Marquette earns first Big East victory on Senior Night

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Photo by Alex DeBuhr

Marquette men’s soccer celebrates after a goal in its 5-1 win over St. John’s Nov. 2 at Valley Fields.

Marquette men’s soccer has not recorded a win in its last consecutive 10 contests.

That all changed Wednesday night though when Marquette defeated St. John’s 5-1 on the last day of the regular season at Valley Fields for its first Big East of the season.

“It wasn’t the best season, but our characters have come out and we never dropped our heads,” senior goalkeeper Chandler Hallwood said. “We’ve always been positive and made the most out of the situation.”

But before the two teams took to the pitch, Marquette honored its senior players on senior night.

“A measure of a person sometimes, what they are about, is how they continue to do their job. Our senior class has been really fantastic at that,” head coach Louis Bennett said. “They (senior class) have worked unbelievably hard and they are genuinely good men.”

The Golden Eagles took an early 1-0 lead in the seventh minute when junior forward Beto Soto recorded his fourth goal of the season.

“We couldn’t find the net, but then Beto did and gave us a little bit more validity of what we were doing and where we were going,” Bennett said. “It gave us more of a spark, but they (St. John’s were still in it. They (St. John’s) never give up, they create this very hostile, up-tempo, chaos.”

Though the match was high-paced, the two teams remained evenly matched in terms of ball control. That was until sophomore forward, Abdoul Karim Pare displayed his street skills on the pitch. A quick drop pass by Pare intended for senior forward Lukas Sunesson resulted in a penalty kick. Sunesson nailed the ball into the right side of the net.

The goal put St. John’s into a two-goal deficit, it also marked Sunesson’s seventh goal of the season.

In the 34th minute, the first red card of the contest was booked to St. John’s junior forward Nigel Griffith. Directly after, another red card was issued to St. John’s associate head coach, David Janezic. At the same time, St. John’s head coach, David Masur, received a yellow card.

The first half concluded with Marquette in the lead, 2-0.

Then, in the 63rd minute, Bennett was booked a yellow card.

The second half consisted of quick-paced, back-and-forth play.

Multiple shots were taken by both Marquette and St. John’s, yet neither side was able to put the ball in the net until the 72nd minute when graduate student forward Brooklyn Merl booted the ball past St. John’s keeper, Zenden Hart. Merl was assisted by sophomore midfielder, Edrey Caceres.

Merl’s goal sparked a series of quick offensive runs by the Golden Eagles. First-year defensive player Tristian Ronnestad-Stevens recorded three shots on the net following the 72nd minute.

A fourth Marquette goal came in the 86th minute when senior defensemen Harvey Read scored on a header shot off a kick by sophomore midfielder Donovan Jones.

“It was my first goal of the season and my last touch ever for Marquette,” Read said. “It was great to end on a high.”

Exactly one minute after, the fifth goal for Marquette was scored off the foot of junior forward Noah Madrigal. It was his first of the season.

As the clock ran down, Red Storm player, Wesley Leggett, scored a penalty goal in the final minute of play.

In total, Marquette had 19 shots on the net, while St. John’s tallied 15.

Statistics aside, Sunesson, along with his fellow senior class, said he has mixed emotions about his final game in blue and gold.

“I’ve been very emotional, all week really, but especially today,” Sunesson said. “Today started off and I got surprised by my parents, they came all the way from Sweden, so I was bawling my eyes out in a restaurant at brunch.”

Ultimately, Sunesson said he is grateful for Marquette and his experiences.

“To finish like this and finally get a win in the Big East too, I’m just super happy right now and sad at the same time,” Sunesson said.

This article was written by Ava Mares. She can be reached via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @avamaresMU.