Last weekend, Marquette’s men’s soccer team had a total of 33 shots and 26 corner kicks over the span of two games. When the team played against Buffalo, Marquette earned 13 corners in the second half alone. But even with those opportunities, the Golden Eagles were shut-out 5-0 at the Marquette Invitational.
“It’s concentration in those final moments that we need to capitalize on,” junior midfielder Matt Stummer said. “It’s just a matter of focusing on that last moment and those last couple of touches before we score. We know we can play well, it’s just a matter of us getting the result.”
It will be very important for the Golden Eagles to find the results they need as they enter their Big East campaign this weekend against No. 5-ranked South Florida, last year’s Big East champion, tomorrow in Tampa Bay, Fla. The team then heads to Chicago to take on rival DePaul two days later.
But coach Louis Bennett definitely believes that the games played during the Marquette Invitational have prepared his squad well for the big weekend ahead.
“We are going to win with this group of guys,” Bennett said. “We are doing too many things right for it not to happen. But scoring goals can sometimes be an elusive game in soccer. But I don’t think we’re asking too much of this group to get it done.”
Bennett believes win, lose or draw, the experience will pay off as soon as the team takes the field against its Big East opponents because it has already begun playing Big East-caliber teams.
South Florida comes into the mix 4-0 thus far and has not lost a game at home since Sept. 21, 2007. Bennett does not believe there will be any extra pressure for his team but knows it will be a very difficult match.
Goalkeeper Matt Pyzdrowski is excited to play a team like South Florida, because he believes a good result will help propel the team’s Big East season.
“I think it’s huge,” Pyzdrowski said. “When you play a team like that first, it just creates great opportunity. We know we can hang with any team. It’s about cleaning up the loose ends in the net and putting the ball into the back of the net.
“We know our identity. We know what kind of team that we are. The last thing that we want is to go in there and drop.”
The Blue Devils lost their first two games this season, but since then the team has been on a three-game win streak.
DePaul’s last game was against Buffalo, winning 5-1, and in its last three games it has outscored its opponents 10-4. DePaul is undefeated at home this season and will look to use its smaller field to its advantage.
“DePaul plays hard soccer,” Bennett said. “They are unbelievably difficult to beat. Everyone will say, ‘South Florida is ranked, they’re so much better.’
“To go to DePaul and play on an under-sized field on turf is a challenge in itself. So this weekend we have a huge challenge. But it’s something I believe we will prepare for.”