Senior forward Andy Huftalin was a factor on all four Marquette goals. - MarquetteImages.com
The senior forward scored two goals and assisted on the other two as the #5/#4 Golden Eagles got back to their winning ways.
Through the first half of last night's men's soccer match against Pittsburgh, I thought to myself, "OH NO, I cursed them by comparing Pitt keeper Lee Johnston to Cincinnati's Kristina Utley!" Johnston had three saves in the first 29 minutes of the match and the half ended without anyone getting on the scoreboard.
That's when Andy Huftalin said, "Eff this noise." Huftalin found Bryan Ciesiulka with a cross in the 50th minute to give MU the lead. Huftalin wasn't through, though. He snagged the ball off the reset and buried it into the left corner past Johnston to put the Golden Eagles up 2-0.
Then, in the 78th minute, Ciesiulka returned the favor, getting a cross in to where Huftalin could head it home for his second goal of the half. Huftalin got his sixth point of the half almost on accident, when Ryan Robb was able to collect a deflection of a shot by Huftalin and fire it into the netting for the final tally of the match.
Huftalin's wild night has vaulted him up the Big East's points leader board, where he currently sits in third place at 21 points. He's just three points behind Connecticut's Mamadou Diouf and four points behind Notre Dame's Ryan Finley. Marquette (13-1-0, 4-1-0) closes the regular season with a home-and-home series with the Irish, so with some strong defense and some creative offense, Huftalin could make a serious case for Offensive Player Of The Year.
We can't leave without mentioning the play of Charlie Lyon in net. He only had to make one save in the 27th minute to preserve his eighth clean sheet of the season. More importantly, this moves him within two shutouts of Marquette's single season record for shutouts. Steve McCullough had 10 shutouts for the Golden Eagles in 1994.
Up Next: Seton Hall comes to the Valley in a matinee to make space for the women's team to celebrate Senior Night later in the day.