After sweating out a 1-0 victory against Northern Illinois Tuesday night, the Marquette men’s soccer team can bring its focus back to Big East play when it plays at Georgetown this Saturday.
The No. 2/4 Golden Eagles prevailed against a feisty Huskies squad at a blustery and soggy Valley Fields thanks to a goal by senior forward Andy Huftalin in the 80th minute. Marquette heads to the nation’s capital with an unblemished 12-0-0 record, including 3-0-0 in Big East action.
“It was a tough game to get anything going,” Huftalin said. “The conditions played a bit of a factor and it never really allowed us to get into a flow. It was a struggle for us for a little while, but we just kept barreling them over and over to start getting chances and finally, one good quality chance came for me and I took it.
“We’re another win wiser, but it’s now going to be in the past and Georgetown is going to be the biggest game, because it’s our next game. That’s our sole focus right now.”
Marquette was satisfied to escape with a win, but for coach Louis Bennett, the team will be addressing some glaring issues that surfaced Tuesday, notably taking 13 corner kicks without recording a goal.
“That was a little bit disconcerting and something we’ll obviously address for Saturday’s game,” Bennett said. “Every game’s a big game, and I knew that they (Northern Illinois) would come in with a certain way to try and destroy our flow, and I thought we did a nice job of not allowing them to do that.”
Georgetown enters the match with a 12-2-1 overall record, including 2-2-0 in the Big East. The Hoyas know how well the Golden Eagles have been playing all season, and Huftalin is certain Georgetown will come out with everything it has.
“They have high hopes to win the the league this year, as do we,” Huftalin said. “No matter what, this will come down to be a very tough game between two talented teams.”
Sophomore goalkeeper Charlie Lyon, who tallied three saves against Northern Illinois to notch his seventh shutout of the year, recognizes the importance of each game from now until the end of the season. Lyon will take the same mentality he has been using in all previous games into Saturday’s match.
“Every game I just try to show up and play the same game,” Lyon said. “It’ll be interesting to see what Georgetown tries to bring offensively, to see what they think will break us down. My job is to prevent that, but it’ll be interesting to see what they bring.”
Lyon already went back to watch film of his Tuesday performance and saw areas he wishes to improve in, but this early analysis traces back to his personal playing standards.
“It’s a pressure that I put on myself to perform to the level I’m happy with,” Lyon said “Each game I go in with the mentality that keeping the ball from the back of the net is my only focus, and that’ll be key for me moving forward.”
Bennett gave the team a brief recovery, and he and the team will break down the Hoyas today and tomorrow. Giving the players a rest after each match before resuming normal operations has been the preparation style against all teams this season, and Bennett sees no reason to break a routine.
“We’re not going to treat this any differently,” Bennett said. “Every game, win, lose or tie, we’re going to either suck it up or we’re going to enjoy those 24 hours and the next day we’ll go back to work.”