SPRING UPDATE: Men’s soccer confident heading into final spring tuneup

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Photo by Jordan Johnson

Josh Coan is one of the latest players to transfer in to the men’s soccer program. Coan came from the University of Pittsburgh.

While junior goalkeeper Luis Barraza realizes it’s only the end of the spring season, he’s already zeroed in on a goal for next season.

“(Making the BIG EAST Tournament) is something that we must do. This year is kind of make-or-break,” Barraza said. “It’s that little thing that I haven’t been able to do, or the team hasn’t been able to do as long as I’ve been here. We need to make it no matter how.”

The team ended last season in a heartbreaking 3-1 loss to DePaul, which kept them out of the BIG EAST Tournament.

“Since the start of the spring season, we’ve just been focusing on what’s happening now and what’s going to happen in the future,” Barraza continued. “Coach Bennett said ‘let’s forget those battle scares (from last season), they’re done and over with and we have new guys, new mentalities and we are definitely not looking back at all.'”

Men’s soccer head coach Louis Bennett says the team is confident heading into the final spring game of the season.

“Practice has been at times a lot more fierce,” Bennett said. “They still are good guys when they come and leave, but during practice, they’re beginning to have a lot more of a competitive edge.”

The offense has seemed to find its groove, scoring 19 times and only conceding six goals. That’s also a vast improvement defensively from last season, in which Marquette gave up 33 goals and opponents averaged 2.06 goals per game.

A quartet of scorers led the offense for Marquette, each scoring four goals apiece: sophomore forward Luka Prpa, sophomore midfielder Connor Alba, junior forward Diego Nunez and freshman forward Lukas Sunesson. Three players – Alba, Nunez and Sunesson – have registered hat tricks in three separate games.

Newcomers have made a sizable difference in the shape and style of play, according to junior goalkeeper Luis Barraza.

“The guys that have come in – Leo (Villa), Allan (Salmeron) and Lukas – have really, really earned and played a lot of minutes lately,” Barraza said. “They’ve really contributed to the team and to the culture of the team.”

The development of the back line has been one of the biggest adjustments since last year.. Both Barraza and Bennett have seen a dramatic improvement since the end of the fall season.

“Last season, I believe our back line was just so inconsistent in the way that we played and it felt like at times, it was brought together in an an instant,” Barazza said. “I think this year, we know each other better. Patrick (Seagrist), Steffen (Bohm) and Ruben Sanchez are all on the same page and more experienced. Leo Villa has barely came in this semester and he plays really rough and tough which is great and he’s done his part too.”

 

Marquette will play semi-professional side Milwaukee Torrent Sunday afternoon at the Valley Fields Dome. It will be the final spring tuneup game before the semester ends.