Men’s soccer uses exhibition against Torrent to practice against quicker competition

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Men’s soccer uses exhibition against Torrent to practice against quicker competition

Louis Bennett scheduled three exhibitions for Marquette men's soccer in 2019.

Louis Bennett scheduled three exhibitions for Marquette men's soccer in 2019.

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Louis Bennett scheduled three exhibitions for Marquette men's soccer in 2019.

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Louis Bennett scheduled three exhibitions for Marquette men's soccer in 2019.

Jack Phillips

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Unlike Marquette men’s soccer’s two previous exhibition games, the opponent in MU’s 2-1 win Sunday afternoon was not another college.

It was against the Milwaukee Torrent, a semi-professional soccer team competing in the National Premier Soccer League.

The team was founded in 2015 and played its inaugural season in 2016.

“The reason why (Marquette) wanted to (schedule a semi-pro team) is to try to play teams that may be quicker… slightly better skilled,” Bennett said. “Other teams do it, normally they’ll do it in the spring.”

Bennett said that playing a team like Milwaukee shows that his players can grind out games against tough opponents, control themselves and come out on top in the end. 

“It helps our development in the sense that they’re faster, stronger and more physical which prepares us for the college season,” senior defender Patrick Seagrist said. “It’s good to get this experience in an exhibition match. It’s scrappy, so you’ve got to fight for everything.”

The Torrent features three former MU players on their roster, including 2019 graduate Steffen Boehm.

Marquette dominated early, out-shooting Milwaukee 9-4 and going into halftime with a 1-0 lead thanks to a Connor Alba goal.

“I saw a lot of space in behind… then I took off and saw (Alba) at the top of the box,” Seagrist said. “(Alba is) a great finisher.”

MU played with two strikers for most of the first half and only one for most of the second. 

In the second half, the Golden Eagles only fired four shots, resulting in one goal.

Forward Sam Thornton scored the game-winning goal in the 89th minute after Connor Alba sent a pass right through two Torrent defenders, giving Thornton a breakaway opportunity.

“I thought Thornton took the result on his shoulders and single-handedly scored,” Bennett said.

After giving up the third-most goals in the BIG EAST last season, the Golden Eagles’ defense has started this year off by only allowing two goals in three exhibition matches.

Seagrist said their defensive success so far this year has come from holding each other accountable.

There was plenty of physicality Sunday, as the teams combined for 41 fouls. MU had 22 of them.

“I was really happy with the way our guys conducted themselves,” Bennett said. “We had an agenda of a goodwill game. It just didn’t turn out to be (like) that.”

Goalkeeper Jackson Weyman had his first start of the preseason. He made one save and saw four shots in totals.

The Golden Eagles kick off their regular season against University of Alabama at Birmingham at Valley Fields on Friday at 7:05 p.m. Central Time.

“For everyone, this is an exciting team,” Bennett said. “These last two games, we’ve looked like how we want to look, and I’m happy about that.”

“We’re very excited, we’ve been waiting a long time for this,” Seagrist said. “It’s huge to see how far we’ve come.”

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