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Diego Nunez plays integral part of men’s soccer on and off the field

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Diego Nunez plays integral part of men’s soccer on and off the field

Diego Nunez has come off the bench in four of Marquette's first five matches. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics)

Diego Nunez has come off the bench in four of Marquette's first five matches. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics)

Diego Nunez has come off the bench in four of Marquette's first five matches. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics)

Diego Nunez has come off the bench in four of Marquette's first five matches. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics)

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Senior forward Diego Nunez plays a vital role for Marquette men’s soccer, participating in every game and playing at least 45 minutes in three of the last four games, but he only started in one match.

As head coach Louis Bennett views it, Nunez is his “super sub.”

“To have a guy like (Nunez) is invaluable,” Bennett said. “College is a game that is so compressed. (With) so many games in such a short space of time, you need people that can come in off the bench and sometimes those bench players have to be (like) starters. Without them I don’t know if you can win a championship.”

Nunez came off the bench for Marquette’s first five games and put up the fourth most shots on the team. Against the No. 13 Villanova Wildcats, Nunez started alongside freshman Lukas Sunesson. Although Nunez said he prefers to start, he put most of his work in this season coming off the bench.

“I try to visualize myself in the game,” Nunez said. “(I) hydrate myself all the time, it helps me focus. When I am really hydrated, I perform the best.

Nunez tries not to over think either. The senior forward feels that if he does, he can get too nervous and feel too much pressure and not be comfortable in the game.

Coming off the bench has resulted in many obstacles for Nunez when he enters. One is simply staying warm while sitting on the bench. Nunez said he jogs about every 10 minutes during the game to stay warm.

Other players struggle to maintain focus on the bench, but Nunez said that’s not an issue for him.

“For me it’s not hard,” Nunez said. “When I get in I know how to play. I think I am more comfortable now when I get in. I know what coach demands of me, so I try to do it.”

Nunez’s intangible skills during games have also made him an important player. As a senior with two years under his belt, he earned the reputation of being a good teammate.

“There’s a thing called teammate,” Bennett said. “Everyone likes Diego. So that means he’s not smiling at me but moaning to everyone else. If he’s got anything to moan about, he comes straight to me. I love that about him.”

Nunez tries to help the team away from Valley Fields as well.

“Off the field (I try to) just create a good environment, always be there for somebody if they need it (and) not cause any trouble,”  Nunez said.

The trouble he wants is toward the opposing team’s defense.

“He’s really sharp, he has a certain something in the box that is a little unpredictably predictable,” Bennett said. “He does things that you think ‘Oh my.’ We used to joke that he doesn’t score regular goals, he only scores brilliant goals.”

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