Does the pressure on Charlie Lyon and the Marquette defense increase the further removed they get from the last goal allowed on their watch? Or having obliterated the scoreless streak record for the program is every minute added just icing on a large cake?
On Saturday evening at Valley Fields, with 50 years of program alumni in attendance (including Jim Welch who holds the career shutout record at Marquette), the Golden Eagles did not yield to the pressure or a feisty Red Storm team.
With St. John's and Marquette neck and neck for least number of goals scored in the Big East, it was no surprise when the first half turned into whatever the soccer equivalent of a pitcher's duel is. Alex McBride nearly got one past Jordan Stagmiller, but the goalkeeper was able to deflect it and the ball went straight to him on a Axel Sjoberg header on the subsequent corner. Stagmiller had the harder time of it making 4 saves to Lyon's 1 to keep the scoreless tie going into halftime.
The tie didn't last very long: Jake Taylor came up the flank and fought to keep possession in traffic (even momentarily losing the ball) before sending a cross to Louis Bennett II who flicked it in for the lead. The feel of the game changed almost immediately as being down sent St. John's into a panic. The Golden Eagles and Red Storm had traded yellows in the 39th minute (David Selvaggi no doubt made his older brother Anthony, holder of the career yellow cards record for Marquette, proud), but otherwise the match had been relatively polite. After LB2's goal, St. John's racked up 13 fouls and 4 yellow cards in the remainder of the match. One of those fouls should have been a caution and arguably an ejection when Selvaggi was pushed down from behind inside the box. Stagmiller managed to block the penalty shot and St. John's laid off their aggressive play enough to avoid any more cards.
St. John's managed a late push in the closing minute, but once Lyon lined up to take a goal kick with just under a minute left on the clock the match was all but done. Instead of the miracle the Red Storm needed, the Golden Eagles roped up the ball and got it to C Nortey who sent it past Stagmiller for a not quite last second goal. We'll count it as a stirring tribute to Sebastian Jansson, anyway, since we were celebrating the history of the program.
The clock runs on for Marquette's scoreless streak which now stands in tenth place amongst all NCAA streaks ever. Lyon's 8th shut out of the season brings his career total to 28 which moves him into a tie with Jim Welch for career shutouts by a Golden Eagles goalkeeper.
808 minutes. No pressure.
Up next: At Butler, Wednesday night at 6 pm Central.