With a penalty kick goal in the first half and two second half goals just seconds apart, Marquette was able to hold on to defeat Dayton on Monday night by a final margin of 3-2. The win is the 200th in the career of Marquette head coach Louis Bennett.
Things did not start out favoring the Golden Eagles, as they had to wait until the 22nd minute to register their first shot of the game. By that point, Dayton had already fired off six shots, two of which needed saving to keep the match scoreless. Kelmend Islami would finally break the ice in the game when he was knocked/dragged to the pitch deep in front of the net, earning himself a penalty kick. The redshirt senior buried the shot to get Marquette on the board and move him to a new single season career high in goals with three through just four matches.
Dayton equalized in the 58th minute after they were getting chance after chance to possess the ball deep in their final offensive third. The ball went pinging around in front of MU keeper Luis Barraza, and finally Maik Schoonderwoerd knocked it past the freshman. The Golden Eagles bounced back less than 10 minutes later. They scored twice less than two minutes apart, first with Jesper Larsson cleaning up a mess left behind by Dayton keeper Justin Saliba in the 67th minute, then with David Selvaggi sending home a cross from Islami for what would turn into the game winning goal.
Things got tense in the final 15 minutes when Dayton's Tommy Harr bolted past most of Marquette's defense and rifled a goal home. It was kind of a surprising play in that with so little time left, you would have figured that MU would have been leaning towards parking the bus, but it was also not very surprising at all, as Dayton was getting chance after chance after chance deep in Marquette's defensive end. Twice in the second half, UD had a ball slowly (or, as it seemed to us up in the grandstand, S-L-O-W-L-Y) roll in front of a gaping wide open net, but not a single Flyer was on the business end of any of those attempted passes, and the Flyers never got a goal off of them. Eventually, though, Marquette got serious about the business at hand and focused on making the simple play to get everything buried into the deep far corner to burn off the last vestiges of the game clock in order to seal the win.
Islami was the clear Man of the Match with a goal and an assist on the eventual game winner. Barraza made just one save to pick up the win in his first game in front of his new home crowd, and that save came way back in the 17th minute.
Martin Alba started in the defensive midfield and played all of the first half, seemingly without difficulty, but he was replaced in the lineup by Driton Zyteja after intermission. Zyteja went the full 45 of the second half, so we'll have to keep an eye on that going forward.
Marquette moves to 2-1-1 on the season with the victory, with the only loss coming in overtime against Oregon State in the first match of the season.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com?
Up Next: The Golden Eagles continue their homestand when they return to action on Friday night. It'll be the second game of a tripleheader in the Valley when MU hosts Nebraska-Omaha (4-0-0)