Kelmend Islami and the men's soccer team has their eyes set on a long post season run. - Maggie Casey/MarquetteImages.com
The men's soccer team opens up the Big East Championship tonight at Valley Fields!
The #10/#7 Marquette Golden Eagles get their post season started tonight as they host the Cincinnati Bearcats in the first round of the 2012 Big East Championship. MU ended up with the 4th seed in the Blue Division after finishing in a tie for third place with Notre Dame, but losing the tiebreaker after going 0-1-1 against the Irish in the last week of the season. The match starts at 7pm in the Valley, but if you can't make it down, be sure to listen to WMUR's Matt Trebby call the action.
As for the Bearcats, they're the 5th seed in the Red Division after finishing 3-3-2 in Big East play and 6-8-2 overall. Would you believe that Cincy finished dead last in the Big East in goals this season? They managed just 12 goals for the season, but because of eight shutouts, they've made a post season appearance. A full 25% of their goals came from sophomore forward Cole De Normandie, who added four assists to his three goals. Taylor Hafling has done an outstanding job in net, as evidenced by those eight shutouts this year. His defense in front of him is slightly suspect, though, as Hafling has a goals-against average of 0.99 and is tied for the Big East lead in saves with Villanova's John Fogarty at 79.
This will be the first meeting between Marquette and Cincinnati since 2009, where Marquette won 1-0 in double overtime at Valley Fields when Calum Mallace buried a direct kick from 22 yards out with just five seconds left on the clock.
The winner of tonight's match will move on to face #14/#18 Louisville this Saturday. The Cardinals are the #1 seed in the Red Division after finishing Big East play with a record of 7-1-0.