Offense Comes Alive in 4-0 Rout Over NIU

Aug. 29, 2016

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MILWAUKEE – The new look Marquette University men’s soccer team picked up its first win of the 2016 campaign, led by three freshmen who tallied their first career goals in a 4-0 victory over visiting Northern Illinois on Monday night at Valley Fields.

Freshman Jan Maertins got the Golden Eagles off to a hot start with his first goal as a member of the Blue and Gold in the 20th minute and it didn’t take long for a couple of his classmates to follow suit. After assisting Maertins, Luka Prpa converted a penalty in the 43rd minute and capped off the scoring in the 65th, following a 55th-minute blast by fellow rookie Connor Alba.

Marquette’s onslaught of pressure up front led to a 14-5 advantage in shots, six of which landed on net, while the defense allowed just one shot on target in front redshirt senior goalkeeper Mac Wheeler, who picked up his first career shutout.

“Defensively, I thought we did a very, very good job,” Marquette head coach Louis Bennett said after the game. “NIU is one of the most difficult teams to play in the country because they do a great job of grinding teams out and grinding out results. We decided to try and do that to them.

Danny Jarosz and John Pothast gave the young group a real experienced anchor and Mac Wheeler was really good as well,” praised Bennett of the MU backline. “Those three provided a platform for the young guys to do what they needed to do. Tonight, we saw what the future could look like.”

The Golden Eagles indeed had a new look as the offense clicked to answer a four-goal setback in the opener to post a four-goal shutout of their own tonight. Bennett’s starting lineup featured six newcomers, including five freshmen that contained defenders Patrick Seagrist and Anton von Hofacker along with the three aforementioned scorers, as well as sophomore Diego Núñez.

“We were a little more focused on our task tonight,” Bennett said of the offensive attack. “The biggest different was us adjusting and moving forward. We changed the system a little bit, dropping down to one defensive midfielder and that allowed us to take advantage of NIU’s high line. We battered them with multiple strikers.

“We’re still going to have bumps in the road because we’re on a learning curve, but for us tonight, it was a good adjustment and a good turnaround.”

Marquette returns with a short trip to the Windy City to take on UIC on Friday, Sept. 2. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m.

20’ | MU | Jan Maertins (Luka Prpa): Prpa played a cross to Maertins, who reached out with his right foot and squeezed his shot just inside the keeper and the left post.

43’ | MU | Luka Prpa (Penalty): Prpa converted the penalty, which resulted from Connor Alba being taken down in the box by an NIU defender.

55’ | MU | Connor Alba (Unassisted): Alba weaved through defenders and fired off a left-footed strike from the top of the 18-yard box past the diving NIU keeper.

65’ | MU | Luka Prpa (Jack Alberts): Alberts sent a perfect touch-pass through into the box to Prpa, who chipped it over the charging NIU keeper.

MARQUETTE – 2-Pothast, 5-Jarosz, 6-Alba, M., 7-Seagrist, 11-Alba, 9-Szczepanek, 14-Prpa, 17-Maertins, 18-von Hofacker, 23-Núñez, 30-Wheeler

NIU – 00-Donnally, 2-Roche, 3-Hill, 5-Molina, 10-Voss, 11-Lightner, 13-Haas, 21-Coardos, 22-Read, 23-Witkowski, 26-Pitre

OPPONENT: Illinois-Chicago
LOCATION: Chicago, Ill.
DATE: Friday, September 2
TIME: 7:00 PM CT




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