Marquette’s comeback falls short in 2-1 loss to UConn

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Marquette men’s soccer in a huddle during its 2-1 loss to Xavier Oct. 6. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Marquette men’s soccer traveled to Storrs, Connecticut on Wednesday night and came away with a 2-0 loss to UConn, giving the Huskies their first win in BIG EAST play.

“We’re disappointed that we didn’t come away with anything,” Marquette head coach Louis Bennett said in a statement .“It was a good game. We were well capable of coming back into it and they really didn’t bother us much until the penalty, and then we could have folded but it’s a credit to our players that we didn’t. We need to have a short memory now because it’s just three more days then we’re back at it again.”

Marquette struggled to find any opportunities offensively in the first half. First-year midfielder Edrey Caceres recorded the lone shot in the half in the 29th minute off a free kick that just finished short of becoming a goal as it hit the top of the crossbar.

In the 36th minute, the Huskies took the early 1-0 lead on a goal from junior midfielder Ben Awashie in the 36th minute, his first goal of the season. He was assisted by Bjorn Nikolajewski.

Awashie’s goal was one of five shots in the first half from the Huskies, who entered the halftime break with the 1-0 advantage. Marquette redshirt-junior goalkeeper Chandler Hallwood came up with three saves in the half.

As was the case in the first half, UConn came out of the gates in the second half aggressive. The Huskies earned four of their six corner kicks on the night in the second half.

Marquette created several chances in even the score in the first half of the second half, but the Huskies defense held ground.

In the 82nd minute, redshirt-sophomore defender Alex Mirsberger was called for a penalty on a sliding tackle inside the 18-yard box resulting in a penalty kick opportunity for the Huskies.

Junior forward Moussa Wade converted the shot, sinking the penalty kick past Hallwood into the left corner of the net to make it 2-0 UConn.

The Golden Eagles quickly responded to Wade’s goal, earning a penalty kick opportunity of their own in the 83rd minute. Redshirt-junior forward Lukas Sunesson picked up his third goal in the last two games as he put the shot past UConn graduate student goalkeeper Jahmali Waite.

Sunesson’s goal was his sixth of the season, which is a team high for the Golden Eagles.

With time winding down in the 89th minute, Marquette was awarded another free kick giving the Golden Eagles an opportunity to tie the score before the end of regulation. However, Caceres’ shot was sent right into the hands of Waite securing the win for UConn.

With the loss Marquette falls to sixth place in the BIG EAST with four games left to go in the regular season.

Marquette (5-6-1, 2-3-1 BIG EAST) will return to Valley Fields for a battle against I-94 rival DePaul Saturday at 7 p.m. CST. For Marquette, Saturday’s game is the second to last home game of the season.

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