You don’t see a lot of one-sided asskickings in soccer. Even back on Friday, when Marquette lost 4-0 to Kentucky, the Wildcats only had a 15-14 edge in shots at the end of the game.
It was definitely a one-sided asskicking on Monday night, though, as MU got on the board early and often for a 4-0 win over Northern Illinois. Backing up that assertion of an asskicking is the 15-4 shot differential favoring the Golden Eagles.
It was a night of firsts over and over again, and I don’t just mean because it was Marquette’s first win of the season. Things started at exactly the 19 minute mark of the game when Jan Maertins scored the first goal of the game, volleying a cross from Luka Prpa off the near post. Not only was it Marquette’s first goal of the season, it was also the first goal of Maertins’ collegiate career.
The firsts continued in the 43rd minute when Prpa got his first career goal on a penalty kick. Connor Alba was the one that drew the foul and Prpa made NIU pay for their error.
The odd connective tissue between the goals continued in the second half when Alba scored his first goal of his collegiate career. It was a nifty bit of dribbling in the 55th minute and a solid shot to the far post to keep the ball away from the oncoming defenders.
Prpa wrapped the scoring up in the 65th minute, putting an emphatic stamp on his candidacy for Freshman of the Week next Monday. Jack Alberts tapped him a slick little pass, and Prpa flipped the ball over the charge from NIU keeper Drew Donnally.
The firsts didn’t stop on the offensive end. The shutout was the first clean sheet of redshirt keeper Mac Wheeler’s career, and he picked up his first career win as well. It’s hard to say that he played a better game than Luis Barraza did on Friday, as the Huskies mounted just four shots and only one on goal. Still, if Louis Bennett is going to stick to a rotation for now, we can expect to see Barraza back in net for Marquette’s next outing......
Up Next: ..... which will be in Chicago on Friday night. Marquette will be a hop, skip, and a jump away from the United Center to take on Illinois-Chicago. The Flames are 0-1-1 after a weekend trip to the West Coast against San Diego State and Gonzaga.