Marquette Hosts Xavier on Alumni Day Saturday

Oct. 20, 2016

2016 Marquette Men's Soccer - Match 13
Marquette (3-5-4, 0-3-2 BIG EAST) vs. Xavier (7-4-3, 3-1-1 BIG EAST)
Date Saturday, Oct. 22 | 7:05 p.m. CT
Location Valley Fields | Milwaukee
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MILWAUKEE – The Marquette University men’s soccer team will welcome many of its alumni back to Valley Fields on Saturday, Oct. 22, when it takes on Xavier at 7:05 p.m. Central time. The match is the penultimate regular season home game for the Golden Eagles and it will be broadcast live on the BIG EAST Digital Network via FOX Sports GO and the FOX Sports GO app.

The Golden Eagles (3-5-4, 0-3-2 BIG EAST) are coming off a strong second-half performance against No. 6-ranked Creighton on the road last Saturday, but still came up on the short end of a 2-1 setback. Sophomore goalkeeper Luis Barraza was fantastic once again, making several dazzling saves, but even his best effort was unable to stop a tricky deflection off a Ricardo Perez free kick in the 80th minute that went down as the match-winner.

The Last Meeting
October 24, 2015
Cincinnati, Ohio
Xavier Tops Marquette Soccer in OT, 1-0
Despite a spirited effort at both ends of the pitch by the Marquette University men's soccer team, host Xavier University escaped with a narrow 1-0 result on Matt Vasquenza's game winner in the 95th minute at the XU Soccer Complex Saturday evening, Oct. 24.

Trailing by a goal and without a single shot in the first half, Marquette responded by outplaying the nationally-ranked Bluejays to the tune of an 8-3 shots advantage and the majority of possession in the final 45 minutes. Freshmen Jan Maertins and Luka Prpa teamed up in the 72nd minute to level the match at 1-1 as Maertins collected his third goal of the season and Prpa, with an assist, ran his point total to a team-leading 18 points.

With four regular season matches remaining, the Golden Eagles eye a strong finish to insert themselves into the BIG EAST tournament conversation. The Musketeers (7-4-3, 3-1-1 BIG EAST) enter Valley Fields winless in their previous two contests.

Xavier enters Saturday’s contest ranked second in the BIG EAST standings with a 7-4-3 overall mark, including a 3-1-1 record in league play. The Musketeers are coming off a 1-1 draw to Villanova on Saturday followed by a 1-0 loss to SIU-Edwardsville in their non-conference finale on Tuesday. Prior to those two results, the Musketeers had won three straight and were receiving votes in the NSCAA Top 25 poll, while being ranked No. 24 according to Top Drawer Soccer. XU has faced three NSCAA Top 25 teams this season, going 0-1-2.

Xavier has outscored its opponents 21-14 on the season with nine players finding the back of the net. Senior Jalen Brown leads the offensive charge for the Musketeers with 13 points, including five goals with a game-winner against Georgetown back on Sept. 24. Matt Vasquenza is second on the team with 10 points on three goals and four assists, while Matt Nance (3g, 3a) and Majed Osman (2g, 5a) are both tied with nine points.

Sophomore Colin Hanley has earned the majority of time in net with nine appeareances, including eight starts, and boasts a 5-3-1 record with four shutouts and a sterling 0.67 goals against average. Splitting time with Hanley has been senior Jake Ciricillo, who has six appearances, including five starts, with a 2-0-2 overall record and a 1.23 goals against average. Both split time in a 1-1 draw against Villanova last Saturday, while Hanley took the 1-0 loss against SIU-E on Tuesday.

Marquette and Xavier will meet for the seventh time as MU leads the all-time series with a 4-2-0 record. The Musketeers have won each of the past two meetings, including last season’s 1-0 overtime triumph in Cincinnati. Matt Vasquenza’s goal in the 95th minute lifted Xavier despite Marquette holding the advantage in shots (12-10), shots on goal (6-3) and corner kicks (9-6).

Each of the last three meetings have ended in 1-0 scores with last year’s contest being the first overtime result in the series. Marquette is 2-1 against Xavier at home, winning the first-ever meeting back in 1987, 3-1, followed by a 2-1 victory in 2007, and a 1-0 setback in their most recent meeting at Valley Fields in 2014.

Following Saturday’s match against Xavier, Marquette will hit the road for the final time this season with a pair of BIG EAST contests against Providence (Oct. 26) and Butler (Oct. 29).

Many Marquette Soccer alumni will make their return to Valley Fields when the Golden Eagles take on Xavier on Saturday, Oct. 22. As the 53rd season in program history comes to a close, the soccer program at Marquette is grateful for every one of its past and present players who have left an indelible mark on the program.

For the eighth year in a row, the Marquette men’s soccer team earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award, having compiled a cumulative grade point average of 3.26 for the 2015-16 academic year. Back in July, the team placed 19 of its student-athletes on the BIG EAST All-Academic Team, which was the fourth-most of any program at Marquette.

Through 11 matches, MU newcomers have accounted for 38 of the team’s 54 points, including 14 of 19 goals scored, led by Luka Prpa’s 18 points on six goals and six assists.

Against No. 6 Creighton on Oct. 15, it was the freshmen connection of Prpa assisting Jan Maertins for the equalizer in the 72nd minute. It was Maertins’s third goal of the season.

Back on Aug. 29, Marquette claimed a 4-0 win over NIU and three MU 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. He would add another two-goal, two-assist performance in a 4-1 win over UIC (Sept. 2) the following match and was awarded appropriately with NSCAA and College Soccer News National Player of the Week honors.

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.

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.

Louis Bennett II is just the latest Marquette signee to earn a professional contract overseas, joining 2015 alumnus C. Nortey (Akademisk Boldklub/ Denmark), 2010 grad Matt Pyzdrowski (Helsingborgs IF/Sweden) and former recruit Andrija Novakovic (Reading FC/England), who signed prior to what would have been his freshman season in 2014.

The Golden Eagles also feature three additional alumni grads currently under contract in Major League Soccer with Calum Mallace(Montreal Impact) currently in his fifth season, and Axel Sjoberg (Colorado Rapids) and Charlie Lyon (Seattle Sounders) each in their second seasons in 2016.




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