Men’s Soccer Wins Big Heading Into Big East Play

msoccerOn a chilly night under the lights of Valley Fields, the student section roared as the Marquette men’s soccer team cruised to a 3-0 victory over Loyola-Chicago. After being shutout last weekend by Michigan State, the squad looked to rebound. They did just that, clicking on all cylinders and getting the much needed three points.

Marquette possessed the ball for the majority of the match, rarely playing in their own end. This made for little work for a defense that played strongly, only allowing seven shots, and helped redshirt junior goalkeeper Charlie Lyon to his third clean sheet of the season. Lyon credits the defense for the shutout because none of his three saves were very threatening.

“Backline was huge,” Lyon said. “Only three saves on the night; none of them were particularly dangerous, so (the backline) did a fantastic job tonight.”

Winning the possession battle also played a significant role on the offensive end. After only scoring one goal in their last two matches, the offense needed some tweaks, the main problem being the inability to finish.

There were times in the opening frame that mirrored the Michigan State game when the Golden Eagles had 11 corners and 21 shots but did not capitalize. Both Marquette and Loyola were scoreless at half, but Marquette was definitely in the driver’s seat, controlling the tempo of the match and applying constant pressure. The team had seven shots and eight corners in the first half.

The same team showed up in the second half, but this time, they broke down the defense and tallied three goals from three different scorers.

“Piece by piece we dismantled them,” coach Louis Bennett said. “Today we looked like a mature team. We just kept at it, kept at it, kept at it, until we broke that coconut open.”

It was not long into the second half that Marquette struck. In the 52nd minute, freshman forward Coco Navarro intercepted a pass deep in the Loyola end. After dribbling through defenders with some nifty footwork, he passed the ball to a nearby freshman, midfielder Louis Bennett II, who hit a 20-yard shot that curled into the back of the net.

Navarro was at it again in the 65th minute as he unleashed a shot that a Loyola defender partially blocked. The deflection fell to a waiting redshirt sophomore C. Nortey, who put it home to double the lead.

The offensive pressure continued following the goal and in the 84th minute, Loyola keeper Tim Dobrowolski misread a ball sent over the defense by junior forward Kelmend Islami. Freshman forward Nick Parianos was alone with keeper but his shot was saved. The rebound, however, came to the top of the box where redshirt-senior forward Adam Lysak blasted a half-volley into the open net.

The offense finished with 20 shots and 14 corner kicks, its most corners in a match this season and second highest number of shots. Redshirt senior forward Adam Lysak, who started for the first time in 2013, believes the squad played well on both ends  and that was a major factor in getting the result.

“This the first time that as an entire team we had a complete all-around performance,” Lysak said, “And it showed in the score.”

The squad returns to action next weekend for the start of Big East play as they travel to Cincinnati to face Xavier.