Through rain or shine, all Marquette can do right now is win.
The Golden Eagles took down the Providence Friars Saturday in Rhode Island 2-0 with second half goals from central defenders John Pothast and Axel Sjoberg. No. 8 Marquette will head into its match against No. 2 Connecticut on Saturday with a perfect 10-0-0 record.
“I knew we were going to be really difficult to beat, but I didn’t know we were going to produce this many goals, be this difficult to beat, and be 10-0-0,” Sjoberg said. “To have a perfect record after 10 games isn’t really something you can expect.”
Against Providence, Marquette encountered some unwanted and surprising conditions.
“We didn’t expect to get there and have it rain all night and have their field be all muddy and torn up,” goalkeeper Charlie Lyon said. “So that was a little bit different than expected. So to show up with all this weather and show up to the field and it’s a downpour, that was a bit different.”
The redshirt sophomore goalkeeper was busier Saturday than he had been all season, making a career high seven saves in the victory against Providence.
Looking to counter Marquette, Providence was aided a bit by the conditions, which made it difficult for the visitors to keep possession at times. Sjoberg said the rough terrain and the style of game Providence played combined to make for a tough battle.
“They were playing very compact and kept it a difficult game for us,” Sjoberg said. “It was a difficult field to play on, and us trying to keep the ball a lot didn’t make it any easier for us.”
Head coach Louis Bennett lauded Lyon’s performance and said Pothast had a great game outside of just scoring his goal.
“The two giants today were definitely Charlie Lyon and John Pothast,” Bennett told GoMarquette.com after the game. “Pothast came of age today, and Lyon was phenomenal. He made two unbelievable stops and I was impressed with his organization. What Charlie did today, he really earned the right to say that this was a shutout. If he wasn’t in goal, I don’t know if we would’ve had that.”
Sjoberg assisted Pothast’s 59th-minute opener, which came on a free kick from junior Bryan Ciesiulka. Flicked to the far post by Sjoberg, Pothast met it with his right foot and poked it home.
Then, in the 72nd minute on a corner kick taken by junior Paul Dillon, Sjoberg rose higher than everyone else to head home the Golden Eagles’ second goal, the clincher.
The Swedish redshirt freshman has scored four goals in the last five games, and Sjoberg isn’t surprised by himself. He expects to score goals and has found a scoring rhythm.
“I just manage to take care of my chances and finish the chances I do get,” Sjoberg said. “I’ve been more efficient when getting the chances than I might have been before.”
While Marquette wants to, and believes it can, win every game, an undefeated start like this is still much improved from how it started last season. The Golden Eagles will look to continue this unbelievable run on Saturday against Connecticut.
“I hadn’t really thought of being in this position,” Lyon said. “I believe we have an opportunity to win every game we go into, but looking back I just think we’ve been able to put a lot of things together as a team, (at the) right time and right place.”