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Marquette loses season opener to Kentucky in overtime

Daniel+Szczepanek+scored+two+goals+in+Marquette%27s+4-2+win+over+Seton+Hall+Saturday.
Daniel Szczepanek scored two goals in Marquette's 4-2 win over Seton Hall Saturday.

Daniel Szczepanek scored two goals in Marquette's 4-2 win over Seton Hall Saturday.

Photo by Brian Georgeson

Photo by Brian Georgeson

Daniel Szczepanek scored two goals in Marquette's 4-2 win over Seton Hall Saturday.

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Despite outshooting Kentucky and showing signs of strong play throughout the match, Marquette dropped its season opener in Lexington, falling 1-0 in extra time.

Marquette outshot the Wildcats 11-9 in the game, but an Andrew McKelvey goal in the 99th minute was the difference, as Marquette’s defense broke down minutes before the end of the first overtime.

Despite the heartbreaking loss, head coach Louis Bennett took away some strong points and is looking forward to their home opener against Illinois Chicago next Friday.

“There were a lot of positives to take away from tonight,” Bennett said. “We found out a lot about ourselves and we know more going forward. We did a lot of good things, right parts and places, and our depth showed tonight.”

Marquette could have won the game numerous times on the night, but the ball did not break their way. In the 38th minute, transfer Grant Owens received a ball from Luka Prpa and put plenty of power on it, but UK keeper Enrique Facusse did just enough to get a hand on it and made the save.

In the second half, Marquette relied on its midfield and forwards to press higher and try for a counterattack. In the 62nd minute, redshirt senior Daniel Sczcpanek hit a volley that went just wide.

Marquette had two freshmen start the match with Manuel Cukaj and Brendan Skinner. Bennett decided to go with five defenders in the back, which included transfer Steffen Bohm. The 12th-year Marquette coach believes that it could be something used in future games.

“I think they’ve done pretty well,” Bennett said. “We decided to have five in the backline and we played quite a few people as well, and we realized who we can play there.”

Marquette’s best chance came in the final two minutes of the second half when Martin Alba hit a shot from just outside of the penalty area that hit the crossbar. Kentucky could not muster a counter attack on the other end, leading to overtime.

In the extra period, UK dominated corner kicks, winning three in the extra session. One would prove vital as Andrew McKelvey pounced on a loose ball in the box and fired it past keeper Luis Barraza.

Louis Bennett and Marquette knew the chances were there for the taking, but in the end, the Wildcats made the most of the opportunity. While Marquette left Lexington with lessons learned, the Golden Eagles still felt that they should have come away with a victory.

“I say that no one in the locker room is happy that we haven’t won the game,” Bennett said. “When you come so close to winning a game, it stings a little bit more, and this one does. We will regroup on Sunday and be ready for UIC on Friday.”

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