Marquette Seeks Fourth Straight Win at Saint Louis

Sept. 9, 2016

2016 Marquette Men's Soccer - Match 5
Marquette (3-1-0) at Saint Louis (1-1-1)
Date Saturday, Sept. 10 | 7:00 p.m. CT
Location Hermann Stadium | St. Louis, Mo.
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MILWAUKEE - The Marquette University men's soccer team puts a three-match winning streak on the line when it takes on Saint Louis on the road in the Gateway City Saturday night. The Golden Eagles have scored four goals in each of its last three matches, while holding opponents to just two goals combined during the streak. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Central time.

• Marquette shoots for its first four-match winning streak since 2014 when it travels to Saint Louis to take on the Billikens in its second road match of the 2016 campaign.

• Freshman phenom Luka Prpa made a living in the headlines this week as he collected two National Player of the Week awards and was included in three National Team of the Week lists. He was recognized for his back-to-back six-point performances in the wins over NIU and UIC for the week ending Sept. 4. On Monday, he added a goal and an assist in a 4-1 win over Northwestern.

• Saint Louis returns as a fixture for the first time since 2004 when the Billikens claimed a 3-0 win in Milwaukee. SLU leads the all-time series, 20-3-1, but the last three meetings have been mixed results overall with both sides playing to a scoreless draw in St. Louis in 2003, which followed a 1-0 Marquette win in Milwaukee the year prior.

• The freshman from Wind Lake, Wisconsin entered the season with the hype that comes along with being the highest-touted recruit in MU history and has lived up to the billing. Prpa has 15 points on five goals and five assists in his first four matches with the Blue & Gold. Following back-to-back two-goal, two-assist performances in wins over NIU and UIC, he was named National Player of the Week by the NSCAA and Top Drawer Soccer, while also being included in three National Team of the Week listings.

• His consecutive six-point efforts were a first by an MU player in program history.

• Saint Louis (1-1-1) opened the season by splitting a pair of road matches against ranked opponents, blanking No. 5 Wake Forest, 1-0, to open the 2016 campaign, before falling to No. 8 North Carolina (3-0). In its last time out, Saint Louis played to a 1-1 draw against Tulsa at home.

• Despite having 16 newcomers, including nine true freshmen, the Billikens were picked as the preseason favorite to win the Atlantic-10 Conference for the fourth year in a row, according to the league's head coaches.

• So far in 2016, the Billikens are led offensively by the duo of sophomores Anthony Brown and Grant Owens, who have each garnered A-10 Offensive Player of the Week honors to open the year. The team is led defensively by goalkeeper Sascha Otte, who currently ranks fourth in the nation with 20 career shutouts and is the only junior to crack the top-10.

• Following Saturday's match-up against Saint Louis, MU returns home Wednesday, Sept. 14, hosting UW-Milwaukee in the 44th Annual Milwaukee Cup at Valley Fields. Time Warner Cable Sportschannel will air the contest live with Matt Menzl and Matt Schroeder on the call. Kickoff is at 7:05 p.m.

• The Golden Eagles kept up their winning ways with two more victories to give them three straight and a 3-1 record to start the season. MU allowed an early goal to UIC just 31 seconds into the contest, but responded with four unanswered tallies to go away 4-1. Luka Prpa registered his second straight two-goal, two-assist performances, while Toby Howell and Jan Maertins added goals as well.

• MU flexed its offensive muscle once again, tallying four goals in a third straight game contest and taking down Northwestern at the Valley, 4-1. It was the first meeting since 2012 when NU claimed a stunning 1-0 win in an NCAA second round match-up at the Valley.

• The Golden Eagles left no doubt in the rematch as Prpa made it three consecutive games with a goal and Toby Howell scored for the second time in as many matches. Sophomores Ben Tweedie and Diego Nunez each registered their first career goals in the win as well.

  • Saturday's meeting will mark the first since 2004 when Saint Louis claimed a 3-0 win in Milwaukee. The two teams have met 24 times previously with many of them coming as members of Conference-USA. Overall, Saint Louis holds a 20-3-1 series edge over the Golden Eagles. Marquette last defeated Saint Louis back in 2002, by a 1-0 score at home.

• During MU's current three-match win streak, the Golden Eagles have outscored opponents 12-2. They are outshooting the opposition 44-28 with more than six of those landing on target per match as compared to opponents averaging fewer than three shots on target during the streak.

• Through four matches, MU newcomers have accounted for 25 of the team's 35 points, including nine of 12 goals scored, led by Luka Prpa's 15 points on five goals and five assists.

• In the 4-0 win over NIU, three Marquette freshmen accounted for all four goals and 10 of the 11 points collected - the most points accounted for by a group of MU freshmen in a single game since Louis Bennett took over as head coach in 2006.

Jan Maertins and Connor Alba scored their first career tallies, while Luka Prpa registered two goals and two assists. Prpa's six-point effort was the most by a freshman in a single match since C. Nortey tallied six points with a hat trick in a win over Seton Hall back on Oct. 22, 2011.

• Sophomore Toby Howell, who appeared in all but three matches during his freshman season and registered just one assist throughout the year, has burst onto the scene in 2016. The Bradenton, Florida native ranks second on the team with six points on the year and they've all come in the past two games.

• Howell could not be stopped against UIC on Sept. 2. He controlled possession and was responsible for setting up three of the four goals, being credited with his first career goal and an assist in a 4-1 win. Against Northwestern on Monday, he scored the first goal of the match in the 18th minute on a perfectly-timed header and then assisted Diego Núñez in the 49th with a well-struck cross in front of the net. Howell goes for a three-match point streak against Saint Louis on Saturday.

• Head coach Louis Bennett has injected some international flavor to the 2016 roster as four Europeans are featured among the list of 13 newcomers. Zacharias Andreou (Cyprus), Jan Maertins (Germany), Diego Núñez (Spain), Anton von Hofacker (Norway) are not only succeeding on the pitch, but acclimating very quickly to a new team and culture. All have appeared regularly in matches this season with Maertins netting two match-winners and Núñez also finding the scoresheet.

• Bennett, as well as first-year assistant coach Sean Hughes, both hail from England, while fourth-year assistant coach Marcelo Santos is a native of Brazil.

• The 2016 Marquette squad is one of the youngest teams in BIG EAST Conference as it features the second-youngest overall roster with 12 freshmen and 10 sophomores, ranking right behind St. John's with 16 freshmen and 10 sophomores. Marquette's five upper classmen (2 seniors, 3 juniors) is the fewest of any BIG EAST program by far. St. John's features the second-fewest with eight.




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