Freshman comes back from injury with eye for goal

For many athletes, recovering from injury can be a difficult journey. Many fail to return to their original skill level, but for some, they come back and prove their athleticism. The latter proved to be the case for freshman Adam Lysak, who scored the game-tying goal against South Florida Friday in his first collegiate game for the Marquette men’s soccer team.

“I was really excited. It was a big deal to me,” Lysak said. “I was nervous for sure. It was my first collegiate game, especially in the Big East and there is a reputation there. It was setting the standard for what I was expecting. It was a tough game.”

During the preseason, Lysak suffered two fractures in his ankle, which sidelined him for about five weeks. He then underwent various rehabilitation exercises to regain his fitness.

Lysak’s return from injury caught the eye of coach Louis Bennett who awarded him a starting spot against South Florida. Bennett was impressed with the amount of time Lysak put into his rehab and his precision on goal during practice, in which he put two solid shots past Marquette goalkeeper Matt Pyzdrowski.

“He is our most consistent striker of the ball on target,” Bennett said. “He is a goal scorer. He’s showing that. He understands the game. As soon as he started to heal he was working on the sidelines. His (high school) coach calls him ‘Dead-Eye’ because he is a dead-eye striker.”

And Lysak’s goal-scoring record in high school backs up the nickname. He tallied 23 goals and 15 assists for 61 points his senior season while helping Milton High School advance to the semifinals of the WIAA Division 1 state tournament. He also scored 32 goals with 13 assists in 20 games as a junior; the Milton High School scoring record.

But Lysak’s goal against the Bulls means the most to him.

“Once I saw it go in the back of the net it felt like the highlight of my career,” he said. “Especially after coming back from injury and playing my first game in the Big East.”

According to associate head coach Stan Anderson, what defines and separates Lysak from his teammates is his frequency at hitting the target and frequency at finishing.

“He keeps the ball well up top and then he turns and usually hits the target,” Anderson said. “Amilcar (Herrera) hits the woodwork and gives us a chance and he is there to finish and puts it on target. It was not easy but he was able to finish.”

Lysak has dual citizenship with Poland and is a member of Poland’s U-18 team after a  good showing during a tryout that was set up by a previous coach. If given the opportunity to play for Poland one day he would jump at the chance, but right now he is just focusing on school and the two games coming up this weekend.

“Our mindset is that we have to win these games,” Lysak said. “Not only is it at home, (the games) are three points for us in the Big East. We definitely feel like we need to win these games.”