Men’s soccer’s weak ending to a solid spring

Just two minutes after the Marquette men's soccer team trudged back out onto the pitch Saturday morning, sophomore midfielder Hector Navarro crossed the ball to Nick Kay who knocked it in for the go-ahead goal. Five minutes after that the Wisconsin D-I Cup was cancelled due to weather.

Matches were scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Saturday at Valley Fields, with Marquette to take on Wisconsin and Wisconsin-Milwaukee to take on Wisconsin-Green Bay. The two matches lasted about 15 minutes before lightning first forced play to be delayed.

The teams are not planning to schedule any make-up games, spelling the end of the spring exhibition season for the Golden Eagles.

Although the team found mixed results in the win and loss columns this spring, players said they felt they were taking definite steps in the right direction.

Junior goalkeeper Matt Pyzdrowski said the team's additional time spent in the weight room has translated to greater physicality but a reduction in fouls.

"We're gaining muscle, we're gaining weight and we're not getting knocked off the ball as easy," Pyzdrowski said. "That definitely helps the frustration level, because in the fall we were getting knocked off the ball, and we'd get frustrated and then get stupid fouls. And that's not happening anymore."

"No one's beating us up anymore," coach Louis Bennett said.

This was evidenced by the team's defeat of Illinois-Chicago April 18, which came just two weeks after a loss in penalty kicks to Wis.-Milwaukee in the Bob Summy Memorial game. Despite Pyzdrowski's best efforts against the Panthers, missed shots by his teammates were what eventually sank the Golden Eagles.

Against Illinois-Chicago, however, Pyzdrowski recorded two impressive saves – including a mid-air deflection with his foot – that allowed Marquette to avenge a hard-fought 1-0 loss to the Flames in October.

Marquette's spring-season play is all the more impressive when considering the rash of injuries the team dealt with.

Freshman defender Paul Monsen (ankle), sophomore midfielder Scott Miller (ankle), junior goalkeeper Keenan Flynn (ankle), junior defender Tim Jallow (mono) and senior midfielder Dan Addis (knee) all missed the entire spring season. Sophomore midfielder Anthony Colaizzi also broke his hand against Illinois-Chicago, but was not expected to miss any time.

"Our trainer needs MVP for this spring," Bennett said.

The injury bug which struck the team has forced Bennett to move players into unfamiliar positions on the field, but he has been pleased with the results.

"Some guys playing out of position had some of their best games," Bennett said. "Matt Stummer was playing central defender. Tommy Lynn, who's a center forward, was playing right-back."

The Golden Eagles feel the adversity they have dealt with this spring, along with the talented incoming recruiting class, will allow them to finally live up to the expectations Bennett brought with him from Wis.-Milwaukee.

"How mature we are, the team growth, how hard we've worked this spring – we're trying to show it," freshman midfielder Calum Mallace said.

"We realize as a team how much we have grown, and it's starting to show."