.
• Barraza has made 17 saves through four starts this season, posting a 1-1-2 record with a .708 save percentage in the process. He and Wheeler have each recorded a shutout on the year and led Marquette to a six-match unbeaten streak entering Saturday’s contest vs. Villanova.
• Offensively, it’s the first time since 1993 that a Marquette squad has registered three or more goals in four of the team’s first seven matches.
• MU leads the BIG EAST and ranks 15th-nationally with 16 goals scored and a 2.29 goals per game average. MU has five players with two or more goals this season after having just three all of last year.
• The scoreless draw also marked the sixth shutout in league opener for Marquette since 2009, including five consecutive, with a goal differential of 10-2.
• Prpa was the first MU player in program history to register back-to-back six-point efforts, doing so in wins over NIU (Aug. 29) and UIC (Sept. 2). He was awarded National Player of the Week by the NSCAA and Top Drawer Soccer, while also being included in three National Team of the Week listings.
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