MSOC BIG EAST tournament hopes over after loss to Butler

Mac Wheeler made his first career start at goalkeeper

C.+Nortey+is+one+of+six+who+played+their+last+game+at+Valley+Fields+Saturday.+%28Photo+by+Doug+Peters%2Fdouglas.peters%40mu.edu%29

C. Nortey is one of six who played their last game at Valley Fields Saturday. (Photo by Doug Peters/douglas.peters@mu.edu)

Jack Goods, jack.goods@mu.edu

Marquette needed a victory against Butler to stay in the BIG EAST tournament conversation. David Goldsmith personally made sure the Bulldogs wouldn’t have the chance to meet Marquette again, scoring both goals in a 2-0 Butler victory Saturday night at Valley Fields. Marquette won’t be in the BIG EAST tournament for the first time since the 2008-’09 season.

“I said at the beginning of the year I thought we had the potential to be successful if we stayed healthy,” said Marquette head coach Louis Bennett. “Not staying healthy was a determining factor. Frankly, I think that the job we asked everyone to do was a little bit larger than we expected. When you look at it, (we had) four or five overtime games, a lot of one goal deficit games.”

Butler scored both goals in the first half an hour, making it a tough uphill battle for the Golden Eagles. Goldsmith’s first was a header at the center of the box, as he found space with a perfectly executed cut. He flicked the ball ahead of a free kick for his second goal, which just found enough of the left wicket to bounce into the goal.

“Everyone in the room is disappointed,” Bennett said. “The first 45 minutes, it looked a little too much for us. We looked a little bit stationary and we looked uncharacteristic of a Marquette team.”

Redshirt junior Mac Wheeler got the start in net for Marquette, his first of the season and first of his career. His only additional playing time came in August, when he played the final 22 minutes in a victory against Portland. Freshman Wicho Barazza had started every other game this year.

“Wicho’s had a fantastic season,” Bennett said. “I think he’s played great. The burden of responsibility of being the goaltender for our team needed to be shared with Mac Wheeler. Mac’s been training hard and I think he’s preforming well. I thought Mac played well. I don’t think he was at fault for either of the goals.”

Wheeler said there was little bit of rust when it came to timing issues, but overall he felt he had a solid performance. He made six saves in the losing effort.

“My teammates did a really good job of encouraging me,” Wheeler said. “It felt really comfortable for me to come in. They accepted me.”

Marquette will conclude its season Thursday afternoon at DePaul. Bennett said he hasn’t made a decision on who will start at keeper. For six players, it will be the last time they suit up as Golden Eagles.

“Knowing our season’s done now, it’s kind of emotional right now,” said senior defender Adam Hermsen. “Being out on the field one last time with these guys should be a good time. Hopefully we can get the result we are looking for and make a good game for the fans.”

News and Notes

-In addition to the five seniors that are graduating, redshirt junior Patrick Schulz will forgo his final year of eligibility. The 5-foot, 7-inch defenseman never saw regular season playing time at Marquette. It was the final game at Valley Fields for C. Nortey, Hermsen, Kelmend Islami, David Selvaggi and Brady Walsh.

-Sitting at 1-6-1 in conference, Marquette would tie last year’s BIG EAST win total (2) with a victory against DePaul. Marquette defeated the Blue Demons 4-0 in last year’s meeting.