Men’s soccer set for Big East tournament

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After a first round bye, the men’s soccer team heads to PPL Park in Chester, Penn., Friday to face No. 6 Butler in the Big East tournament semifinals.

During the regular season, Marquette (10-5-2, 6-2-1) required double overtime to defeat a feisty Butler (11-7-1, 4-5-0) that would not go down without a fight in a match filled with suspense.

Butler struck on a deflection off a Marquette defender, but Marquette responded immediately with two goals in the next two minutes. Late in the match, Butler notched the game up and sent it into overtime. In the second overtime period, redshirt sophomore C. Nortey netted the golden goal to lift the Golden Eagles.

The Bulldogs made Marquette’s tournament Big East run a little easier, defeating Xavier in their regular season finale. That result not only clinched Butler a spot in the tournament, but also kept Xavier from three points, which gave Marquette and Georgetown each a share of the Big East title.

When coach Louis Bennett heard the news, he said he was proud of his team for doing enough in the regular season.

“When the game finished,” Bennett said, “I didn’t say ‘thank you’ to Butler, I said ‘great job’ because of our body of work because let’s face it, it wouldn’t have mattered if we won the first game or the last game, as long as we had more points than everyone else.”

Entering this weekend, Marquette will have its loss to DePaul fresh in its mind. Senior defender Eric Pothast said it is common for results in soccer  like the DePaul game and they will tread cautiously with the postseason looming.

“With Big East soccer, like we saw this weekend, anybody can beat anybody, so we’re not taking any game lightly,” Pothast said. “Our mantra this year has been ‘our next game’s the most important game,’ so we’re just looking at the first game of the Big East tournament.”

Prior to Big East play, the Bulldogs had a spectacular season and were rising in the rankings, but when league play arrived, they fell apart.

All but three of Butler’s league matches were one-goal affairs, four of which the team lost. They had the same routine for most games and stayed close all game but failed to finish or score at all.

However, the Bulldogs recently won two consecutive games against Xavier, one to go into the postseason and the other Tuesday night in the quarterfinal.

Redshirt junior goalie Charlie Lyon and the back four will have their hands full with the Butler attack, specifically David Goldsmith. Goldsmith notched 12 goals and two assists in his freshman campaign. If he gets himself free or in one-on-one match-ups, he can be very dangerous. It will be important to pressure him when he is on the ball.

Marquette’s offense has been the most inconsistent part of the team all season. The line had a few successful matches, but only six multi-goal games this year. One of the multi-goal games was against Butler during the regular season, and with Butler holding a 1.46 goals against average this season, Marquette should be able to score two or three in the next game.

Action begins Friday night at 7:30 p.m. With a spot in the tournament final against either Georgetown or Providence on the line, it will undoubtedly be a fight to the end.