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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Men’s Soccer: Road ends for Big East Blue Division champions

Senior midfielder Calum Mallace finished his final game at Valley Fields with four shots against the Cardinals Sunday. Photo by Aaron Ledesma/[email protected]

With one piece of individual brilliance, Marquette’s Big East Championship tournament run ended in the quarterfinals with a 1-0 loss to the No. 15 Louisville Cardinals (12-5-2, 5-4-2 Big East) at Valley Fields Sunday.

Louisville senior forward Colin Rolfe, a two-time All-American, received a pass from the midfield and juked senior defender Michael Alfano on the left wing, placing his shot past junior goalkeeper David Check for the lone goal of the match in the 23rd minute.

“We had one error, and obviously a very talented player, very good player, destined to play at a higher level, scored a great goal,” said coach Louis Bennett, speaking about Rolfe.

It was a tale of two halves for the Golden Eagles (9-8-2, 6-3-0 Big East). In the first half, the Golden Eagles created seven shots, putting none of them on goal. In the second half, Marquette again created seven shots but managed to get two on net. They outshot Louisville 14-6 for the game.

“It’s always frustrating when you dominate the majority of the play of the game and can’t finish,” Alfano said. “But that’s the cruel part of the game of soccer, and that’s what makes soccer unlike any other sport. You can dominate a game and still not win. We’ve been on both ends of that, and it’s frustrating. But you take what you have, and you got to live with it.”

Junior midfielder Anthony Selvaggi headed one shot off of the crossbar in the opening minute of the second half. Freshman forward C. Nortey had a look inside of the goalkeeper’s box but was tripped up by a Louisville defender — which Bennett thought should have resulted in a penalty kick.

The biggest difference in the second half was Marquette’s ability to maintain control of the ball, creating more offensive opportunities.

“We talked at halftime, and we settled down and looked to keep the ball more,” Alfano said. “First half I think we tried to force it a little bit. A lot of guys had a lot of adrenaline going in the first half and things calmed down once we got to talk. We were able to keep the ball, keep possession and move it a little better in the second half, and that changed the way we played.”

It also didn’t hurt that there was a new sense of urgency being down 1-0.

“We came out fired up in the second half, especially when there’s only 15-20 minutes left and all Louisville wants to do is keep the ball out of the back of the net,” senior midfielder Calum Mallace said. “So they weren’t attacking as much but that’s because we were putting the pressure on them, and we played well.

“It’s just that we were down 1-nil to start the second half, and if you win you go on, and if you lose you’re done. That obviously gives some guys some momentum and got them fired up. But as I said, not enough.”

With the loss, Marquette’s season may be over altogether. The Golden Eagles won the Big East Blue Division and knocked off three top-25 opponents. But Bennett said with barely a .500 record and less than 10 wins, Marquette’s on the outside of the bubble looking in as of Sunday afternoon.

“I think our body of work at the beginning of the year was not good enough,” Bennett said. “But if the NCAA has a heart, they’ll look at our body of work over the last 14 to 15 games and see that the only team(s) that ever beat us (are) nationally ranked team(s).”

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