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Louis Bennett II's Perseverance Earns #7 Marquette Men's Soccer A Home Draw With Villanova

The Golden Eagles kept their home unbeaten streak alive as they earned a point in the wild Big East standings.

LB2, the hero of the day.
LB2, the hero of the day.
Maggie Bean/MarquetteImages.com

Saturday night's contest against Villanova wasn't a picnic for a lot of guys on Marquette's men's soccer team, but it especially wasn't fun for Louis Bennett II.  The Wildcats picked up four fouls and two yellow cards in the first 15 minutes, with the second card going to VU's Oscar Umar for a particularly hard tackle on the sophomore midfielder.  Two minutes later, it would be Umar's shot that goalkeeper Charlie Lyon couldn't quite corral leading to an easy tap in for Hayden Harr that put Villanova up 1-0.

The Wildcats would proceed to make Ric Flair proud and resort to every dirty trick in the book.  All told, Villanova would be whistled for nine first half fouls and then they doubled down on their tactics in the second half, where they were called for 10 infractions.  Given what was happening around, him, you can't fault Bennett for earning a yellow card of his own in the 21st minute, but that probably also explains how he ended up having to come off for Sebastian Jansson in the 30th minute due to injury.

Bennett returned for the start of the second half as the Wildcats continued to muck up play as much as possible, taking a page out of DePaul's playbook against Marquette last season to protect their lead.  It didn't have the best results, as MU would end up outshooting VU 24-13 over the course of the match, but it worked where it mattered: the space behind keeper Will Steiner stayed empty.

That is, at least until the 89th minute.  You have to play the full 90 minutes to earn three points in the Big East, and Bennett proved that.  Following a booming punt by Lyon, Jansson ended up with the ball wide left, but just close enough to make Steiner come out and chase him.  Given the time scenario, I'm still amazed he made the challenge, but he did.  He was too late to stop Jansson's cross which landed at the feet of Bennett.  His first touch settled it, his second touch went rifling into the top of the net as all Steiner could do was stare glumly as he was wildly out of position to do anything about it.

That sent the match to overtime, where both teams combined to manage just 10 shots - five each - and the match ended in a draw.  Strangely, Villanova was whistled for just two fouls in the extra sessions, both in the first 10 minute period.  Odd, that.

Harr's goal snapped a home scoreless streak of 699:22 that Marquette had running, going back to October 26, 2013.  That goal was a golden goal by Georgetown's Ted Helfrich, which means Marquette hadn't allowed a goal during regulation in the Valley since September 15 of last year.

The draw keeps Marquette and Villanova tied for fifth place in the Big East as we make the turn from the first half to the second half of the league schedule.  Marquette's next three matches are going to go a long way to determining how the league table shakes out at the end of the season, as they'll play each of the teams that are currently in the top three spots.

Highlights!

Up Next: It's time for a make up match!  Providence was unable to get to Milwaukee a few weeks ago, so they'll try again for a contest this coming Wednesday night.  The Friars (8-2-1, 3-0-1 Big East) earned a shocker 2-0 win over Georgetown back on Wednesday morning (no, not a typo) and picked up three more points on Saturday with a 3-2 win over St. John's.