Men’s soccer ends scoreless month, beats St. John’s 4-0

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Men’s soccer ends scoreless month, beats St. John’s 4-0

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics

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Marquette men’s soccer defeated St. John’s Red Storm 4-0 Saturday night at Valley Fields in a must-win for the team’s bid for a BIG EAST Tournament spot. The Golden Eagles improved their BIG EAST record to 2-2-1 and are now in a tie for fifth place in conference standings.

“This was a pivotal game. We asked our forwards to be better, we asked them to get more shots on target and to be more dangerous,” head coach Louis Bennett said. “I thought we looked really dangerous all game. (The forwards) all scored points … I’m ecstatic and really happy for them.”

Saturday’s win marked the team’s first victory since Sept. 15 against the Villanova Wildcats. Marquette was on a 428-minute scoreless drought since Sept. 19, but junior forward Josh Coan’s first goal of the season in the 41st minute broke that streak.

“Josh Coan was very dangerous,” Bennett said. “It was only a matter of time … Once we broke the seal, I knew we could possibly score three and we went out and scored four.”

“It hadn’t really clicked … Our finish or the final pass, but tonight it really felt like we were on, and it showed by scoring four goals,” junior forward Luka Prpa said.

In all of the Golden Eagles’ victories this season, they have scored three or more goals.

“It might be a confidence thing … Once we get one, we seem to get after it,” Bennett said. “Experience will tell us that we can win 1-0 if we are disciplined. In previous games, I’ve been really happy with our defense edging people out and keeping clean sheets.”

Luka Prpa added an insurance marker in the 65th minute off a penalty kick. He tacked on two assists as well. He now has three goals and five assists on the season.

“The play started down the left side. Josh (Coan) had the ball on the side of the box. He squared it to me in the middle,” Luka Prpa said. “I tried putting it over (the goalkeeper), but he made a nice save and then their defender blocked it with his hand and it ended up being a penalty kick. Fortunately, I was able to finish it.”

Junior forward Connor Alba registered his fourth goal of the season in the 72nd minute, and freshman Lukas Sunesson tallied the final goal in the 82nd minute. Sunnesson’s goal was his fourth of the season and his first since August 30.

Senior goalkeeper Luis Barraza racked up six saves on the night and collected his fourth shutout of the season.

“(Barraza’s) been huge,” Bennett said. “He made three saves tonight that kept us in the game. He’s deserving the clean sheet.”

Marquette finished with a 14-12 shot advantage over the Red Storm with 10 of those being on goal.

The Golden Eagles will host the Xavier Musketeers Saturday at 7:05 pm Central time. This will be a crucial game looking forward to the BIG EAST Tournament, as both teams are tied for fifth in conference standings.

“Next Saturday is going to be a pivotal game. We have some hard work to do this week,” Bennett said. “We’ve got an unbelievable team coming in, and it’s going to be a big week.”

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