Andy Hufatlin and Adam Lysak are both in their fourth years as players for head coach Louis Bennett’s Marquette team. They were members of the 2009 team that won three games the whole season.
Off the bench, Huftalin scored two goals and Lysak had a goal and an assist on Saturday night, fueling Marquette’s 3-2 win against then-No. 2 Connecticut at Valley Fields. The Huskies were the highest ranked team Marquette has ever beaten, and the victory was a bit of redemption for the hosts. Connecticut beat the Golden Eagles 3-0 last season in Storrs, in a game in which Marquette could have clinched the Big East Blue Division with a victory.
The 11-0-0 Golden Eagles are now ranked No. 3 in the country by College Soccer News, and No. 4 by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
“The mentality here has changed,” Lysak said. “We see our full potential, and I don’t know if we even see that yet. We can see what we can become, and that’s what we’re striving for every day.”
Lysak, a redshirt junior midfielder, opened the scoring in the 32nd minute on Saturday night. Sophomore winger Sebastian Jansson crossed a ball into the box from the left wing, which sophomore Kelmend Islami controlled, and rolled onto Lysak’s right foot 18 yards from goal.
Bennett said Lysak’s performance was “one of the best of the year,” and also lauded his senior forward, Huftalin, who was named to College Soccer News’ national team of the week.
Huftalin’s first goal came eight minutes after Lysak’s opener, when freshman right back Adam Hermsen forced a turnover on Connecticut’s left wing, gained possession and crossed to the near post where Huftalin slid to put the ball into the far post.
“My role is to work my butt off and get in the front post and score goals,” Huftalin said. “That is my job description.”
Jossimer Sanchez scored in the 71st minute for Connecticut to make the score 2-1, but in the process broke his leg after a colliding with Marquette redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Charlie Lyon. Sanchez was taken off in an ambulance after about 10 minutes of treatment on the field.
“The lads got everyone together, and by the time I got everyone together, I told them the referee is going to blow the whistle and the game is going to begin,” Bennett said. “We play a competitive sport, and unfortunately accidents happen and sometimes bad things can happen through injury.”
Lyon visited Sanchez in the hospital on Sunday, where Sanchez has undergone two surgeries and will return to Connecticut on Tuesday.
Huftalin struck again in the 82nd. Lysak created space on the right wing, and his low cross was met by Huftalin at the near post, yet again, where he slotted it in the far post to make the score 3-1.
“At halftime,” Lysak said, “Hufty told me to just play the near post, he’ll get there, and to make sure that I find him.”
“I’m so happy for them,” Bennett said of Lysak and Huftalin. “Anyone that’s willing to put in that much effort, and that much determination, and be that loyal, and put themselves in a situation to be successful, whether they start or come off the bench, that’s part of our culture we’ve tried to develop.”
Connecticut midfielder Adria Beso scored with 40 seconds left in the game to make the score 3-2, but Marquette held the Huskies off to secure the victory.
“We were pretty psyched about this game, and we came out firing,” Huftalin said. “We really put it to them, and this just goes to show how talented a team we are and what we can do to the team around us.”
Marquette doesn’t have too much time to be content with the victory, though. The team hosts the Huskies of Northern Illinois on Tuesday night at Valley Fields, in what will be its last non-conference game of the season.