Diego Nunez’s 6th minute goal was not enough for Marquette men’s soccer on Saturday night as they suffered a 2-1 defeat at the feet of #15 Butler. With the loss and just one match remaining, the Golden Eagles no longer have the opportunity to earn enough points to make the Big East tournament.
With Butler coming in only 2-5-0 in their last seven matches and coming directly off a double overtime loss to DePaul where the gamewinner was scored with five seconds left, it seemed possible that the Bulldogs would be ripe for a another solid kick to the gut. Nunez finding the back of the net on MU’s first shot of the game off a Butler turnover definitely lent credence to that idea. Still, even with their recent downturn, the Bulldogs were still the best scoring offense in the league coming into the match, so keeping the lead wouldn’t be easy.
That was made obvious in the 16th minute when Lewis Suddick capitalized on a ball that MU keeper Luis Barraza couldn’t maintain control of after an initial save. Suddick tracked down the ball and sent it into the otherwise unattended net to level the match at one apiece.
After controlling the first half with an 11-3 shots advantage, Butler tacked on an insurance goal by a nice little play between Michael Peay and David Goldsmith, Butler’s leading scorer. Peay got the ball deep on the right hand side and flipped it out in front of the net. It was an easy ball for Goldsmith to get underneath and head past Barraza in the 66th minute for what would turn into the game winning goal.
Marquette would manage just one shot for the remainder of the game, a desperation attempt from freshman midfielder Luka Prpa with one second remaining that got stopped a Butler defender before it could find its way into the net. It’s the first time in the last five matches that Prpa has not tallied a point. Also, thanks to Goldsmith snagging the game winner, he’s now pipped Prpa for the top point total in the league, 25-24, headed to the final match day this coming Thursday. Providence’s Julian Gressel also snuck past Prpa, so the Big East men’s soccer version of the Art Ross trophy is definitely still up for grabs.
Up Next: One final match for 2016. The Golden Eagles have nothing left to play for this season, outside of pride and sending John Pothast and Mac Wheeler off on a high note. They’ll be hosting DePaul on Thursday night, with first kick scheduled for 7pm. DePaul (9-6-2, 4-4-0 Big East) is one point in front of Georgetown for the final Big East tournament berth, but also one point behind a third place logjam, so they will be quite motivated to get the three points from a win.