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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: Team is ready for first Big East title

Calum Mallace (left) Eric Pothast (center) and Ryan Robb (right) and the men's soccer team will take on Connecticut and Pittsburgh to finish Big East play. Photo by Erin Caughey/[email protected]

No pressure, Marquette.

On Wednesday, the men’s soccer team (8-6-2, 6-1-0 Big East) travels to No. 1/1 Connecticut (13-1-2, 4-1-2 Big East) to battle for the top spot in the Blue Division of the Big East.

Marquette owns the top spot with 18 points while Connecticut is second with 14. Both teams have two matches remaining on the season, including Wednesday’s match.

With a victory or draw, Marquette clinches the top spot in the division — Marquette’s first ever. Its best finish in the division was a sixth place finish in 2010.

If Marquette loses, then the winner of the Blue Division will be determined in season finale.

“This is a huge game, but I don’t really look at it any differently than any game we’ve played so far this year,” senior midfielder Calum Mallace said. “Coach (Bennett) always reiterates how we need to take one game at a time. So we’re not really concerned about winning the league. We’re just concerned about getting a result at (Connecticut).”

Connecticut’s season finale is against last place Seton Hall (4-9-2, 0-6-0 Big East), who Marquette defeated 3-0 Saturday, while Marquette battles second-to-last-place Pittsburgh (4-11-1, 2-5-0 Big East). Both matches are Saturday.

“They (the Huskies) should be fearful of us. We’re the one with the better record going into this game,” junior midfielder Ryan Robb said. “They need to win this game. We need to win that game, but we also have the next game as well.”

The Huskies drew 5,100 people to witness its 0-0 draw to Georgetown on Saturday in its last home game, meaning Marquette will have to not only battle the Huskies but also the crowd.

“It’s going to be a feisty game and people are going to be at it from the start,” Robb said. “I’m just excited to play like the other guys are, and they get a big crowd. That’s why you come to these schools, to play in these big games.”

Marquette boasts the Big East’s third-best scoring offense (1.62 goals per game, 26 in 16 games) while Connecticut owns the No. 1 defense (.31 goals allowed per game, five in 16 games).

Connecticut freshman goalkeeper Andre Blake leads the nation in save percentage through games played Monday Oct. 16 and leads the Big East in that category (.922). He has 11 shutouts to lead the Big East, with seven being the second most.

“I would hope it would be a lower scoring game. When we the keep the score low we got a much better chance of winning,” coach Louis Bennett said. “We need to curb their enthusiasm. If they start getting on a roll and scoring goals, can we come after them? Yes. But I would prefer if it were a lower scoring game.”

Marquette tied then-No. 3 Connecticut 1-1 on Oct. 1 last season, but Bennett said it won’t be overly helpful because this is a different game. But it does mean Marquette players participating last year are familiar with Connecticut.

“Playing them last year we got some guys familiar with the way they play,” Bennett said. “They haven’t changed their spots. The leopard hasn’t become a tiger. They are basically the same. The husky is still a husky. It plays the same way.”

But don’t expect Bennett to use it in his preparation for the game.

“We don’t like to bring history into the present — good, bad or indifferent — because Marquette has not had a lot of positive history,” Bennett said. “But if I want to bring positive history in then that also means I have to bring negative history in. I don’t bring positive or negative history into our preparation.”

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