The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Marquette Men’s Soccer: Who needs luck? MU downs Irish 1-0

Michael Alfano (#21) flips into action against the Fighting Irish. Photo by Aaron Ledesma/ [email protected]

The No. 12/13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (5-2-4, 1-2-1 Big East) may have outshot the Marquette Golden Eagles (6-5-2, 4-0-0 Big East) 17-12 Wednesday night. But Marquette had the one shot that mattered as it defeated Notre Dame 1-0.

The victory keeps the Golden Eagles undefeated in Big East play, the longest Marquette has gone without a conference loss in its Big East history. It is Marquette’s first 4-0 start in conference play since 1997 when it was 4-0 in Conference USA.

Marquette sits in first place in the Blue Division of the Big East as the only undefeated team.

Notre Dame was the highest ranked opponent to play at Valley Fields since Marquette fought then-No. 3 Connecticut to a 1-1 draw on Oct. 3, 2010. It was Marquette’s first victory over Notre Dame since 1990, when Marquette won 4-0.

Notre Dame’s last game, on Oct. 8, finished in a 0-0 draw to No. 1/1 Connecticut.

“It’s just a huge confidence booster,” senior defender Michael Alfano said of the win over Notre Dame. “Just to overcome that Notre Dame name is a huge step forward for us. In the past the Notre Dame name across the chest has made some people think they’re a better team than us. And we just proved that wrong.”

“I’m elated about the victory. It’d be hideous for me to say I’m not wonderfully happy because we’ve beaten Notre Dame, and we’ve just gone 4-0. I am,” coach Louis Bennett said. “I say the irony of soccer is that this wasn’t our best game of the year, on both sides of the ball. Offensively we could have done better.”

Bennett wanted to see Marquette possess the ball better because often a turnover gave the ball right back to Notre Dame, letting the Fighting Irish in an easy position to attack.

“We had a plan, the plan didn’t quite work out so we ad libbed,” Bennett said. “We did something in soccer that you have to do if you’re a successful team and that’s take what you’ve got and work with it. And (Wednesday) we worked with what we had.”

Freshman midfielder Sebastian Jansson’s goal in the 16th minute, the first goal of his collegiate career, provided the game-winner. Junior midfielder Anthony Salvaggi stole the ball from a Notre Dame player on the right wing about 40 yards out and crossed it to the far post where Jansen flicked it in.

The goal came on a significant night: His father and brother were in attendance all the way from Sweden.

“It means a lot,” Jansson said of notching his first goal in front of family. “My dad has been my coach since I was six years old. He brought me into the game. I know my brother is trying to go pro over in Sweden and hopefully he’s going get some more determination from seeing me do well over here in America.”

Junior goalkeeper David Check posted his second shutout of the year and his fifth consecutive match where he conceded one goal or less.

“Check’s been terrific for us,” Alfano said. “He’s stepped up in big moments when we’ve needed him. Coach (Bennett) always stresses we have to bend, not break in big games like this, and Check held strong in those times that we didn’t have the break.”

Bennett called this one of the greatest games that Check, (sophomore defender Eric) Pothast and Alfano have played in their careers.

“Especially against a team like Notre Dame, it’s going to be a game where Check, Pothast and I will have to come up big,” Alfano said. “They had a lot of possession, they had a lot of attacks at us, and it was on us to just be strong and be that center point to hold everything together. And I’ll let others speak for me but Check and Pothast played terrific today. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *