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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Men’s soccer check-in: Injuries force players into new roles

Photo by Brian Georgeson
Daniel Szczepanek scored two goals in Marquette’s 4-2 win over Seton Hall Saturday.

The transient nature of the men’s soccer roster of the past few years means Marquette is in the same position this spring as it was last, working plenty of new pieces into major roles on the team.

Jan Maertins, Toby Howell, Ben Tweedie, Anton von Hoffacker and Kees Westra left the program, while Nick Parianos opted to forgo his final year of eligibility to start his post-collegiate life.

That means there are seven newcomers for the Golden Eagles, increasing the importance of the spring season to work out the kinks before next fall.

“We knew the spring would be a discovery,” head coach Louis Bennett said. “We’re seeing what they can and cannot do.”

Marquette traditionally brings in fresh faces in the spring semester to get a better idea of their skill sets, but this year injuries have meant Bennett is thankful he at least has enough bodies to play.

Ruben Sanchez, Luka Prpa, Cade Dombrowski and Brody Kraussel have all missed time. Martin Alba suffered an injury Saturday and left on crutches with his leg wrapped. It’s been difficult to find consistency and help players understand the role they’ll be playing once the regular season begins.

“As we get one guy back, we seem to get one or two out,” Bennett said.

“It’s hard to adapt to,” defenseman Patrick Seagrist said. “Versus Green Bay we played five in the back, then the next game four in the back due to injury.”

The lack of players forced Marquette to play graduating seniors in the spring for the first time and play players out of position. Marquette even had to suit up goalie Wicho Barraza as a regular position player on the bench. Thankfully, Marquette didn’t need to sub him into the game.

“He would have played at the back I think, but he thinks he’s a center forward,” Bennett said jokingly.

There are some silver linings to the lack of depth. First, it means the players need to be in shape. That’s especially important in outings like Saturday, when the team played two 60 minute scrimmages in a row. It also helps the team tactically, as players learn Bennett’s system.

“It’s helped us understand the game and problem solve,” forward Daniel Szczepanek said. “Coach B. talked about that a lot with us. We need to problem solve on our own.”

Bennett said the team had mixed results in the spring schedule so far, which includes matches against Northwestern, Loyola University Chicago, UW-Green Bay and UW-Parkside. The Golden Eagles have two games remaining, an April 22 meeting with UW-Milwaukee and an April 30 matchup with the Milwaukee Torrent of the National Premiere Soccer League.

Bennett has plenty of work ahead as he tries to get the program back on track. Marquette has missed the BIG EAST Tournament the past two seasons, winning a combined 10 games during that span.

“I think we’re a work in progress,” Bennett said. “It’s character building. … We have to get positives and see the positives for what it is.”

“We’ve had a lot of good blue prints in the past,” Szczepanek said. “We’ve had a winning culture here. I still believe we have that winning culture. … I still think we have great players and the players to do the job.”

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