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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette Men’s Soccer: Check and backline bond

Junior goalkeeper David Check posted six shutouts in 2010. He has one through 11 games in 2011. Photo by Aaron Ledesma/[email protected]

It was a goal placed in the “perfect spot” that stopped junior goalkeeper David Check from posting back-to-back shutouts for the first time in 2011. He and the Marquette men’s soccer team (4-5-2, 2-0 Big East) lost to a No. 23  Northern Illinois team, according to Soccer America polls, 1-0 in double overtime Tuesday night.

In the 107th minute, Northern Illinois freshman midfielder Jayson LeSeth threw a cross in towards the goal from the top left corner of the 18-yard box that hooked into the upper right hand corner of the goal, just past the leaping Check’s fingers.

Check said the only thing that could have been done to prevent the goal was to prevent the shot itself.

The loss negated a string of back-to-back shutouts. It immediately followed a 2-0 victory over Rutgers Saturday night in which Check posted his first shutout of the 2011 campaign after posting back-to-back shutouts his first two starts of 2010 and six that season.

“I think Check’s done well in some aspects. It’s tough to place any blame or any credit on a goalkeeper when you don’t have shutouts and lose games,” coach Louis Bennett said. “I don’t for one minute think the goal (Tuesday) was his fault, but it’s hard to pass judgment. It would be hypocritical to say, ‘Check’s been fantastic,’ but he’s been good.”

Sophomore defender Eric Pothast said Marquette’s backline has implemented what the coaching staff has wanted the it to do in the past two games.

“Coach has been saying to practice the ‘rules of engagement,’ which basically means that as defenders we don’t want their forwards or any of their attacking players to get their head or tails up and start feeling comfortable going at our backline,” Pothast said. “So I thought we played a much tougher, more physical game.”

Pothast would like to take positives away from the Northern Illinois game, but it’ll be difficult for him despite shutting out a top-25 opponent for 106-plus minutes.

“It’s a game of soccer and we play to win. To not get the win after that much hard work is disappointing,” Pothast said. “I’d say soccer is a game like that. You can play for however long, but if there’s time left on the clock there’s still an opportunity to win. Or in our case lose (Tuesday).”

Prior to these last two games, it’s been a battle for Check and the backline to find continuity. Marquette has used seven different starting defensive units since game three against Western Illinois, when freshman defender Axel Sjoberg broke his right foot at the end of the first half.

But the starting defensive unit in these two matches was the same — the first time that’s happened in back-to-back games since the second and third matches of the season.

“I love the four guys that are there. There’s good cohesion between us,” Check said. “We know how each other work. It takes a while to get used to it. It’s a great thing to have especially for the goalie.

“The communication is huge, between me, the backline and Ryan Robb, our defensive midfielder. Them trusting me to tell them the proper information — where people are, what to do — is big to keeping zeros on the board.”

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