Marquette Men’s Soccer: Three defenders added to roster

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Eric Pothast. Tribune File Photo

Last season, Marquette had to deal with injuries galore having its depth pushed to the limit, especially on defense.

Coach Louis Bennett said the program has added great depth with this year’s recruiting class adding three defenders. They have added quality to the program as well, he said.

“Last year it was a bit obvious when we had a few injuries (that) we were a bit weak in a few areas in terms of numbers,” Bennett said. “We have a group that’s specific to our needs in filling a squad and becoming very competitive in training.”

This year’s highest-rated recruit is defender John Pothast, of Lake Zurich, Ill. That last name should ring a bell, as his brother, Eric, is currently a sophomore on the team.

There are similarities between the two, but Bennett notes John not only fills a need as a defender, but will compete for a spot on the field immediately.

“There’s definitely a need,” Bennett said. “He gets into the mix as a central defender or as an attacking right halfback. He’s a guy that’s going to be pushing. He’s got that Pothast toughness.”

Eric Pothast said he thinks top recruits like John (ranked 54th by are good for the program.

“I know the coaches are really excited for him to get him here,” Eric Pothast said, “and I think he’s going to do some good things for us. Bringing in some top guys that can help out the team is always a positive.”

Patrick Schulz played club soccer with John Pothast for Sockers FC in Chicago and joins him at Marquette. In high school, Schultz played everywhere on defense and in the midfield, bringing impressive versatility at 5-foot-7.

Bennett said Schulz is seen as an outside fullback in the end, though, as is fellow signee Adam Hermsen.

Hermsen, an Appleton, Wis. native, was described by Bennett as an “athletic specimen,” saying he’s extremely difficult to beat. His likely position is right back, Bennett said.

In midfield, Marquette adds Alex Behm from St. Charles, Ill. A late addition, Behm will bring competition to the left side of Marquette’s midfield.

Every year, Bennett likes to add a “diamond in the rough” to the squad. This year’s is forward Trey Dowling, from Delafield, Wis. A multi-sport athlete in high school, Bennett says Dowling has a competitive edge to him and won’t back down from a challenge.

“When he shows up and sees a lot of people that are polar opposite to him, short and quick,” Bennett said, “he’s going to say, ‘Alright, I’ll have some of that.’”

The position of goalkeeper wasn’t a problem last year for Marquette. But this year, junior David Check and redshirt freshman Charlie Lyon are the only two keepers that will return in the fall. So, they added two in Mac Wheeler (a high school teammate of Dowling) and Brady Walsh (a high school teammate of Schulz).

Associate coach Stan Anderson noted Wheeler’s unorthodox style but said he likes his athletic ability, comparing him to Check.

“Mac (Wheeler) is a freakish athlete in a way,” Anderson said. “He’s a bit spindly, but he’s really, really athletic and does do some things that are odd.”

Walsh stands only 5-foot-10, but Anderson noted his explosiveness and impressive reaction time between the pipes.

“He’s a bit smaller of a goalkeeper,” Anderson said, “but what he can do in the millisecond of time, is ‘wow,’ and often he holds onto it when that happens as well.”

Excited about this class, Bennett said he likes that all the players are local, from either Wisconsin or Illinois. He explained their recruiting philosophy using a unique comparison.

“We’ve held true to our recruiting philosophy,” Bennett said. “If you were to drop a pebble in a bucket of water, it splashes immediately, and then ripples out.”

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