It looked like Marquette men’s soccer was going to extend their winning streak to four straight matches on Saturday night in Saint Louis, but things went off the rails late. An 86th minute penalty kick for the Billikens leveled the match at one a piece, and the score stayed at 1-1 after two overtime sessions to hand MU (3-1-1) their first draw of the 2016 season.
Connor Alba scored first in the match, giving Marquette a 1-0 lead in the 67th minute. You can kind of get an idea of what kind of match it was to that point when I tell you that Alba’s scoring shot was the seventh of the game. Combined. Between both teams. After more than an hour. Yeah.
The Golden Eagles dodged an equalizer late in the game when SLU fired a shot that easily beat goalkeeper Luis Barraza, but the referee had already whistled a foul inside the box on Saint Louis. The foul happened before the shot, so it was wiped clean. Whether or not that foul ended up perched in the referee’s head when he whistled a foul on Marquette in the waning minutes of the game is up for debate. That is what happened, though, and Max Karcher, a Wisconsin native, whistled the kick from the spot past Barraza to level the match at one.
Marquette put one shot on goal in the first overtime, and Saint Louis had two SOG, but the closest we came to a game winner in that session was when freshman Jan Maertins appeared to be fouled by way of a jersey pull in the last minute. The referee did not award the penalty kick to the Golden Eagles, even though SLU’s own video stream announcer thought that it would have been a worthy call. Marquette’s coaching staff was so heated about the non-call that head coach Louis Bennett earned a yellow card in between the two overtime frames while vociferously explaining his side of the story to the referee. I can’t help but think that part of Bennett’s complaint was that SLU was issued a PK for a much lesser foul, and this quote from the GoMarquette.com recap has Bennett pretty much saying exactly that:
“I don’t want to discredit Saint Louis at all, they are a very resilient team and they play a certain style,” Marquette head coach Louis Bennett said. “I thought that we showed some poise, balance and patience, which are all the things we look for. We scored a wonderful goal. I thought we were good for the win then. And there might have been some decisions that hurt our ability to win the game.”
MIGHT HAVE BEEN.
Praise must be issued to Barraza, who saved Marquette’s bacon in the second overtime session. Off a corner kick, SLU’s Akeem Richards hit the crossbar with a shot in the 102nd minute. He hit the crossbar flush, though, sending the ball out into the field of play. Quayyum Murana fired that rebound right back at the net, and somehow, I’m not entirely sure how, but somehow, Barraza came up with the save. All that traffic in front of the net, playing the original shot that hit the crossbar, recovering to stop another shot four seconds late.... WOO, that was one hell of a job by Barraza. That save capped off his best performance of the season, the first time this year where he started and did not give up a run of play goal. As a team, Marquette hasn’t given up a run of play goal since Barraza let in a UIC strike in the opening minute, more than 289 minutes ago.
One thing you’ll notice that didn’t come up in the course of this recap is mentioning freshman midfielder Luka Prpa. The reigning Big East Player of the Week was held without a point for the first time in four matches, snapping both his point and goal streaks. He’s still sitting on 15 points on the season, which is still one of the best totals in the country. As I pointed out in the preview for this match, it’s a little too early to get crazy pants excited about what Prpa is doing this season, and this match ending up supporting that idea. This was a low offense game for both sides, though, with both teams totaling just 11 shots each in 110 minutes. We’ll see how teams defend Marquette and Prpa going forward, and speaking of going forward....
Up Next: It’s time for the Milwaukee Cup! UWM comes to Valley Fields on Wednesday night for the 44th Milwaukee Cup as Marquette will be looking to hold onto the cup for the third consecutive year. Match time is set for 7pm, but I would suggest you get there early considering that nearly 2,000 people packed the Valley last time Marquette hosted the match and there is nowhere near enough parking for that many people down there.