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Men’s Soccer defeats Villanova in OT

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Marquette Men's Soccer vs. Michigan StateIn the 95th minute of the Marquette men’s soccer game against Villanova, freshman midfielder Louis Bennett II passed the ball to redshirt sophomore C. Nortey, who charged the opposing keeper, Andrew Weakly. With a small angle, Nortey slid a shot to the near post that snuck in for the overtime game-winning goal.

Nortey’s golden goal came in the first overtime period against Villanova Saturday. The goal is his second game-winner of the year and fourth of his career. He leads the team in game-winning shots and has the most goals, five, on the team this season.

Marquette only faced the Wildcats once before Saturday, back in 2007 when Marquette fell 1-0. The tables turned  this time and Marquette stole the win in overtime.

Saturday was the fifth straight match in which Marquette was involved in a shutout. It has been on both sides of the clean sheet, losing to Michigan State and Wisconsin-Madison, and defeating Loyola-Chicago, Xavier and Villanova in the five-game stretch.

Coach Louis Bennett said close games are stressful, but they speak to the quality of opponents the team has on its schedule and his squad’s style of play.

“We’re playing some good teams, we’re playing some very good teams,” Bennett said. “There’s an aesthetic quality to what we’re doing but the yin and the yang are it’s not a beauty competition and we have to get wins. Our team is working very hard to get that balance.”

Offensively, the team’s many shot attempts haven’t turned into goals. They posted 20 shots in regulation Saturday yet was unable to convert. Bennett said he believes low scoring is part of the game and is happy with the opportunities the squad is creating.

“If we were not making chances I would be a little bit more concerned,” Bennett said. “In our sport it’s sometimes rare to score more than two or three goals, so anytime you can do that, they say that could be looked at as a luxury having that much gap between the first goal and the second.”

After neither side found the back of the net in regulation, the game headed to overtime and four minutes in, Nortey put the game away with a goal.

In the shutout, the defense blocked a season high of 17 shots with seven being on frame. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Charlie Lyon was the busiest he’s been all season in goal, making seven saves in the game. He recorded his fifth clean sheet of the season.

“I was a little bit busier than I had been in previous games,” Lyon said. “As a goalkeeper, you enjoy those games because you’re able to make these saves and you feel really good about your performance. But at the same time that’s what I’m there for, so I was glad I was able to participate and contribute.”

Marquette will need to fire on all cylinders this week as its toughest opponents are on deck with No. 16 Butler Wednesday and No. 4 Creighton Saturday. After three games away, both games this week will take place at Valley Fields, which opens its new stands Wednesday night.

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