Head coach Louis Bennett with the BIG EAST Blue Division championship trophy, along with Calum Mallace who scored the game-winner against Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Oct. 29, 2011

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MILWAUKEE -- The Marquette University men's soccer team defeated Pittsburgh 1-0 Saturday night at Valley Fields, clinching its first ever BIG EAST Blue Division championship. Calum Mallace scored the match's only goal in the 59th minute, as he led his team to victory on senior night.

It marks MU's third NCAA Division I regular season conference title, and first since 2002 (Conference USA), and it is head coach Louis Bennett's sixth league championship overall. Bennett previously led the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to five straight league titles.

Marquette closes the regular season at 9-7-2 and 7-2-0 in the BIG EAST. The Golden Eagles will now host a BIG EAST Men's Soccer Championship quarterfinal match on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 1:05 p.m. against an opponent yet to be determined after earning a first-round bye in the postseason tournament.

Pittsburgh finishes its campaign at 4-13-1 with a 2-7-0 record in the BIG EAST.

The first half didn't feature a whole lot of scoring chances. The only shot on goal of the half came from Manny Morgado, and David Check made a leap to save it comfortably. 

In the 48th minute, Bryan Ciesiulka played C. Nortey in over the top of the defense, but keeper Hami Kara charged and parried away Nortey's second-touch shot.

Following a deflection just a few minutes later, Ryan Brode hit a low, off-balance shot that curled towards the corner of the net. But Check made a full extension dive to deny the Panthers the lead.

Marquette finally struck gold in the 59th minute. Ciesiulka tried to thread a pass through the defense to Nortey, but the pass was blocked by Shane Flowers. However, the ball ricocheted right into the path of Calum Mallace, who blasted a shot into the corner of the net for the match's only goal. It was Mallace's eighth career game-winner.

MU nearly doubled their total in the 71st minute when Andy Huftalin got on the end of a cross from Paul Dillon. Huftalin put a diving header on net, but it went right into arms of Kara.

In the 77th minute, a header from Morgado sailed towards the top corner of the net, but Check made a diving stretch and saved it over the crossbar and back into play for the Golden Eagles to clear.

As time expired, the bench exploded out onto the field, and two Marquette players doused head coach Louis Bennett with the water cooler. 
The win marked Marquette's first ever BIG EAST conference title.

Before the game, Marquette's four seniors, Mallace, Amilcar Herrera, Michael Alfano, and Paul Monsen, were honored for their achievements with the program. 

Possibly the most impressive detail about the title win was that the Golden Eagles were picked sixth in the eight-team Blue Division in the preseason coaches' poll.

Marquette Starters: Check; Dillon, Holowaty, Pothast, Alfano; Robb, Mallace, Ciesiulka, Herrera, Jansson; Nortey (Subs: Lysak, Huftalin)

Pitt Starters: Kara; Cordier, Flowers, Luffy, Iledare; Morgado, Brode, Walbert, Clifford; Akpua, McKenzie (Subs: Prete, Wrobel, Walker)

 Pittsburgh (4-13-1, 2-7-0 BE) vs. Marquette (9-7-2, 7-2-0, BE)
 Date: Oct 29, 2011  Attendance: 472
 Weather: 40 degrees, clear skies, calm

 Goals by period       1  2  Tot
 Pittsburgh..........  0  0 -  0
 Marquette...........  0  1 -  1
  1.  58:12 MU Mallace, Calum (3) (Ciesiulka, Bryan) - Cross by #20 blocked, #10 got loose ball, slotted it inside left post

 Shots: Pittsburgh 12, Marquette 19
 Saves: Pittsburgh 7 (KARA, Hami 6; TEAM 1), Marquette 5 (Check, David
 Marquette clinches first BIG EAST Blue Division championship





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