Aug. 31, 2017
MILWAUKEE -- The Marquette University men's soccer team is set to host a pair of NCAA tournament qualifiers from last season as UIC (Friday) and New Mexico (Monday) invade Milwaukee for the first regular season home matches at Valley Fields in 2017. Friday's start time is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Central time and will feature a free petting zoo before and during the match.
• The Golden Eagles kicked off their 54th season in program history with a heartbreaking 1-0 overtime loss to Kentucky on the road. The ‘Cats scored the match-winner off their ninth corner kick of the night in the 99th minute to stun Marquette. MU out-shot UK, 11-9.
• Six newcomers made their Marquette debut on Friday, including three freshmen and three transfers, with five cracking the starting line-up. In all, MU welcomed 10 newcomers to the roster in 2017, including six freshmen.
• Marquette opens up play at Valley Fields with UIC and New Mexico this weekend, completing a stretch of three-straight 2016 NCAA tournament qualifiers to open the 2017 slate.
• MU is 6-4-1 all-time versus UIC, including a 4-1 road victory over the Flames last season. Marquette and New Mexico will meet for the first time on Monday.
LAST TIME OUT
• MU dropped a heart breaker to perennial NCAA participant Kentucky on the road last Friday, falling 1-0 in OT. The Golden Eagles out-shot the Wildcats, 11-9, and had a flurry of chances at the end of regulation, but were unable to find that elusive first goal. The ‘Cats took advantage of the last of nine corner kick attempts when their match-winner came off the said set piece in the 99th minute.
• Martin Alba led the way with three shots on the night, while Luka Prpa and Grant Owens each added a pair of shots on target. Luis Barraza made four saves in a strong effort in net.
SCOUTING THE FLAMES
• UIC is coming off a pair of impressive showings last weekend to open the 2017 season, falling 1-0 in overtime to No. 25 Butler before a 3-2 double-overtime victory over DePaul. The defending Horizon League champs were picked to finish second behind Oakland this season by the league’s coaches despite earning the most (6) first-place votes in the preseason poll.
• The Flames responded well after surrendering a 95th minute overtime goal to Butler in the season opener, following it up with a 3-2 double-overtime win after out-shooting DePaul 20-10 in the match. Trailing 2-0 just after halftime, UIC evened the score with an own goal and penalty in the 54th and 79th minutes, respectively. The match-winner came in the 106th minute off the boot of Max Todd.
• UIC went 9-8-3, including a 5-3-1 league mark to finish second in the Horizon League regular season, but the Flames were able to capture the league tournament title to advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2008. They drew league rival and No. 17 Loyola Chicago in the first round, falling 2-0, on the road. The Flames return 13 letterwinners and six starters in 2017.
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. UIC
• In a series that dates back to Marquette’s first-ever season in 1964, Friday marks the 12th meeting all-time and second in as many seasons with MU leading the all-time series 6-4-1.
• Luka Prpa’s second consecutive six-point effort paced MU to its second straight win in the series as the team scored four unanswered goals en route to a 4-1 triumph in the 2016 road opener. MU out-shot UIC, 16-13, and Luis Barraza made four saves to secure the win.
• MU is 4-1-0 all-time at home against UIC. The previous match-up in MKE came back in 2012 when Eric Pothast headed home the match-winner off a Bryan Ciesiulka corner kick in the 40th minute. It was MU’s third win to open the season and came in the midst of its magical 12-game season opening winning streak.
TREND SETTING HOPEFULS
• The Golden Eagles opened the regular season with a heartbreaking 1-0 overtime loss to Kentucky on the road, falling to 4-8-0 in season openers under head coach Louis Bennett. However, MU brings much better success in home openers, entering Friday with a 7-3-2 mark since 2005 and unbeaten in four of its last five home lid-lifters overall.
• After being shut out in their third straight season opener, the Golden Eagles hope to continue a recent trend having posted two consecutive four-goal performances in their second match of the season during both the 2015 (4-2 vs. Portland) and 2016 (4-0 vs. NIU) campaigns. Their second opponent of 2017 is UIC, which MU beat 4-1 on the road last season.
SCOUTING NEW MEXICO
• The Lobos had a tough opening weekend on the road as they dropped both match-ups at No. 11 Washington (2-1) and Seattle (1-0). The losses knocked NMU out of the top-25 rankings after which it debuted No. 20 in the United Coaches’ Poll. The Lobos return 14 letterwinners, including five starters, to a squad that captured the Conference USA tournament title and qualified for the NCAA tournament in 2016. They were picked to finish second in the league behind Charlotte according to the annual survey by the league’s head coaches. Sophomore defenders Tom Smart and Matthew Constant were each selected to the All-C-USA Preseason Team.
• NMU averaged just seven shots in the two losses to open the season with the team’s lone goal coming against No. 11 Washington in the 87th minute off the boot of Luke Lawrence. The Lobos host UNLV in its home opener on Friday, Sept. 1, before traveling to MKE to face Marquette.
ALL-TIME SERIES VS. NEW MEXICO
• Monday’s match-up marks the first-ever meeting between both sides and the second Conference-USA opponent for the Golden Eagles in 2017 after taking on Kentucky in the opener.
SIX MAKE MARQUETTE DEBUTS IN SEASON OPENER
• Six Golden Eagles made their Marquette debut vs. Kentucky on Aug. 25, including three freshmen and three transfers, with five earning starting assignments. Freshmen defenders Manuel Cukaj and Brendan Skinner started at center back, while fellow freshman and midfielder Christian Albelo came off the bench. Senior transfer Brody Kraussel (Loyola-Chicago) and junior transfer Grant Owens (Saint Louis) started up top with junior transfer Steffen Böhm (FIU) earning a start at right back.
MEN’S SOCCER EXCELS IN THE CLASSROOM
• The Marquette men’s soccer team placed 12 student-athletes on the BIG EAST Conference All-Academic Team. MU as a whole placed nearly 200 student-athletes recognized by the league for the 2016-17 academic year.
BIG EAST IN THE POLLS
• BIG EAST favorite Providence had a tough opening weekend after losses to No. 2 Wake Forest and No. 4 North Carolina and, as a result, fell out of the United Soccer Coaches poll after debuting at No. 12. Butler moved up eight spots to No. 17, while Creighton fell nine spots to No. 23. Georgetown is receiving votes after an opening night win over American.
• The league sent four teams to the NCAA tournament in 2016 with Villanova joining the three aforementioned teams. Following a Sweet 16 match-up of league schools, Providence defeated Creighton before its dream run ended with a double overtime loss to UNC in the Elite 8.
ALL 2017 MATCHES STREAMED LIVE, SIX FEATURED ON BEDN
• For the first time in program history, all 16 regular season Marquette Soccer matches will be televised or streamed live, including six league contests on the BIG EAST Digital Network (BEDN). All other matches to be streamed via GoMarquette.com (Free), ESPN3, ACC Network, BTN Plus or televised locally on Spectrum Sports.
• All three rounds of the BIG EAST Conference tournament (Nov. 4-12) will also be featured on BEDN with the championship available nationally via FOX Sports 2.
PRPA VOTED PRESEASON ALL-BIG EAST; MU PICKED SEVENTH
• The reigning BIG EAST Conference Freshman of the Year and leading returning points scorer Luka Prpa was MU’s only player selected to the Preseason All-BIG EAST squad. Prpa led Marquette in 2016 with 10 goals and six assists, finishing second in points only to Offensive Player of the Year Julian Gressel, who finished the regular season with 27 points.
• Fellow Providence striker Mac Steeves, who is coming off an injury-riddled 2016, was named Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, while Xavier’s Cory Brown and Georgetown’s JT Marcinkowski earned similar distinction as defensive player and goalkeeper, respectively.
• Providence was picked as the unanimous favorite to repeat as BIG EAST Champions, while Marquette was picked to finish seventh.
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