Late Goals Lift No. 17 Marquette Over NIU, 2-0
Sept. 20, 2014
DEKALB, Illinois -- The No. 17 Marquette University (5-2-0) men's soccer team set a program record with its fifth consecutive shutout Saturday in a 2-0 road win against Northern Illinois University (2-3-2) at NIU Soccer Complex.
Redshirt freshman Jack Alberts netted his second game-winner in as many matches in the 82nd minute to break a scoreless tie and sophomore Coco Navarro doubled MU's advantage 50 seconds later. Meanwhile, the Golden Eagles' defense, led by redshirt senior goalkeeper Charlie Lyon, has not conceded a goal in 508:39 minutes.
Marquette out-shot the Huskies 9-4 in the second half and 11-7 overall in a contest that looked destined for extra time over the first 75 minutes of action.
"NIU are one of the toughest teams to play against when they are at home," admitted MU head coach Louis Bennett, whose team has now won five straight. "They smothered us and kept us on one side of the field. The longer they go without giving up a goal, the tougher it can be to break through."
Alberts' go-ahead goal in the 82nd minute looked just like his first collegiate goal, which he scored last time out in a 2-0 home win Wednesday over the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Louis Bennett II set up for a free kick on the far side of the field and found Alberts all alone at the top of the six-yard box on the near post for the clean header.
Navarro's score came on a fortunate bounce off a long throw into the box that the RSL-Arizona product smashed first-time between a pair of NIU defenders past the keeper for his first goal of the season.
"The second half we managed to change the point of attack," Bennett said. "Axel [Sjoberg] and Johnny [Pothast] were more patient. We got the ball to our No. 8's and they did a better job getting quality balls to the forwards."
Early in the contest, NIU's Albert Levett had a try 10 minutes in but his strike from 30 yards out on the left channel hit the far post before being cleared by MU. On the other side of the pitch, the Golden Eagles' chances were limited. In addition to a couple of offside calls, Marquette's best opportunities came on a pair of set pieces. A C. Nortey header off a free kick in the 19th minute was wide left and John Pothast's header off MU's second corner kick went over the crossbar.
The first shot on goal for either team didn't come until the 55th minute. Daniel Szczepanek raced to the endline and crossed it in to Nick Parianos. The MU striker turned and struck it but the bouncing shot was smothered by NIU goalkeeper Andrew Glaeser.
Moments later, Brady Wahl intercepted a pass in the Golden Eagles' attacking third. Wahl played it wide left to Coco Navarro at the top of the box, and Navarro curled a beautiful strike towards the target that had to be punched over the crossbar on a great save by Glaeser.
In the 75th minute, Lyon smothered a loose ball in the box after a cross found an NIU attacker who tried to tap it in on the near post but had it deflected. Navarro then had a shot go high after a nice pass back to the top of the box by Alex McBride.
Another Bennett II free kick in the 80th minute found defending BIG EAST Conference Defensive Player of the Week Axel Sjoberg in the box, but the 6-foot-7 Swede's header was wide.
Lyon's first save of the night didn't come until the 64th minute, a diving stop on Charlie Oliver's left-footed strike from inside the 18 that wasn't hit extremely well. The MU goalie finished with three saves in bringing his career shutout total to 25, three shy of matching Jim Welch's school record (28).
The last time MU was scored on was Michael Riedford's eventual game-winner for Indiana in the 32nd minute of a 1-0 loss to the Hoosiers back on Aug. 31.
The Golden Eagles return home to Valley Fields, where they currently boast a five-game shutout streak, next Saturday, Sept. 27, when they host Providence College in the BIG EAST Conference opener.
Marquette Starters: Lyon; Alberts, Sjoberg, Pothast, Hermsen; Wahl, Trude, Bennett II; Navarro, Nortey, Selvaggi; Subs: Szczepanek, Parianos, Taylor, McBride
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