Men’s soccer controls postseason future

Sophomore midfielder Calum Mallace (5) continues his breakout season for the Golden Eagles. He leads the team in points (six) and shots (41).
Sophomore midfielder Calum Mallace (5) continues his breakout season for the Golden Eagles. He leads the team in points (six) and shots (41).

Saturday night was filled with many firsts for the Marquette men’s soccer team.

The 1-0 victory over Georgetown Saturday was the team’s first victory in five meetings and was the first time the Golden Eagles earned two Big East victories in a single season. The goal, which came in the 29th minute, was also Marquette’s earliest goal of the season and its only first half goal.

With the victory, the Golden Eagles’ Big East Tournament hopes are firmly in their own hands.

“It was crazy at times, but I was really happy that we got one today,” defender Matt Stummer said. “We all fought hard, and we all played really well.”

Even in the coldest conditions, the pace on the field was heated and high-paced. The Hoyas put Marquette up against the wall early on with crisp passing and precise through-balls, however it was the Golden Eagles who drew first blood with a Calum Mallace goal after a half hour.

“It was a great game,” Mallace said. “Both teams created chances. But we definitely created the better ones, and we put one goal in, and that’s what counts.

“Not one of my best goals, but it was a goal nonetheless.”

The goal was Mallace’s third on the season and the fourth of his career, all of which were game-winning goals. Also, every time Mallace has scored in a game, the opposition has never been able to respond with a goal of its own.

There was one moment during the game, however, that was not a first for the Golden Eagles. Coach Louis Bennett earned his second yellow card as Marquette’s coach after launching into a tirade against the head referee when Mallace was not awarded a penalty after what looked like a foul in the box.

“When are you guys going to get it right?” Bennett screamed from the touchline. “It is a foul. It is a foul!”

Eventually, Bennett calmed down, but he was still not pleased with the way the game was officiated.

“I’m a little fired up,” Bennett said after the match. “The referee got me a little off-kilter. I just want officials to be at their best. And I think I bubbled over a little bit.

“We have the benefit of tape, and we are going to see another penalty that has not been called. I just want the referee’s to be a little edgier, and I thought they were too comfortable.”

The Golden Eagles now sit fifth in the Blue Division standings of the Big East. And while the team is a long shot to catch fourth placed team Notre Dame, the Golden Eagles have a chance to make it to the tournament as long as they beat Providence and Pittsburgh, who have only two Big East wins between them.

But the team must travel to Madison first to take on the Badgers Wednesday.

“We take the losses pretty hard. We have not been in this position,” Bennett said. “So everything is new to us. Until we get experience, I can’t tell you how we will act.”