MILWAUKEE – A pair of newcomers combined for Marquette's lone goal in a 4-1 setback to New Mexico at Valley Fields on Monday night. Grant Owens scored his first goal as a Golden Eagle on an assist from Brody Kraussel, but it wasn't enough against a tough Lobos side.
The Golden Eagles (0-2-1) struggled defensively in the first half as New Mexico (2-2-0) struck early and often on the way to a 3-1 halftime lead. NM's Devin Boyce opened the scoring with a sixth minute goal that was the result of a turnover.
Marquette started five freshmen on Monday, inluding two centerbacks and a defensive midfielder, who continue to grow as a unit. The squad was without redshirt junior midfielder Martin Alba, who was forced to sit out due to drawing two yellow cards in Friday's match against UIC.
"We need to be a little better organized in transition," Bennett said, referring to the team's next match against Saint Louis. "We'll be much better in transition defending and by doing that, we're not going to give teams as much opportunity. This is a fix we can put right. We're playing a lot of younger guys, but I think they're well capable of doing the job. We'll harden and we'll gel and we'll make sure we're a much tougher nut to crack."
A major brightspot in the team's victory was Owens' strike in the 24th minute that leveled the match at 1-1. Kraussel's delivery into the box was nothing short of brilliant as it met the scorer's head at precisely the right moment. It was Kraussel's first assist of the season after ranking in the nation's top-10 with 10 assists as a member of Loyola-Chicago a season ago.
New Mexico, which qualified for the NCAA tournament last season, countered with a tally from the top of the box a minute later and Marquette was unable to recover from then on.
Santa Teresa, New Mexico, native Luis Barraza stopped a career-high 10 saves for the Golden Eagles with five in each half. His counterpart Jason Beaulieu made five in the win.
"I thought Luis Barraza played pretty well," Bennett said. "Overall, he made some really nice saves and the ones he didn't, I didn't think he had much of a chance on."
New Mexico outshot MU, 23-12, in the match, including a 14-6 edge in shots on goal. MU garnered six corner kicks to just five for the Lobos.
The Golden Eagles continue their homestand on Saturday, Sept. 9, taking on Saint Louis at 7:05 p.m. Central Time.