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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Defensive back line frustrated after first game

Photo Courtesy of Marquette Images

Immature. Unorganized. Overly frustrated.

Those were the words used by personnel on the Marquette men’s soccer team to describe the team’s season-opening 2-1 loss to Illinois-Chicago Saturday.

Marquette started only three upperclassmen – two juniors and a senior – in addition to four freshmen.

“It wasn’t inexperience necessarily in terms of playing, it may have been inexperience for the event,” coach Louis Bennett said. “We were a good team on Friday, and we were a good team on Sunday, but on Saturday we weren’t.

“We were too frustrated. We needed a bit more maturity so we could keep frustration out of the equation. And you could tell it was a day of frustration – frustration from the officials and frustration for us not being able to put the ball in the right place, and that’s an immature team.”

Sophomore defenseman Paul Dillon didn’t see any difference in the performance of the underclassmen versus the upperclassmen to suggest that youth or inexperience were major factors Saturday.

“As a unit we weren’t good or as prepared as we needed to be,” Dillon said. “I think a lot of players didn’t play their best individually which led to our team not playing well. I don’t see inexperience being a big thing. We just weren’t well prepared as a unit.”

The defensive line consisted of two sophomores, Eric Pothast and Dillon, and two freshmen, Axel Sjoberg and Dennis Holowaty.

“As a leader, I think it’s (junior goalkeeper David) Check, Axel and Pothast’s responsibility to be the leaders back there,” Bennett said. “I think Pothast was an average leader, but he played well. He was probably the most effective. But he’ll need to be a great leader. And he knows that.”

In their first college matches, Bennett thought Sjoberg and Holowaty needed to “play quicker” and “play with a sense of urgency.”

The backline has to replace two senior starters from last year, Anthony Colaizzi and Matt Stummer. Stummer was the team captain and has to fill the void left from Michael Alfano, who’s recovering from a foot injury and is day-to-day.

“It’s a little different,” Check said of the backline without Stummer. “Everyone’s starting to acclimate themselves well.”

Check rated the defensive performance as “medium” after the opener.

“At points we looked strong and at other points we looked disorganized and a little bit nervous,” Check said. “We made some silly mistakes in the back, things we normally don’t do.”

What’s the key to improving?

“It’s just fine tuning things and figuring out how game tendencies work,” Check said. “I think we’ll have a solid back line all year. Just got to get past this first one.”

If not for a few mix-ups, it could have been a different game.

“As a unit we were tight in areas, but we just let a few simple mistakes get the best of us. UIC converted on what they should have converted on,” Dillon said. “But we have to do a better job of not giving opponents full chances like that and just give them half chances. Essentially it was simple mistakes that bit us in the end.”

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