Marquette Soccer Hosts DePaul on Senior Night Thursday

Nov. 2, 2016

2016 Marquette Men's Soccer - Match 16
Marquette (4-7-4, 1-5-2 BIG EAST) vs. DePaul (9-6-2, 4-4-0 BIG EAST)
Date Thursday, Nov. 3 | 7:05 p.m. CT
Location Valley Fields | Milwaukee
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MILWAUKEE – Thursday night will be Senior Night for John Pothast and Mac Wheeler as the Marquette University men’s soccer team closes out the 2016 campaign at Valley Fields against DePaul at 7:05 p.m. Central time.

The Last Meeting
November 5, 2015
Chicago, Ill.
Marquette Closes Out 2015 with Setback at DePaul
The Marquette University men's soccer team closed out the 2015 regular season against DePaul University on the road and the Blue Demons used two first-half goals en route to a 3-0 victory Thursday afternoon, Nov. 5.

The Golden Eagles (4-7-4, 1-5-2 BIG EAST) look to play the role of spoiler against the Blue Demons (9-6-2, 4-4-0 BIG EAST), who need a win or a Georgetown loss or tie to secure the sixth and final spot in the BIG EAST Conference tournament.

Marquette is coming off its most difficult stretch of matches this season as the previous four matches (No. 6 Creighton, Xavier, Providence, No. 15 Butler) have come against teams that were top-two in the league standings at the start of the match or vaulted as high at the conclusion, including Providence and Butler, which currently sit atop the conference standings, respectively.

Freshman midfielder Luka Prpa has been Marquette’s brightest star this season with 24 points on nine goals and six assists. He currently ranks third in the BIG EAST behind a pair of seniors, Julian Gressel (Providence) and David Goldsmith (Butler), who are tied with 25 points on the year. Prpa, the front-runner for the league’s Freshman of the Year award ranks in the top-20 nationally in total points and is 16th overall in points per game (1.60).

His header in the final seconds on Saturday was saved off the goal line by a Butler defender as the No. 15 Bulldogs hung on for the narrow 2-1 victory. Butler scored a goal in each half to erase sophomore Diego Núñez’s sixth-minute tally that initially gave the Golden Eagles a 1-0 advantage on the road. Sophomore goalkeeper Luis Barraza made seven saves in the loss and currently ranks first in the league and 26th in the nation with 4.67 saves per game this season.

Simon Megally leads a DePaul squad searching for its 10th victory of the season, which would secure its second straight trip to the BIG EAST tournament. Megally is one of nine Blue Demons to find the back of the net this season, leading the way with 19 points on seven goals and five assists. Erik Rodriguez is tied for the team lead in goals to go along with five helpers, while Quinton Low has recorded every decision for DePaul in net, sporting a 1.09 goals against average with a .759 save percentage.

DePaul (9-6-2, 4-4-0 BIG EAST) started the season 0-3 in conference play, but has come roaring back with a 4-1 stretch entering Thursday’s regular season finale and will aim for its 10th win of the season and a trip to the BIG EAST tournament for the second year in a row. The Blue Demons have won back-to-back 1-0 results, knocking off Butler in the final 5 seconds of double-overtime back on Oct. 26 before taking down St. John’s on the road with an extra-time goal as well last time out.

Nine different Blue Demons have netted goals this season, led by senior forwards Simon Megally and Erik Rodriguez, who each have scored seven goals. Megally has added five assists to rank fifth in the conference in total points with 19.

In net, junior Quentin Low has appeared in all 17 games for DePaul, posting a 1.09 goals against average with a .759 save percentage. He has four shutouts, including three in the previous four starts, and his 3.53 saves per game is second only to Marquette’s Luis Barazza’s 4.67 average.

The Golden Eagles hold a commanding edge in the all-time series, leading DePaul 24-5-1 in a series that dates back to 1982. Marquette is 13-1 all-time at home with the lone Blue Demon win taking place at Valley Fields back in 2006. The last time both teams met at Valley Fields in 2014, the Golden Eagles won 4-0.

DePaul has seen much of its success in the series over the previous seven seasons as it is 5-2 over that stretch, including 4-0 at home where last season’s meeting took place. It too was the final regular season match for both squads as the Blue Demons came out on top, 3-0, at Wish Field and clinched a BIG EAST tournament berth for the first time since 2011.

Marquette fell to No. 15 Butler, 2-1, on Saturday in Indianapolis. Sophomore Diego Núñez provided the Golden Eagles with an early lead in the sixth minute of play. Núñez scored his second career goal, converting a Butler turnover into a beautiful blast that flew over the leaping keeper and found the back of the net just under the crossbar. However, Butler responded with a goal of its own just 10 minutes later followed by the match-winner in the 66th minute.

Freshman Luka Prpa had a chance in the final seconds, directing a header on frame with the goalie out of position, but a Butler defender was there to make the foot save as time expired. Marquette sophomore goalkeeper Luis Barraza made seven saves in the contest.

Marquette seniors John Pothast and Mac Wheeler will be honored in a pre-game ceremony on Thursday. Both have played a role in the most successful years of Marquette men’s soccer, highlighted by a pair of regular season BIG EAST championships, one BIG EAST tournament title and back-to-back NCAA postseason appearances, including a 2013 run to the Sweet 16.

John, a native of Lake Zurich, Illinois, will graduate in December with degress in marketing and supply chain management. Mac, a native of Waukesha, Wisconsin, will also graduate in December with a degree in biomedical sciences.

Redshirt sophomore Danny Jarosz (3.79 GPA; Accounting/Operation Supply Chain Management) and redshirt junior Daniel Szczepanek (3.70 GPA; Accounting) were named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District 6 Team for the first time. Jarosz and Szczepanek join a long list of Marquette student-athletes to earn this prestigious honor. Just two years ago, former MU standouts Charlie Lyon and Axel Sjoberg capped off multiple years honored to the All-District team.

To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must have a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.0 while playing in at least 50 percent of the team’s games.

Luka Prpa is one point shy of the league-lead in the BIG EAST Conference with 24 points on nine goals and six assists. He has four goals and an assists in his previous five contests (All BIG EAST opponents) entering Thursday night’s finale.

The Wind Lake, Wisconsin native was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Week for the third time this season and landed on the College Soccer News and Top Drawer Soccer National Teams of the Week for the second time this year following his two-goal performance in a win over then-second place Xavier on Oct. 22.

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.

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 15 matches, MU newcomers have accounted for 51 of the team’s 72 points, including 19 of 25 goals scored, led by Luka Prpa’s 24 points on nine goals and six assists.

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, 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.

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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