MU 'Springs' Forward Against Solid Competition
April 16, 2014
MILWAUKEE - Five games into its 2014 spring schedule, the Marquette University men's soccer team is gaining valuable experience against strong competition, molding the team into what head coach Louis Bennett and his staff have envisioned.
"The goal this spring is to put a challenge and a level of uncomfort right out in front of all the team," said Bennett. "We have stressed the team out, so that they'll feel under pressure when it comes around to the fall. We as coaches have put them through a lot of adversity."
The stress started when the Golden Eagles began their spring schedule March 29 in Indianapolis where they were defeated by the NASL's Indy Eleven, who are playing in its first season after being established in 2013.
The Indy Eleven squad features seasoned professionals most notably Kleberson, who is coming off stints as a midfielder for Manchester United and the Philadelphia Union and also was a member of the 2002 Brazil FIFA World Cup championship team.
Following the loss in Indianapolis, the Golden Eagles returned to Milwaukee on April 2 for an afternoon match at Valley Fields vs. Cardinal Stritch and an evening road matchup with crosstown rival Milwaukee. Marquette was able to relieve some stress by defeating Cardinal Stritch in convincing fashion, but dropped the latter portion of the doubleheader at Engelmann Field.
Goalkeeper Charlie Lyon made an appearance at center back against Cardinal Stritch, slicing in a header off of a corner for a goal and tacked on an assist as well.
After the doubleheader, the intensity of playing professionals was ramped back up as the Golden Eagles traveled down I-94 E to Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill. to take on the Chicago Fire's reserves.
Despite dropping decisions against both professional squads Marquette faced, Bennett and his coaching staff are more than walking with their chins held high.
"Going away into hostile environments ... even though it may not look positive in the wins-losses column, but in terms of the experience, we are finding positives from that," said Bennett.
Marquette then headed west to Omaha, Neb. to face Creighton on April 12 for its annual "Kicks For A Cure" event. All proceeds of the event were donated to cancer research. In its eight years, the event has drawn big crowds to Creighton's Morrison Stadium and has raised nearly $1.5 million.
"It's been an evaluation period under difficult, challenging situations," said Bennett. "Providing some strong obstacles was our goal in putting the schedule together."
The final contests of the Blue and Gold's 2014 spring slate is scheduled for April 26, when they host the Wisconsin Division I Spring Challenge and take on in-state rival the Wisconsin Badgers at Valley Fields. Milwaukee and Green Bay will also be participating in the event.