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LOCICERO: Good luck beating that finish

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I almost feel bad for the Marquette freshman class.

Not because of the donations many of them will be forced to give to the university over the next four years because of some interesting new policies.

Not because they’ll never see DJO beat his defender with an ankle-breaking crossover in “The Best Student Section in the Country.”

But because they’ll never see a better ending to a Marquette sporting event than the one in the men’s soccer game Friday night that gave the Golden Eagles an improbable 3-2 victory.

Sophomore forward Sebastian Jansson’s bicycle kick that would’ve made Wayne Rooney proud found the back of the net with literally no time remaining, and the freshmen – and 1,892 others at a packed Valley Fields – witnessed a buzzer beater on the pitch.

I was standing next to Matt Trebby, whose call may have caused my eardrums to rupture.

“THE CLOCK SAYS 90! THIS GAME IS OVER! MAR-QUETTE WINS!”

I asked soccer aficionado Andrei Greska, who was calling the game with Trebby, if he had ever seen anything like it.

He said you can watch millions of soccer matches in your life and you will never see a finish like that.

If Andrei says it, I believe it.

Add in that it was a game-winner against a crosstown rival and some vindication after losing the last two Milwaukee Cups and you get the finish of a lifetime.

I began thinking of the best finishes to a Marquette sporting event I’ve seen over my four years here and couldn’t think of one that even comes close.

Jimmy Butler’s fadeaway with 2.8 seconds left to beat a ranked Connecticut team on the road on Jan. 30, 2010 was impressive.

His buzzer beater on the road against St. John’s less than a month later was even better.

But even those shots didn’t have the ramifications of Jansson’s goal.

This is a men’s soccer team that took a program-altering turn for the better last year by winning the Blue division in the Big East for the first time ever.

It returns many of its core players from a year ago, save for the departure of Calum Mallace to the MLS.

But Marquette enters this season projected to finish fourth in its six-team division, with perennial powerhouses Connecticut, Notre Dame and Georgetown expected to finish higher.

This is also a team that has, at times, had trouble putting goals on the board and beating teams it should beat during the non-conference season.

Nobody is expecting this team to replicate its finish last year, but Milwaukee was a team that Marquette should beat. If not for a hellacious gaffe by Panthers’ senior goalkeeper John Shakon that gave Golden Eagles’ redshirt junior forward Adam Lysak a goal with just seven minutes remaining, the stage would not have been set for Jansson’s heroic goal.

Milwaukee’s Declan Rodriguez produced some magic of his own with a firecracker from 35 yards out that could have been a dagger.

But this year’s Marquette team, at least for one night, showed tremendous resolve and wouldn’t be denied a result against a team that has been a thorn in its side since coach Louis Bennett switched sides seven years ago.

For the class of 2016 who missed last night’s match, you better hope Trent Lockett’s silky-smooth left hand buries a jumper with no time remaining against Wisconsin in December, because you’ve already missed the highlight of the year.

michael.locicero@marquette.edu

 

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