Marquette picks up second BIG EAST win, beats Xavier

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Redshirt junior defender Manuel Cukaj (5) celebrates after scoring his first goal of the season against Xavier Wednesday afternoon (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

After two games on the road, with the last being a 0-0 tie at Butler, the Marquette Golden Eagles (5-1-1, 2-1-1 BIG EAST) were back at home for a Wednesday matinee matchup against the Xavier Musketeers (3-5-1, 0-3-1 BIG EAST), and Marquette came away with a 2-1 win.

Contrary to what has happened many times this season, the Golden Eagles scored multiple goals in the first half, and that allowed them to hang onto the lead for the full 90 minutes.

At the 12-minute mark, junior forward Lukas Sunesson scored his team-leading fifth goal of the season on an assist from redshirt sophomore defender Alex Mirsberger.

Sunesson is now tied for second place in the BIG EAST in goals with St. John’s Tani Oluwaseyi.

Xavier sophomore forward Karsen Henderlong leads the conference with seven goals. He recorded four shot attempts with no goals against Marquette, but he did get an assist.

The Musketeers lone goal on the day came just four minutes after Sunesson got scoring started, as redshirt junior midfielder Justus Kauppinen scored his first goal of the season at the 16-minute mark.

However, it took Marquette just five minutes to answer back from that. On a free kick from redshirt junior Zak Wegner, redshirt junior defender Manuel Cukaj scored a goal on a header. This would be the final goal of the game in the 22nd minute.

For the entire first half, Xavier led with nine shots, but all five of Marquette’s shots were on goal, where only three of the Musketeers’ shots were on goal.

In the second half, it was more of the same story for Xavier, but Marquette did not get the same offensive opportunities.

The Musketeers had the same number of shots in the second half with nine, but this time five were on goal. Marquette had just two shots with one on goal.

Sophomore goalkeeper Chandler Hallwood shined in the game, especially in the second half. He finished with seven saves, with five of those coming following halftime.

Hallwood is coming off a week where he was recognized on the BIG EAST weekly honor roll and was named BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Week for his play, allowing just one combined goal against DePaul and Butler.

This is the Golden Eagles’ second BIG EAST win after losing to Creighton, beating DePaul and drawing with Butler. Those four teams are the only BIG EAST opponents they will play this season, and they will get a rematch with each of them.

The team’s overall record now sits at 5-1-1. Next up for Marquette is its rematch with Creighton in Omaha, Nebraska Saturday at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time.

This story was written by Matt Yeazel. He can be reached at matthew.yeazel@marquette.edu or on Twitter @MJYeazel