Men’s Soccer looks to improve during Spring Season

Calum Mallace #10. Photo by Ryan Glazier / Ryan.Glazier@Marquette.edu

Last Saturday, Marquette sophomore forward Adam Lysak scored four goals in the first half of a 6-0 victory over the Thunder Bay Chill, a Canadian semi-pro team of the USL Premier Development League, in his first action of the 2010-’11 academic year due to injury.

On Saturday, Marquette plays Cardinal Stritch at 10 a.m. and Wisconsin-Parkside at 4 p.m at Valley Fields. It will be Lysak’s first game since the four-goal outburst and Marquette’s first home spring match since March 5, when it beat Bavarian S.C. and tied Illinois-Chicago, 1-1.

“Adam is a guy we really missed in the fall,” coach Louis Bennett said. “You can be sure that he will be receiving significant playing time this spring, especially after he scored four goals in 45 minutes, which is really significant. We’re hoping to get him back into full form.”

Lysak wasn’t the only player injured in the fall. As many as nine Golden Eagles were injured at one point.

“We had a lot of injuries last year, and it really hurt our team,” Bennett said. “So there will be some guys who were out for much of last season getting significant playing time this year.”

Through three spring matches, the back line has only allowed one goal, despite the losses it suffered from graduation and the fact that Marquette’s starting goalkeeper, sophomore David Check, hasn’t played yet this spring season. Bennett said Check will make his spring debut Saturday.

“We have a new back line this year because we lost (senior defenseman Matt) Stummer and (senior midfielder Anthony) Colaizzi,” freshman defenseman Eric Pothast said. “So we had Axel (Sjöberg, a freshman defenseman) come in, and he’s playing center back with me right now. So with the new back line we’re trying to just learn how to work together.”

Despite only being a freshman, Pothast expects he’ll need to step up more this spring as a leader to help make sure everyone is in line come the fall season.

“I want to be the guy who is making sure everybody is in the right position and knows what is going on,” Pothast said.

A consistent player for the team last fall was junior midfielder Calum Mallace, who led the team with six goals and 18 points. This spring Bennett looks for him to get even better than he was last fall.

“Calum Mallace made a huge step forward this year, proving that he is one of the top players in the Big East,” Bennett said. “Now we have a lot of people after him trying to figure out what he will be doing when he graduates. So we expect to see him step up in big games and keep moving forward.”

While winning games this weekend would be great, the important part of the spring season is to prepare everyone on the team for what awaits them in the fall season.

“The main focus of this season is just to improve: physically, mentally, technically,” sophomore midfielder Ryan Robb said. “And we get that in the amount of training we do. We spend a lot of time working out, at least a lot more than we usually do.”