Marquette Soccer Travels to BIG EAST Foe Providence
Oct. 25, 2016
MILWAUKEE – The Marquette University men’s soccer team kicks off its final regular season road trip against a streaking Providence squad that has won five straight matches. The Golden Eagles are looking to put an end to that, while trying to keep their BIG EAST tournament prospects intact and spoiling the Friars’ Senior Night ceremony in the process. Kickoff is slated for Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 6:05 p.m. Central time.
Marquette is coming off a big 4-1 upset win over Xavier last Saturday and it doesn’t get any easier down the stretch. Providence has won five straight matches, including four against BIG EAST foes, and sits in third place in the league standings. The Friars snapped a five-match winless skid against the Golden Eagles with a 4-3 win last year in Milwaukee, while Marquette is looking to make it four straight victories against Providence in Rhode Island.
Luka Prpa was honored this week with his third BIG EAST Freshman of the Week award and was selected to a pair of National Teams of the Week by College Soccer News and Top Drawer Soccer after scoring twice in the win over Xavier. Daniel Szczepanek (1g, 2a) and Luis Barraza (9 saves) made the BIG EAST Weekly honor roll for their stellar performances on Saturday as well.
As a team, the Golden Eagles rank 34th nationally, averaging 1.77 goals per contest, which is third in the BIG EAST. The team’s 13.77 shots per game is good for 48th nationally and fifth in the BIG EAST. Individually, Prpa ranks 21st in the nation and second in the BIG EAST with 22 points. That mark bumps up to 12th in the country and first in the BIG EAST with 1.69 points per match through 13 matches. Barraza is 31st nationally and tops in the BIG EAST with 4.70 saves per match.
SCOUTING THE FRIARS
The Friars’ offensive output has been somewhat diminished by the loss of Preseason BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year Mac Steeves, who suffered a season-ending injury after appearing in just two games. Providence ranks seventh in the BIG EAST with 17 goals scored this year, but fortunately boasts another Preseason All-BIG EAST performer in Julian Gressel, who has accounted for nine of the team’s 17 goals this season. In fact, only six Friars have found the back of the net this year with Gressel and (9g, 4a) and Danny Griffin (4 goals) as the only scorers with multiple goals.
Defensively, the Friars rank third in the league with just 12 goals allowed thanks to the brilliant play of their goalkeepers. Colin Miller has received eight of 14 starts for PC and sports a perfect 8-0-0 record with a miniscule 0.37 GAA, while making 28 saves with a .903 save percentage. Ben Seguljic has earned the remaining six starts, going 1-5-0 over that stretch with a 1.45 GAA and a .757 save percentage.
Last season’s meeting saw both teams combine for seven goals. Kelmend Islami scored in the 28th and 32nd minutes to give Marquette a 2-1 lead at halftime, but Klisman Sousa and Julian Gressel each connected within the first 5 minutes of the second half to flip the advantage. It wasn’t until the 86th minute that C. Nortey broke through with a spectacular header, but that was followed by Dominik Machado’s surprising answer just 16 seconds later to give PC a 4-3 win.
PC outshot MU 20-13 in the match and Marquette was unable to take advantage of a 9-5 edge in corner kicks.
COMING UP NEXT
PRPA REELS LEAGUE AND NATIONAL HONORS
Also, earning league recognition were redshirt junior Daniel Szczepanek, who tallied a goal and two assists in the win over Xavier, and sophomore goalkeeper Luis Barraza, who matched a career-high with nine saves in the win.
MARQUETTE HONORED WITH NSCAA TEAM ACADEMIC AWARD
On Oct. 22 against Xavier, a squad that ranked second in the BIG EAST and was receiving votes in the latest NSCAA poll, freshmen Luka Prpa and Connor Alba combined for three goals and an assist, while fellow freshman Patrick Seagrist notched his second assist of the season in the 4-1 victory at Valley Fields.
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 in the win, while 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.
GOLDEN EAGLES IN THE PROS
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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