No. 20/19 Men's Soccer Cruises Past Western Illinois 3-0
MILWAUKEE - Three different Marquette University players found the back of the net in the first half Saturday night as the No. 20/19 Golden Eagles men's soccer team cruised past Western Illinois University (2-3-0) by a final score of 3-0 at Valley Fields. With the win, MU matches its best start in the 48-year history of the program at 5-0-0 to begin the 2012 regular season.
The only other time a Marquette team started a season 5-0-0 was back in 1993. In addition, MU goalkeeper Charlie Lyon posted his fourth consecutive clean sheet, which included three saves on the evening.
"I was very, very proud of our lads tonight and how they applied themselves," said MU head coach Louis Bennett. "I do not want us to get carried away; Western Illinois are a very difficult team to play against. They have been to the NCAA tournament numerous times, and they are a team that knows how to win. So for us to get all over them in the beginning, really helped our cause."
Marquette indeed took care of its chances early en route to the decisive victory. MU raced out to a 1-0 lead over the defending Summit League champions just 66 seconds into the match when junior Eric Pothast cleaned up a rebound off the right post and beat Western Illinois goalkeeper Yves Dietrich with a left-footed volley across the goal.
Lyon, who saved one over the cross bar in the third minute of play, also made a diving stop midway through the first half, allowing the Golden Eagles to quickly counter the Leathernecks' attack and grab a 2-0 advantage in the 28th minute.
Sophomore Kelmend Islami crossed it between a pair of defenders from the left wing to redshirt junior Adam Lysak, who took one touch at the top of the box and fired a rocket from 20 yards out, into the back of the net for his second goal of the season.
The Golden Eagles would then put the game away after taking their first three-goal lead of the season in the 40th minute. Pothast punted the ball forward to Andy Huftalin, and after beating his defender to the ball, Huftalin dribbled into the middle of the box and deposited it inside the left post to give MU a 3-0 lead going into the locker room at halftime.
Marquette had some unsettled business after falling to Western Illinois 1-0 last season on a 90th-minute goal by Daniel Lewis in the second game of the Milwaukee Panther Invitational. And with a comfortable lead, Bennett was able to utilize some fresh legs off the bench, including freshman midfielder Alex Behm, who made his collegiate debut in the 70th minute when he came onto the pitch for Islami.
MU was without the services of Bryan Ciesiulka on Saturday. The junior midfielder left the last Sunday's game at Drake in the 85th minute with an ankle injury. He is expected to return the Golden Eagles' lineup next weekend for the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge.
MU will host the University of Michigan on Friday, Sept. 14, at Valley Fields (7:05 p.m. CT) before traveling to East Lansing, Mich., on Sunday, Sept. 14, to face the Michigan State Spartans.
Marquette Starters:Lyon (GK), Dillon, Sjoberg, Lysak, Robb, Selvaggi, E. Pothast, Jansson, Hermsen, J. Pothast, Islami (Subs: Huftalin, Schillinger, Hoover, Mau, Behm)