No. 20 MU Gets By Providence, 1-0

Louis Bennett II scored his fourth goal of the season Saturday, the game winner, at Providence.

Oct. 19, 2013

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Marquette University hung on to claim another three points with a 1-0 shutout Saturday at Providence in a classic BIG EAST Conference men's soccer match-up at Ray Treacy Track. MU freshman Louis Bennett II tallied the lone goal midway through the second half as the Golden Eagles won their fourth straight.

Ranked as high as No. 20 in this week's national polls, Marquette improved to 9-3-1 overall and remained at the top of the league table with an unscathed 5-0-0 mark on five one-goal victories.

Providence, which finished with an 18-10 advantage in the shot column, was caught off guard in the 73rd minute on a brilliant strike by Bennett II.

Senior left back Paul Dillon sent a long pass down the left touchline to MU teammate Kelmend Islami. Islami attacked from the left wing, but dumped the ball off to the rookie midfielder who curled a left-footed strike from 23 yards inside the far post.

"We had two better opportunities to score early in the match," said head coach Louis Bennett. "[Bennett II] knew what he was doing long before anyone else knew what he was doing. He saw the shot early, and he struck it as clean as I think he could strike it, and it was a thing of beauty watching it go into the back of the net."

The Friars (8-3-2, 3-2-0 BIG EAST) dropped out of the top-25 earlier this month after losing in similar fashion their last time at home in a 1-0 setback against Georgetown in which Providence out-shot the preseason league favorite Hoyas 14-7.

Providence pressured Marquette for most of the match Saturday, especially in the last 10 minutes of regulation. But the Golden Eagles -- behind the stellar play of goalkeeper Charlie Lyon and center backs Axel Sjoberg and Eric Pothast -- managed to walk away with the clean sheet.

It was Lyon's seventh clean sheet of the season, including fourth in BIG EAST play and second consecutive, after matching a season-high with seven saves.

"The intensity of Providence got more forceful as the game went on, and we had to match that." said Bennett. "The defensive line did a really good job and kept their composure. Charlie made three really good saves that, because he's such a good keeper, they might have looked easy, but they really weren't easy."

A save by Lyon in the 14th minute prevented Providence from getting on the board early on. MU's backline was also able to take away any prime scoring opportunities presented by the Friars in the first half, including three straight corner kicks by the home side in the 23rd minute.

MU also had some chances in the opening stanza, including those referenced by Bennett. Freshman Coco Navarro had a quality strike from 25 yards out that hit off the crossbar in the 26th minute. With less than two minutes remaining in the first half, C. Nortey missed a diving header on the near post on a cross by teammate Adam Lysak and Navarro was unable to get to the ball as it bounced across the box to the far post.

Coach Bennett used 17 players in Saturday's victory, the team's third straight win in the last three years at Providence, including Sebastian Jansson and Jake Taylor, who returned from injury after missing the last two fixtures.

With a five-point lead in the BIG EAST standings, the Golden Eagles head back to the East Coast for another test this Wednesday, Oct. 23, to face St. John's.

Marquette starters: Lyon (GK), Dillon, Holowaty, Sjoberg, Ciesiulka, Islami, Nortey, E. Pothast, Wahl, Bennett II, Navarro; Subs: Lysak, Parianos, Jansson, Hoover, Hermsen, Taylor

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