Sept. 28, 2008
Box Score vs. Cincinnati (PDF)
CINCINNATI -- For the second straight year, Marquette forward Nick Kay delivered the dagger that earned the Golden Eagles' their first BIG EAST victory of he season at the hands of Cincinnati, as MU earned a hard-fought 1-0 decision Sunday at Gettler Stadium.
"At times it was ugly, but overall very rewarding because we showed resilience, and in order to win in the BIG EAST you have to have resilience," said Marquette head coach Louis Bennett. "In a game of mistakes, we made fewer mistakes."
Kay's first goal of the season was the product of a combination serve and volley, sent by Calum Mallace and dished ahead by Josh Curry, assisting MU on the game-winner in the 71st minute. It was Kay who scored both of Marquette's goals in a 2-1 double-overtime decision over the Bearcats at Valley Fields a season ago.
"In the last couple of games, he started to do more of what we wanted him to do," Bennett said of his junior forward. "And it's tough, because most of the time he's battling two or three guys. Sometimes, our guys have done well to support him, sometimes we haven't. But he's the benchmark for work ethic."
While it was Kay's touch into the upper-right of the net that provided the difference on the scoreboard, it was Marquette's stingy defense that inspired the victory.
Junior goalkeeper Matt Pyzdrowski, who was credited with a collegiate-high eight saves and his third shutout of the season, was supported strongly by his back line. All four of Marquette's defenders never left the field the entire 200:00 minutes of the action over the weekend.
"It was a 17-man effort," said Bennett. "Everyone played, everyone contributed, and we needed everyone today. Now we can evaluate what we did well -- and what we didn't do well -- from a winning platform."
Marquette began the first half with virtually no presence in the attacking part of the field. The Golden Eagles finally recorded their first shot in the 30th minute when Matt Stummer missed putting a good boot on a cross from Tyler Schwab.
MU eventually put three shots on target in the final eight minutes of the period. Brian Odem, playing in his first game since the season-opener against Bryant on Sept. 1, rocketed a header that was deflected by Cincinnati goalkeeper Matt Williams. Odem immediately picked up the rebound and fired another shot on goal, but Williams was able to once again re-direct the strike, and the ball was cleared from the box by a Bearcat defender.
Cincinnati continued to put the pressure on in the second half, and ultimately ended up with eight shots on goal during the contest. A potentially disastrous, but questionable, foul was called on MU's Michael Alfano within the 18-yard box, allowing Cincinnati a penalty kick and a golden opportunity to net the equalizer in the 85th minute.
But the penalty kick, taken by the Bearcats' Branden Stelmak, was denied by a diving Pyzdrowski.
"We've been searching for some kind of leadership and consistent performance on the field," Bennett said. "Matt spearheaded it. [Tim] Jallow and [Billy Von Rueden] were the wing men, and they helped our two central defenders get through two games."
Marquette played No. 20 Louisville to a 1-1 draw on Friday. The Cardinals will most likely be moving up in the NSCAA/adidas poll after knocking off No. 3 Notre Dame, 2-1, on Sunday. Altogether, the Golden Eagles -- who played without Anthony Colaizzi and Michael Greene because of red cards received Friday -- earned four points in league play during the road trip.
Marquette returns home to take on No. 10 UIC this Thursday, Oct. 2 at Valley Fields. Kick off versus the Flames is set for 7:05 p.m.