MU Wins Third Straight, 4-1, Over Northwestern

Sept. 5, 2016

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MILWAUKEE – Behind another blistering performance offensively, the Marquette University men’s soccer team dispatched visiting Northwestern University, 4-1, at Valley Fields and scored twice in the final 6 minutes despite being a man down Monday evening.

Marquette (3-1-0) had been in complete control of the match until the 73rd minute when Mac Wheeler came off his post to try and make a very difficult play at the top of the box and was issued a red card after contacting a Northwestern attacker as the last man of defense. Suddenly, the Wildcats (1-3-0), who converted the penalty, now had momentum being a man up.

But in the end it didn’t seem to matter as this potent Marquette attack was strong enough to withstand being a man down and still come up with a pair of insurance goals in the final 6 minutes to register its third straight match of four goals. A Golden Eagle squad hasn’t scored that many in three straight matches since before the year 2000.

“We’re very balanced,” Bennett said. “We’re getting goals from strikers, we’re getting goals from midfielders. It’s been really, really helpful. I think the things that we practice are contagious. I’m pretty hard on them about finding the back of the net and where they find the back of the net and I used to think they would get fed up with me telling them, but now I can say, ‘Look what happens when you find the net at the right time.’”

Freshman sensation Luka Prpa tallied another three points on a goal and an assist to give him an NCAA-leading 15 points on five goals and five assists through four matches. He was named to the College Soccer News National Team of the Week and collected BIG EAST Offensive Player and Freshman of the Week honors early today.

He earned the second assist on the eventual match-winner scored by Diego Núñez in the 49th minute, as he finished a marvelous cross over the defense by Toby Howell with a one-touch strike to the back of the net. Prpa finished off the night with an 87th-minute goal to end it.

“I think Northwestern had been the experts on smothering and breaking,” Marquette head coach Louis Bennett said of tonight’s opponent. “All the teams I’ve ever coached have had tough nitty, gritty games against teams like Northwestern. I really do believe our exuberance and our ability to run behind and catch people on the break are catching teams off guard.

“A lot of credit goes to Daniel Szczepanek,” Bennett added. “He may not have scored, but he puts in so many miles and is so disruptive. And now Toby (Howell) is beginning to follow suit. And then Diego (Núñez) pops up and scores a goal out of nowhere. A fantastic volley.”

The Golden Eagles are not lacking in weapons as they have proven over the past three contests. Six players have found the back of the net already and seven have collected at least one point.

Their next opponent, Saint Louis (1-1-1), is an example of another gritty team that could pose a challenge in MU’s next match on Saturday, Sept. 10. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in the Gateway City.

18’ | MU | Toby Howell (Martin Alba): Toby Howell charged hard to the front of the net and was met with a perfectly timed cross by Martin Alba, which he headed past the Northwestern keeper for the goal.

49’ | MU | Diego Núñez (Luka Prpa, Toby Howell): Luka Prpa sent a pass up and Toby Howell delivered a first touch cross over the top of the defense and it found the foot of Núñez, who deposited it into the back of the net.

73’ | NU | Jeffrey Hopson (Penalty Kick): The penalty was issued following a red card issued to MU goalkeeper Mac Wheeler as he made a difficult play on the ball at the top of the box and made contact with the attacker as the last man of defense.

84’ | MU | Ben Tweedie (Unassisted): After a rebound off his first shot attempt, Ben Tweedie rocketed a bending left-footed strike inside the far post.

87’ | MU | Luka Prpa (Daniel Szczepanek): Daniel Szczepanek put a cross into the middle of the box and Luka Prpa netted the goal, firing low inside the near post.

MARQUETTE – 2-Pothast, 4-Howell, 5-Jarosz, 6-Alba, M., 7-Seagrist, 9-Szczepanek, 11-Alba, 14-Prpa, 17-Maertins, 18-von Hofacker, 30-Wheeler

NORTHWESTERN – 1-F. Tomasino, 4-Dearth, 5-Buescher, 6-Kelliher, 9-Ozumba, 10-Medina, 13-Griffith, 16-Roberge, 17-M. Tomasino, 19-Hopson, 21-Moderwell
OPPONENT: Saint Louis
LOCATION: St. Louis, Mo.
DATE: Saturday, September 10
TIME: 7:00 PM CT




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