Powered by a brace from redshirt senior Daniel Szczepanek, Marquette men’s soccer beat Seton Hall, 4-2, on Saturday night. It was the first win of the season for the Golden Eagles, who are now 1-5-1 on the season, and the first win in Big East action as well. They now have a record of 1-1-0 in league play, which puts them into a five-way tie for third place in the early goings of the nine match schedule.
Marquette got off to a hot start in the match, outshooting the Pirates 10-4 in the opening 45 minutes while scoring three of their four goals. Grant Owens got things started in the the 14th minute with a one-hopper of a header assisted by a cross from Connor Alba. MU’s second goal came less than seven minutes later when Szczepanek wrapped up the carom from a Brody Kraussel shot that was saved by SHU keeper Elliott Munford. Diego Nunez put his first goal of the season on the board right at the 30 minute mark as he collected an attempted clearance by Seton Hall and RIFLED the ball into the back of the net from just outside the 18 yard box.
Nick Najera clawed one back for the Pirates in the 53rd minute on a header from the top of the box as Seton Hall made a push forward. The Pirates recorded 14 shots after halftime against just six for the Golden Eagles. One of those six, however, was Szczepanek’s second of the night and he has freshman Tode Atlija to thank. Danski made use of his speed to run under a long Atlija clearance, used some agility to leap and poke it forward, and added some physicality to stay on his feet and ditch the Seton Hall defender that was with him. From there, it was just a matter of making Munford commit to a decision, and once he did, Szczepanek slotted it home in the 80th minute for MU’s fourth goal of the night.
The final 10 minutes were not without their drama. Andres Arcila found his way in deep behind the Marquette defensive line and scored to make it 4-2 with a shade over six minutes left, but any hope SHU had left went out the door when Najera added a red card to his goal on the night. That left the Pirates with just 10 men for the final four minutes and given the hot weather in Milwaukee over the past few days, Seton Hall just didn’t have anything left in the tank to overcome the odds.
Here’s a highlight package with all four Marquette goals:
Head coach Louis Bennett did make a tactical change in this game. For the first six matches of the season, the defense consisted of Patrick Seagrist, Brendan Skinner, Steffen Bohm, and Manuel Cukaj. Bohm, who played 19 minutes here, was replaced in the starting lineup by redshirt senior Jack Alberts, while Cukaj did not appear at all in the match. That gave MU a formation of three men on the back line, so the alteration could be completely for tactics against Seton Hall, or it could be an attempt to fix the defensive woes that Marquette has been plagued by over the past few matches. It could also be much simpler, that MU altered tactics because Cukaj was unavailable tonight. We’ll have to wait and see for sure.
Up Next: MILWAUKEE CUP TIME! The Golden Eagles will be on the east side of Milwaukee on TUESDAY NIGHT to face UW-Milwaukee in the 45th edition of this cross-town rivalry. Marquette has maintained possession of the cup since snagging a 2-0 win in 2014. The two teams have gone to draws in the past two meetings, allowing the cup to remain with the Golden Eagles. If they win or draw with the Panthers, it will be the longest stretch that MU has ever held onto the Milwaukee Cup, surpassing a three year streak from 1998-2000.