Bennett Sees Continued Development In Spring Matches
April 16, 2012
MILWAUKEE - The Marquette University men's soccer team is at the midway point of its 2012 spring exhibition schedule and head coach Louis Bennett is using this spring campaign to develop his players and find the right combination for another successful season next fall.
Along with holding two intra-squad scrimmages, Marquette has squared off with Northern Illinois and UIC so far this spring. MU played NIU to a 0-0 draw on March 24 at Valley Fields before topping the Flames in penalty kicks on April 14 at the Chicago Fire's practice facility at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.
"We are finding ourselves," said Bennett. "On Saturday [against UIC], some guys played like veterans and some guys that aren't veterans didn't play like veterans. I think that finding the right combination, the right mold, is going to be important."
With junior goalkeeper David Check rehabbing injuries this spring, redshirt freshman Charlie Lyon is seeing a majority of the action in net. Lyon made a diving save in the late rounds of penalty kicks against UIC that allowed MU to take the shootout and the match.
"Charlie needs a little bit more game experience. He has been training really really well," said Bennett. "He is a big body, he may not look as acrobatic as David Check, but he is definitely effective."
With 2011 leading scorer C. Nortey also sidelined, senior-to-be striker Andy Huftalin has been taking advantage of his opportunities this spring. Huftalin scored MU's lone goal against UIC then tallied the decisive PK.
Another area that Bennett is addressing this spring is MU's midfield play. With starters Ryan Robb and Bryan Ciesiulka returning to the pitch next fall, it has become a priority of Bennett's to figure out who will play alongside them as the third midfielder.
"It is that consistency and chemistry we are really trying to find," Bennett pointed out. "Spring is about development, is about finding out who are and about how you are going to get it done."
Freshmen DJ Schillinger and James Routledge, as well as sophomores Charlie Hoover and Eric Pothast have all had impressive moments this spring, according to Bennett, and all will be viable options for MU's midfield next fall.
Marquette has three contests on tap for this upcoming week. The squad will travel to Chicago, Ill., on Wednesday, April 18, for a match against Loyola Chicago and on Sunday head to Stevens Point, Wis., to face UW-Parkside.
In between the games with Loyola and UW-Parkside, MU will welcome back its soccer alumni for the annual MU Alumni Game at Valley Fields on Saturday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m.
The Golden Eagles will conclude its spring campaign on Sunday, April 29, when they welcome Green Bay, Milwaukee and Wisconsin to Valley Fields for the Wisconsin D1 Spring Challenge.