Men’s soccer takes USF to draw

The Marquette men’s soccer team opened Big East play in Tampa, Florida against the South Florida Bulls in dramatic fashion on Friday night, securing a point with a 1-1 draw.

Marquette came into the game on a three-game slide, though the squad held No. 9 UC-Irvine to just one point to close out the Marquette Invitational last Sunday.

No. 5-ranked USF struck first in the game as a would-be cross from Bernardo Anor deflected into the net off of the leg of senior goalkeeper Matt Pyzdrowski in the 30th minute to give the Bulls the lead.

The Golden Eagles were not the better of the squads in the first half, but coach Louis Bennett was not completely dissatisfied with his team’s performance.

“We bent,” he said, “but we didn’t break at any time”

In the second half, it took only 11 minutes for Marquette to break an almost 335-minute scoreless drought. Sophomore midfielder Amilcar Herrera’s bullet from the edge of the 18 hit woodwork, but freshman forward Adam Lysak scored on the rebound for a goal in his Marquette opener.

The shot was smartly taken, as Lysak stayed onsides from Herrera’s shot, then had to adjust to the miss and play it away from Big East Goalkeeper of the Week, Jeff Attinella.

“Natural instincts took over,” Lysak said. “I don’t remember shooting it, striking the ball. I just remember lying on the ground watching it go in the goal.”

Bennett was pleased with his star freshman’s performance.

“That first time out, one game, one goal,” he said. “You can’t ask any more than that.”

Down the stretch, Pyzdrowski had to come up time and time again for MU, but his biggest contribution wasn’t a save at all. Sophomore Paul Monsen was called for a foul in the box in the 90th minute that set up South Florida Junior Javed Mohammed for a penalty kick to win the game. With a bit of gamesmanship, Pyzdrowski was carded for time wasting by the referee, but the tactic was completely planned.

“I was going to take as much time as the referee gave me until he gave me a card,” Pyzdrowski said. “I could tell he looked a little nervous even before I took all of that time.”

Mohammed’s nerves showed, as he went wide on the penalty and the game went into overtime.

Marquette looked the better of the squads in the first overtime period, as an open Scott Miller header hit the side bar in the 97th minute. But senior defender Billy Von Rueden was dismissed in the second overtime period for his second yellow card.

Marquette held onto the draw when a late Bulls’ goal was disallowed for a foul, and the Golden Eagles left  with a well-earned point.

“If you can play away against the fifth-best team in the country,” Pyzdrowski said, “who can’t you play against?”

The team travels to Chicago Sunday to take on Big East rival DePaul.