Marquette Soccer Kicks Off 2017 Season at Kentucky
Aug. 24, 2017
MILWAUKEE — The Marquette University men’s soccer team is set to begin its 53rd season when it travels to Kentucky on Friday. The Golden Eagles welcome back eight of 11 starters and 10 newcomers to a young, but veteran, squad.
Marquette suffered a few key losses from last year’s team, most notably at the center back position with the retirement of Danny Jarosz and graduation of All-BIG EAST second team performer John Pothast. Head coach Louis Bennett, entering his 12th season at the helm, will need to count on newcomers to reestablish a fortified backline.
Led by two-year starting goalkeeper Luis Barraza, the backline returns a couple mainstays in sophomore Patrick Seagrist, who started all 16 games for MU at left back a season ago, and junior Ruben Sanchez, who rotated between his natural holding midfield position and center back as needed. Joining the fray is a mix of youth and veteran presence in freshmen newcomers Brendan Skinner and Manuel Cukaj as well as FIU junior transfer Steffen Böhm. The defense will be forced to gel quickly as Marquette faces a challenging schedule out of the gate featuring teams with NCAA tournament pedigree in two of the season’s first three matches with Kentucky and New Mexico, which is ranked as high as No. 20 in the United Soccer Coaches Preseason Poll.
The Golden Eagles return the BIG EAST’s leading returning scorer from last season in reigning freshman of the year Luka Prpa. The West Lake, Wisconsin, native is the lone All-BIG EAST Preseason Team selection for the Golden Eagles in 2017 after scoring 10 goals and six assists. Prpa will once again be leaned on to carry the team in scoring with a little added help as MU returns veteran redshirt senior and co-captain Daniel Szczepanek and sophomore Connor Alba, who added 10 points apiece in 2016. Experienced add-ons like senior transfer and Milwaukee native Brody Kraussel (Loyola Chicago), as well as redshirt junior Grant Owens (Saint Louis) and senior Jason Davis (Loughborough/England) should give Bennett’s squad the scoring lift needed.
Bennett will also look to freshman newcomer Christian Albelo to make an immediate impact in the midfield. The Alexandria, Virginia, native is the highest-ranked recruit in program history and played internationally in Germany for Bundesliga academy clubs TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and FC Kaiserslatuern. Alongside Prpa, he joins redshirt junior and co-captain Martin Alba in the midfield.
The Golden Eagles face a tough 2017 slate that features six NCAA tournament qualifiers and five programs that received a preseason ranking. However, Marquette will have home field advantage in many of those matchups, taking on four such opponents at Valley Fields, including all three ranked BIG EAST teams (Butler, Creighton, Providence).
After finishing tied for eighth in the BIG EAST in 2016, the Golden Eagles were picked to finish seventh in a survey of the league’s head coaches. Bennett’s squad eyes a return to the BIG EAST tournament for the first time since 2014.
Marquette opens regular season play at Kentucky Friday, Aug. 25 at 6:30 p.m. Central time. The regular season home opener at Valley Fields comes a week later against UIC at 6:05 p.m. CT.
GOMARQUETTE.COM THE OFFICIAL HOME OF MARQUETTE ATHLETICS