Men's Soccer Kicks Off BIG EAST Play Saturday

Head coach Louis Bennett and his Golden Eagles are unbeaten in their last four BIG EAST openers. All-Access: Previewing Saturday's BIG EAST Opener

Sept. 26, 2013

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MILWAUKEE -- The Marquette University men's soccer team opens league play Saturday night against BIG EAST Conference newcomer Xavier. Kickoff against the Musketeers is set for 6 p.m. Central time (7 p.m. ET) at Xavier University Soccer Complex in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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Key Storylines
• Saturday's match at Xavier marks the 2013 BIG EAST Conference opener for both teams and the first-ever BIG EAST contest for the Musketeers, one of three newcomers to the recently re-structured league, which features a total of 10 schools.

• Marquette (4-2-1) got back on the winning track with a convincing 3-0 shutout over Loyola Chicago last Saturday in Milwaukee. The Golden Eagles have won four of their last five matches while out-scoring their opponents by a combined margin of 11-3 over that stretch.

• Xavier (3-3-2) is unbeaten in its last five matches with three wins and a pair of draws after three consecutive losses to open the season. The Muskeeteers are coming off a 1-0 win at cross-town rival Cincinnati on Wednesday night.

• MU's trip to Cincinnati to face Xavier this weekend marks the start of a season-long three-game road swing for the Golden Eagles, who'll travel next to in-state rival Wisconsin (Oct. 2) and Villanova (Oct. 5) before returning home to host Butler on Oct. 9.

• Marquette is 3-3-2 all-time in BIG EAST openers since joining the league in 2005. The Golden Eagles have gotten off to a fast start over the past few years, winning their first BIG EAST match-up in each of the last three seasons and are unbeaten in their last four. Marquette topped DePaul 5-0 in last year's league lidlifter at Valley Fields. MU's last loss to open a BIG EAST campaign was a 4-1 setback at then No. 5-ranked Notre Dame on Sept. 11, 2008.

About the Marquette Golden Eagles (4-2-1, 0-0-0 BIG EAST)
Louis Bennett is in his eighth year as head coach at Marquette. The Golden Eagles are coming off a 16-4-1 overall mark in 2012. MU welcomed a nationally ranked recruiting class in 2013 while returning nine starters and a number of key reserves from last year's squad.

• Eight different Marquette players have found the back of the net this season, led by freshman Louis Bennett II and redshirt sophomore C. Nortey with three goals apiece. Marquette's 15 goals through seven games ranks 15th in NCAA Division I entering this week and is first in the BIG EAST. MU's goal production has come without the services of All-American attacking midfielder Bryan Ciesiulka, who suffered a head injury in the season opener and has missed the last six matches.

Scouting the Xavier Musketeers (3-3-2, 0-0-0 BIG EAST)
• Xavier is coached by Andy Fleming who is in his fourth season at the helm. Fleming led the Musketeers to a 14-3-5 overall mark in 2012, which included the program's third trip to the NCAA tournament as a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Senior midfielder Matt Walker has already accumulated 11 points on three goals and five assists through the team's first eight matches. His twin brother Will Walker, a fellow Columbus Crew Academy product, is second on the squad with five points (2g, 1a). Goalkeeper Eric Osswald posted his third clean sheet in seven matches in Wednesday's 1-0 win at Cincinnati and boasts a 0.84 goals against average for the season.

Series History
• While the two sides have met each of the last two pre-seasons, Saturday's match at Xavier University Soccer Complex will be the first regular-season meeting between Marquette and the Musketeers since the 2007 campaign. MU has won all three of its matches against Xavier in a series that dates back to 1987. Marquette defeated the Muskeeteers 5-1 the last time the two sides played in Cincinnati back on Sept. 16, 1990.

Marquette's Last Time Out
• Marquette scored three times in the second half en route to a 3-0 win over Loyola Chicago in front of a capacity crowd at Valley Fields. It was goalkeeper Charlie Lyon's third shutout of the season. Freshman Coco Navarro had two assists and Louis Bennett II, C. Nortey and Adam Lysak tallied goals for the Golden Eagles.

New Look BIG EAST Conference Features 10 Schools
The BIG EAST Conference was re-structured in summer 2013 and features 10 schools. In addition to existing members DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Providence, St. John's, Seton Hall and Villanova, the league has added Butler, Creighton and Xavier. No longer with the league are Louisville, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Rutgers, USF, Connecticut and Pittsburgh.




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