Key men’s soccer players rested for USF

Usually when a team loses a game before a major tournament questions and concerns arise. However, for the Marquette men’s soccer team, the 3-0 loss to Connecticut Monday was just another bump in the road to go along with its up-and-down season.

After an electric win over Pittsburgh Saturday, in which Marquette won by its largest margin of victory under the leadership of coach Louis Bennett, the Golden Eagles responded with a follow up loss in Storrs, Conn. But Bennett wasn’t concerned with the result, especially after resting key players like goalkeeper Matt Pyzdrowski and Calum Mallace.

“In the big picture it was mission accomplished. We knew we got into the tourney and there were no more points to gain,” Bennett said following the loss. “We had some valuable playing time for some people who haven’t played that much. … We had to think about tonight’s game, but we also had to think about the big picture.”

Midfielder Michael Greene was actually satisfied with the result and does not believe it will have any affect on the team’s tournament hopes.

“We feel pretty good going into the Big East Tournament despite the result,” Greene said. “We are very confident that we will do well.”

Bennett rested some players to make sure that his team will be at full fitness for its first-round playoff game against South Florida in Tampa, Fla., later today. The last time the Golden Eagles played the Bulls down in Tampa they competed in 105-degree temperatures against a faster team but managed a 0-0 result. Bennett said that was in the past and now the team needs to just focus on preparation.

“We can’t become something that we’re not. But can we come together and … get that win? Of course we can,” Bennett said. “There is no need to fear anything now.

“Being a cup team means taking advantage of the opportunities and playing with a little bit of that desperation — that little bit of extra courage.”

Greene added that the Golden Eagles just need to stick to their game plan and make sure they keep up with a very agile South Florida side.

“They are very quick, and they move on the ball well, but this is something that we have come to expect in a team in this tournament,” he said.

South Florida is 8-3-1 since its double-overtime draw with Marquette back in September, but the Golden Eagles will have to be weary how they play this time around against the 2008 Big East Champions.

Keenan Flynn, who replaced Pyzdrowski in the goalkeeper’s position for the game against the Huskies, knows what the team is getting into since they have been there before. He said he’s not nervous and sees the game against the Bulls as just another Big East matchup. He feels the team is confident after hitting its stride against Pittsburgh.

“We know the conditions, and we know what we want to do,” he said. “They’re just another team, but at the same time we’ve played them and played well against them, and hopefully we can play well on Thursday.”