2013-2014: Looking Back At A Historic Year
June 17, 2014
MILWAUKEE - The Marquette University men's soccer team concluded a historic campaign in 2013, as the team captured its first BIG EAST tournament championship in program history and won a share of its second BIG EAST regular season title in three years. The Golden Eagles also advanced to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Division I Men's Soccer Championship, following their first NCAA tournament win in program history.
Led by eighth-year head coach Louis Bennett, MU finished the season ranked No. 12 in the nation by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) after posting a 13-6-2 (6-2-1 BIG EAST) record. The team also earned its fifth-consecutive NSCAA Team Academic Award for its performance inside the classroom.
Marquette kicked off the 2013 season against in-state rivals Milwaukee and Green Bay, tallying a 0-1-1 record on the opening weekend.
The Golden Eagles started to get the ball rolling during the 2013 Panther Invitational, as they won the championship and registered a 7-1 goal differential in their matches against Bowling Green and Drake. Defenseman Axel Sjoberg scored one goal over the course of the weekend and was named the tournament's MVP. The six-foot-seven Swedish defender's stellar sophomore season was also highlighted by a BIG EAST Men's Soccer Championship Most Outstanding Defensive Player award, an All-BIG EAST First Team distinction and NSCAA/Continental Tire Men's NCAA Division I All-Great Lakes Region Second Team honors.
Marquette followed up its victory in the Panther Invitational by going 1-1-0 in the BIG EAST-Big Ten challenge, beating Michigan on the road before falling to Michigan State at Valley Fields.
MU improved to 4-2-1 on the season with a dominating 3-0 win over Loyola Chicago at home before embarking on a three-game road trip. First, the Golden Eagles took down Xavier 1-0 in their first BIG EAST match, thanks to an early C. Nortey goal. It was the redshirt sophomore's first game-winning tally of the season, but by the end of the year, Nortey would be no stranger to clutch moments. In 2013, the Ghanaian striker notched the decisive goal in five of the team's 13 wins and was named to the All-BIG EAST First Team, as well as the NSCAA/Continental Tire Men's NCAA Division I All-Great Lakes Region First Team.
Marquette entered its match at rival Wisconsin on a 220-minute shutout streak, but had it snapped in the 71st minute as the Badgers won 1-0. Nortey then provided a bit of drama with a golden goal in MU's 1-0 victory over Villanova, as the team improved to 6-3-1 overall and 2-0-0 in conference.
When the Golden Eagles returned to Valley Fields to take on Butler, Nortey played the role of hero yet again, tallying his second-consecutive golden goal in Marquette's 3-2 victory. Just three days later, when Creighton came to town, Nortey made it a perfect four-for-four with game-winners in BIG EAST matches, scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 MU victory.
The Golden Eagles continued their winning ways at Providence, earning a 1-0 victory that propelled the team up to No. 16 in the NSCAA rankings. Freshman Louis Bennett II was the only player to find the back of the net that day and finished the season tied for second on the team with four goals. He was rewarded for his performance in 2013 when he became the only unanimous selection to the BIG EAST All-Rookie team and received an All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention.
MU then traveled to St. John's and played 110 minutes of scoreless soccer, as the game ended in a 0-0 draw. It was the third-consecutive match in which goalkeeper Charlie Lyon and the Marquette defense held their opponent scoreless.
In 2013, Lyon tied a program record with 10 shutouts for the second year in a row, a feat that earned him First Team All-BIG EAST honors, a share of the BIG EAST Goalkeeper of the Year award and a spot on the NSCAA/Continental Tire Men's NCAA Division I All-Great Lakes Region Third Team. Off the pitch, Lyon was named to the Capital One Academic All-America First Team and won the BIG EAST Men's Scholar Athlete of the Year Award.
Lyon's shutout streak was ended in Marquette's 1-0 overtime loss to Georgetown at Valley Fields on Oct. 26. However, the Golden Eagles bounced back from their first conference loss in a 2-1 home victory over Seton Hall on Senior Night.
Marquette concluded its regular season with a heartbreaking 2-1 loss at DePaul, but the team still earned a share of the BIG EAST regular season title and the No. 2 seed in the 2013 BIG EAST Men's Soccer Championship. Following their first round bye, the Golden Eagles played Butler in the semifinals and were propelled into the championship game by an Adam Lysak golden goal.
In the final, MU defeated Providence 3-2, securing the program's first BIG EAST tournament championship. Lysak scored the decisive goal yet again, and was named the BIG EAST Men's Soccer Championship Most Outstanding Offensive Player for his efforts. Lysak, Lyon and Sjoberg also were all placed on the BIG EAST Men's Soccer Championship All-Tournament Team.
The Golden Eagles secured an NCAA Championship bid for the second season in a row and hosted Akron in the second round of the tournament. Freshman Coco Navarro, who was named to the BIG EAST All-Rookie team, gave MU its first NCAA Championship victory in program history with a golden goal in the waning moments of the first overtime period.
Marquette's historic season came to a close in its third-round match against Virginia. Despite playing with only 10 men for 89 minutes, the Cavaliers defeated the Golden Eagles 3-1 to advance to the quarterfinals.
Following the conclusion of the 2013 campaign, team co-captain Bryan Ciesiulka became the second MU player to be drafted into the MLS (Calum Mallace, 2012) when he was selected by his hometown Chicago Fire in the fourth round. During his senior season, Ciesiulka earned All-BIG EAST First Team honors, won a share of the BIG EAST Midfielder of the Year award and was named a Senior CLASS Award First Team All-American.
Other players who garnered notable individual accomplishments include Eric Pothast, who earned an All-BIG EAST Honorable Mention, and Paul Dillon, who was a member of the College Sports Madness All-BIG EAST Second Team.
Marquette will look to defend its BIG EAST regular season and tournament titles in 2014, the program's 50th year of competition.