ZACH HORRALL | STAFF REPORTER
“We are Marquette,” the Marquette University Golden Eagles sideline chanted continuously as the countdown struck zero and Marquette defeated the Butler University women’s soccer team with a score of 1-0 in The Butler Bowl Sunday.
This win came just days after the Bulldogs clinched a spot in the Big East tournament with a win against Creighton.
Co-head coach Rob Alman expected Marquette to come out tough on Sunday, but expected his team to be prepared for that.
“That’s the traditional powerhouse in the conference, I mean, they’ve won multiple conference championships in the Big East over the last decade,” he said.
Alman noted that they are a “big, athletic, strong, physical team”
“They brought that physical approach today,” he said. “We expected it to be tough today, and it was. I thought we [played] poor in the first half. I thought we just played into their hands in terms of rushing things a little bit, panicking a little bit and playing direct.”
Senior midfielder Sophia Maccagnone added that the team just didn’t seem to want it as bad in the first half.
“I think we needed to come out more hungry,” she said. “We were playing fine, we just needed to stay more composed and not lose our game because when we’re hungry and we’re intense, that’s when we’re our best.”
The loss was the sixth of the season for Butler, and third during Big East play. The Bulldogs now sit at 12-6-1 on the season, 5-3 in the Big East. Marquette captured their eighth win of the season, advancing to 8-6-4 on the season and 5-2-1 in the Big East.
The first half was rough for Butler. Marquette came out much more ready for the game and aggressive, too. Butler seemed caught off guard and spent a majority of the first half playing catch up.
Maccagnone believes there was a lack of preparedness for Sunday’s game.
“I don’t think, as a team, we stressed how important this game was enough,” she said. “Coming off two road trips, we weren’t really in routine and whatnot, so I think we didn’t really emphasise how important this was exactly.”
The only goal of the game, scored by Marquette’s junior forward Darian Powell, came in minute 31 of the match. Powell got a header sent her way and sent the ball past Butler’s sophomore goalkeeper Madison Card and into the goal with a header of her own. The play had a double assist from redshirt sophomore forward/midfielder Molly Pfeiffer and junior defender Erin Holland.
As the first half came to a close, Marquette had four shots on the board, while Butler had just one. Marquette had managed to get two corner kicks, and Butler got one. Neither goalkeeper had any saves in the first half.
One stat that became miraculously high was the foul statistic. Marquette had nine fouls in the first half, compared to just five for Butler.
As the two teams came out of the locker room and prepared for the second half, Butler put their heads on straight and started to play smart soccer. The team played Marquette with more aggression and smarts, but it wasn’t enough.
“[The girls] came out and played a much better in the second half,” Alman said. The first 25 minutes [of the second half] we were much better in possession, much more calm and much more composed. [We] created some good chances and I thought we were the dominant team in the second half, we just couldn’t find the goal.”
While Butler played a much better second half, they were unable to even up with, or surpass, Marquette. Marquette still played well. They were able to take control of the ball, but the Bulldogs did not shy away from taking back what they wanted.
As the statistics show, Butler played a much stronger defense in the second half. They only allowed the Golden Eagles to take three shots, and they ended the game with seven.
Butler showed considerable improvement and took four shots, ending the game with five.
Marquette also only got one corner kick in the second half, while Butler got two; giving both teams three for the game. Also, Marquette ended the game with just two shots on goal. Butler had zero.
Card stepped up and added a single save to her game record. Marquette was still able to keep Butler far enough away from the goal so that senior goalkeeper Amanda Engel had zero saves.
The most eye opening statistic of the game after the second half was still the fouls. Marquette ended the game with a remarkable 21 fouls. Butler had just nine, not even half what the Golden Eagles accumulated.
While the number seems staggering, freshman forward Paige Monaghan said the fouls were useful and smart by Marquette.
“Honestly, in the game of soccer, they were good fouls,” she said. “They were on counter attacks when we were going at the goal, so a foul got players behind.
“It’s smart, but we need to take control of that as well and have control when we can.”
The women’s soccer team will play their final regular season game of the season on Friday, Oct. 30 at home against Xavier University. The game, which will also be senior night, is slated to start at 7 p.m.