Marquette soccer looks to rebound this weekend

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After a disappointing weekend to start the season, the men’s soccer team will look to rebound with a double-header at the Panther Invitational.

The Golden Eagles did not expect to start the season at 0-1-1, causing them to drop out of the NSCAA rankings. The team also fell to 16th on the Top Drawer Soccer rankings and 26th on the College Soccer News rankings.

In order to improve, one point of emphasis is restructuring the defense.

The defense returned all starters and added depth in the offseason, but has struggled thus far, giving up five goals in two games compared to the 17 total goals from last season. On many of the goals surrendered, players were behind the ball, so blocking shots and preventing shot opportunities is now a priority.

The team’s freshmen did produce a few shining moments last weekend. Freshman defender Jake Taylor had two goals in his debut, freshman forward Coco Navarro scored his first goal, and freshman midfielder Louis Bennett II had an assist.

But the veteran presence that was supposed to provide the team with stability has been missing on the production end.

Co-captain senior midfielder Bryan Ciesiulka is questionable to play this weekend after suffering a concussion in the Milwaukee Cup last Friday. As the leader of the midfield, his presence was sorely missed against Green Bay and could hurt them this weekend if he can’t suit up.

In addition, players like redshirt sophomore forward C. Nortey, who scored the lone goal in the Milwaukee Cup in his first game back after missing last season with an injury, and junior midfielder Sebastian Jansonn need to put the ball in the net.  There were many opportunities in last weekend’s matches to score, but great saves and an inability to finish kept Marquette from controlling the game.

Finishing opportunities is a must this weekend, especially against a seasoned Bowling Green squad. The Falcons posted 5-0 blowout over Malone and a 1-1 draw with No. 14 Michigan last week.

Drake, on the other hand, is in a transition stage and lacks experience. However, the Golden Eagles will need to play the full 90 minutes in order to avoid another Green Bay-type result.

The weekend begins at 5 p.m. at UW-Milwaukee on Engelmann Field against Bowling Green and then returns to Valley Fields Sunday at 3:30 p.m for the Drake match. Fans are encouraged to come early to Valley Fields due to the on-going renovations limiting capacity to 500.