Marquette Keeps Milwaukee Cup After 3-3 Draw

Sept. 14, 2016

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MILWAUKEE - It was a wild finish at Valley Fields as a crowd of 1,275 were on hand to witness the Marquette University men's soccer team retain possession of the coveted Milwaukee Cup for the third year in a row after salvaging a 3-3 draw against visiting UW-Milwaukee on Wednesday night.

The Golden Eagles (3-1-2) raced out to a 3-0 lead early in the first half as junior Daniel Szczepanek connected twice followed by freshman Connor Alba's third goal of the season to go along with one assist on the night. For Szczepanek, his 16th-minute strike was his first goal since 2014 - a span of 36 games without finding the back of the net.

He and Alba combined for tallies a little over 2 minutes apart to give the Golden Eagles a 3-0 lead later on. The momentum was in Marquette's favor until Milwaukee's Evan Conway cashing in off an MU turnover in the 33rd minute to make it 3-1 heading into halftime.

"As I said after (the Kentucky game), there are times where we may look a bit immature and lack experience and I think today was one of those days," Marquette head coach Louis Bennett said, referring to the UWM goal right before halftime. "At a crucial time, we lacked a little bit of maturity and a little bit of experience. If going into the half, we're up 3-0, I don't think they have a light at the end of the tunnel. At 3-1, and giving a goal away like that, was inspiration for them."

Conway, a freshman from Whitefish Bay, added another goal in the 61st minute to complete the brace and get the Panthers to within striking distance. He nearly added a third when MU goalkeeper Mac Wheeler made a diving save to his right in the 74th minute to deny the hat trick for Conway.

Wheeler would finish with four saves on the on the night, while his counterpart, Sam Glass, made five. MU held the slight edge in shots, 22-21, while having an 8-3 advantage in corner kicks.

In the 86th minute, UWM caught a break as a crossing pass from Evan Dujardin deflected off the leg of Marquette's Danny Jarosz and into the back of the net to tie the game. Both sides had their opportunities in overtime, including a couple dangerous chances for the Golden Eagles, as Jan Maertins hit the left post in the 95th minute followed by a ringer off the crossbar from Toby Howell a minute later.

With just 16 seconds remaining, redshirt sophomore midfielder Martin Alba was issued a straight red card despite neither player being knocked to the ground as he collided with a Milwaukee player in front of the Marquette bench. The red card was given following a series of four yellow cards previously issued during the extra-time sessions - three of which were UWM infractions. Unfortunately for MU, that means Martin will be suspended for the BIG EAST opener against St. John's on Saturday.

Tonight's result marked the first time in the 44-match history of the Milwaukee Cup that consecutive meetings have ended in a draw, following last season's 1-1 tie at Englemann Stadium that saw Louis Bennett II's 73rd-minute blast knot it up.

"I like this team, I really do," Bennett said after the game. "It's a state of affairs where last year we tied the game in the 73rd minute. It was up-and-down and anyone could've won it at any time. Today, we scored three goals and were on top of the game completely. And then it changed around for about 20-25 minutes. It's important to recognize who we are and who we can be and stick with it. I like this squad, I really do."

Marquette heads into Saturday's BIG EAST opener against St. John's having already scored three or more goals on four occasions. Last season, both squads started league play with a scoreless draw in Queens, NY.

Saturday's kickoff between the Golden Eagles and Red Storm is set for a 7:05 p.m. kickoff at Valley Fields.

16' | MU | Daniel Szczepanek (Connor Alba): Following a throw-in, Connor Alba took possession at midfield and fed a through-pass to Daniel Szczepanek on the right side, who left-footed a low-driving shot inside the far post for his first goal of the year.

27' | MU | Daniel Szczepanek (Patrick Seagrist, Anton von Hofacker): Szczepanek found the back of the net for the second time in the first half off a header from a well-placed cross by Patrick Seagrist.

29' | MU | Connor Alba (unassisted): Carried the ball through the middle of the field before making a move to his left, juking a UWM defender, and firing left-footed inside the right post for his third goal of the season.

34' | UWM | Evan Conway (Sean Reynolds): Took advantage of a Marquette turnover following one too many passes between the backline and Wheeler. Reynolds stole possession after an errant touch and fed Conway, who juked Wheeler and deposited a shot into an open net.

61' | UWM | Evan Conway (Jason P. Svensson): Conway finds his second goal of the match when he scored a left-footed liner in the far right post off a setup by Jason P. Svensson.

86' | UWM | Own Goal: Evan Dujardin's cross into the box deflected off a Marquette defender and into the net for an own goal to tie the game at 3-3.

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

MILWAUKEE - 5-Flaatedal, 6-Conway, 7-Stevenson, 10-Binder, 11-Moon, 13-Saporito, 16-Reynolds, 18-Krolczyk, 27-Svensson, 28-Kaye, 30-Glass
OPPONENT: St. John's
LOCATION: Valley Fields | Milwaukee
DATE: Saturday, September 17
TIME: 7:05 PM CT




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