Men’s soccer dedicates Saturday night’s victory to President Lovell

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Marquette men’s soccer gathers in a huddle during its 1-0 win over DePaul Oct. 16. (Photo courtesy of Marquette Athletics.)

Marquette men’s soccer team is back to winnings way defeating the DePaul Blue Demons 1-0 Saturday night at Valley Fields for their first BIG EAST home win of the season. 

Sporting their gold uniforms and embracing the “Lovell Strong” movement, along with all of Marquette Athletics teams this weekend, in support of Marquette University President Michael Lovell who was recently diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, head coach Louis Bennett dedicated Saturday’s win to Lovell.

“I’m really happy that we won and could deliver him something that gives him some joy,” Bennett said. “We’re standing strong for our president with anything we can do to help him and his family out during this difficult time.” 

As for Marquette’s 1-0 victory, Bennett said he is happy with his team’s performance after earning a home win in a conference that has no easy opponents.  

“Winning a game like this is a battle, DePaul has gotten points on the road and they don’t give up many goals,” Bennett said. “For us, a BIG EAST win at home is huge, the whole night was special.” 

Both sides tried finding their footing in the first half with only one great chance coming from each team to show for.  

DePaul’s best chance in the first half came in the 18th minute when sophomore forward Marek Gonda’s header was saved by Marquette redshirt goalkeeper Chandler Hallwood to keep things level nil nil. 

Hallwood recorded five saves throughout the first half enroute to his seven total saves on the night, just one short of his season high.  

In the last minute of the first half, Marquette was awarded a penalty kick after DePaul first-year goalkeeper Gandhi Cruz fouled Marquette redshirt sophomore forward AJ Franklin in the box.  

Marquette redshirt senior forward Sam Thornton stepped up to the spot to take the penalty kick but could not convert as Cruz dove to his right saving Thornton’s attempt to keep things scoreless going into halftime.  

In the 58th minute, Marquette finally broke the deadlock as redshirt sophomore defender Alex Mirsberger headed home redshirt first-year forward Beto Soto’s corner kick to give the Golden Eagles a 1-0 lead.

Mirsberger’s first goal of the season was a big one as it proved to be the game-winner. 

“Beto whipped in a perfect ball and I was just able to beat my man and head it in,” Mirsberger said. “Without that good ball I wouldn’t have had a chance to score so all props to Beto.” 

DePaul had a chance to equalize just minutes after Mirsberger opened the scoring as senior midfielder Jacob Huth’s header hit the woodwork and junior midfielder Michael Anderson’s second-chance shot was saved by Hallwood to end the Blue Demon threat.  

The Golden Eagles defense remained steady the rest of the contest as they held off the Blue Demons over the remaining 30 minutes of the game to secure the 1-0 victory.  

Marquette’s clean-sheet was the first time the Golden Eagles shutout their opponent since the team’s first game of the season when they beat University of Wisconsin- Green Bay 2-0 Aug. 26.  

“A clean-sheet is what we’ve wanted for a while now,” Mirsberger said. “If you don’t allow any goals, you can’t lose the game. Once we went up 1-0, we knew it was going to be a grind not to concede, and that’s what we wanted to accomplish.”  

The Golden Eagles not only excelled on the defensive end, but also outshot the Blue Demons 13-12 on the night, with eight of those shots coming on goal.   

“We’ve established a definite way we want to play offensively and we’re trying to seal things up defensively,” Bennett said. “We wanted to get a clean-sheet and that’s what we accomplished so we did what we needed to do.” 

With the win, the Golden Eagles remain in fifth place in the BIG EAST with three games to go in the regular season. If the season ended today, Marquette would be back in the BIG EAST Tournament as the top six teams make the playoff field.

Marquette (6-6-1, 3-3-1 BIG EAST) will now travel to Indianapolis Oct. 20 to take on the Butler Bulldogs. Kickoff for Wednesday night’s game is slated for 6 p.m. CT.  

“Over this period of time, we’ve played some really good soccer but we’ve been establishing a definite way that we want to play offensively. And we’re trying also just to seal up things defensively,” Bennett said. “So the momentum of this winning helps us seal it, seal things up.”

This article was written by Sam Arco. He can be reached at samuel.arco@marquette.edu or on Twitter @SamArcoMU.