Golden Eagles Fall to Kentucky, 1-0, in Overtime
Aug. 25, 2017
LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Marquette University men’s soccer team opened the 2017 season with a strong showing that ended in a tough 1-0 overtime setback on the road to Kentucky.
The Golden Eagles held an 11-9 edge in shots and used a flurry of chances at the end of regulation to take momentum into overtime, but a broken play in the 99th minute led to a fortuitous bounce that allowed the Wildcats to claim victory in the season opener on their home turf.
“It was a really good college game,” head coach Louis Bennett said. “I thought we had some good chances. The ebb and flow of the game I thought we handled well. There’s a lot of unhappy people in the locker room because of the amount of chances we were unable to convert and, at the other end, we were just a little untidy.”
Marquette had its first really good chance at the end of the first half when redshirt junior Martin Alba found sophomore Luka Prpa, who slipped it through to junior transfer Grant Owens in the 38th minute. Owens put enough behind his shot, but the UK keeper Enrique Facusse was able to outstretch his arm for the save.
The Golden Eagles weathered a string of chances from Kentucky to open the first half and responded with chances of their own 15 minutes in.
In the 61st minute, Prpa fired from distance, forcing the UK keeper to make a save. One minute later, Alba found redshirt senior Daniel Szczepanek in the box for a volley chance that went just wide.
In the 72nd minute, MU junior keeper Luis Barraza made a spectacular diving save to keep the game scoreless. He finished with four saves on the night.
Martin Alba had an opportunity in the 89th minute, blasting a shot from just outside the penalty area that ricocheted off the crossbar. It highlighted a flurry of chances for the Golden Eagles in the final 2 minutes of regulation.
With under 2 minutes left in the first overtime, Kentucky benefitted from a trio of corners with the final one proving the most dangerous. With heavy traffic right in front of the goal, following a couple deflections, UK’s Mckelvey found the ball at the back post with an empty net and put it away.
The Wildcats held a 9-4 advantage in corners on the night.
“We found a lot about our team,” Bennett said after the game. “We found out the do’s and the don’ts and we found out about the spirit and character of our team in front of a pretty rowdy crowd against an experienced team.
“We’ll dust ourselves off, we’ll get a few more guys healthy, and if we can select from a healthy group I think we’ll piece together a game plan to win,” Bennett added. “I don’t think there’s a fixture on our schedule that we can’t win and I think our guys know that. This is the type of game that will mature you. We’ll learn from these mistakes and we can put it to good use. UIC in the home opener is definitely something we’re looking forward to.”
Marquette returns to action Friday, Sept. 1, hosting Illinois-Chicago in the home opener at Valley Fields. Kickoff is slated for 6:05 p.m. Central time.
Kentucky: 24-Facusse, 2-Bumpus, 3-Namjoupanah, 4-Stockton, 9-Mckelvey, 10-Pedersen, 15-Barajas, 16-Hutchins, 20-Souder, 22-Hummel, 28-Stojkovic
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