Marquette Wire

Men’s soccer beats St. John’s in OT as Connor Alba nets last-minute goal

Photo by Maggie Bean

Photo by Maggie Bean

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Marquette was just 27 seconds away from having only one point to show for 110 minutes of hard-nosed soccer. Sophomore Connor Alba had different ideas.

With just 27 seconds remaining, winger Brody Kraussel delivered a cross meant for forward Jason Davis. Davis misjudged the ball, but it found the feet of Alba. The forward flicked it past goalie Andrew Withers into the bottom right corner of the net.

It was Alba’s 11th-hour shot that gave Marquette a 1-0 victory over St. John’s and a vital three points. All of the sudden, they got their first road win and a boost up the standings from eighth all the way to third.

“We really wanted to go for it,” Alba said. “(Davis) went up for the header and it fell to me and I was able to put it into the back of the net.”

The first half was relatively uneventful, as the Golden Eagles and Red Storm were locked in a mostly defensive scrum. Marquette failed to register a shot in the first half, while the Red Storm had four, including a chance to get on the board in the 37th minute when Andrea Previati’s volley sailed just over the crossbar.

Heading into halftime, the teams were deadlocked at zero.

In the second half, Marquette came out stronger, registering five shots. One of the best chances of the second half came when sophomore midfielder Luka Prpa dribbled past three Red Storm defenders and smacked a shot that forced Withers to make a fingertip save.

Before Alba won the match in overtime, he nearly won it in regulation. With ten minutes to play, redshirt senior Daniel Szczepanek crossed a ball into the box and it found Alba’s head. It then struck the inside of the crossbar and came out.

While he was unlucky the first time, Alba, who the Marquette men’s soccer Twitter account dubbed “The King of Queens,” was able to get his shot at redemption, burying his match-deciding shot.

Not only was the win Marquette’s first overtime victory, it was also their first clean sheet, which will undoubtedly come as a relief to a struggling defense.

“We knew we could figure it out, and we just needed to put all the right pieces together,” head coach Louis Bennett said.

The match extended an impressive shutout streak against the Red Storm. Since the formation of the new BIG EAST in 2014, Marquette has not allowed a goal to St. John’s.

Moving forward, Alba believes that the match could be a turning point for the team.

“Every win in the BIG EAST is huge, and tonight was one of them,” Alba said. “We are going to enjoy tonight, and then get focused for Xavier.”

With just four games to go in conference play and two matches against Creighton and DePaul, two BIG EAST cellar-dwellers, Marquette’s once-seemingly long odds to make the conference tournament became pretty plausible.

The Golden Eagles will have a week to prepare for their trip to Cincinnati, where they will square off against the Musketeers next Saturday.

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