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Marquette Men’s Soccer Outlasts Top Seeded Creighton In Big East Semifinals

TWELVE ROUNDS OF PENALTY KICKS sends the Golden Eagles on to the title game!

Luka Prpa
Marquette made Luka Prpa’s first half goal stand up long enough for a draw against Creighton.
Facebook.com/MarquetteSoccer

What. The. Hell. Is. Happening.

After surviving a rally by #5 seed Xavier to advance out of the Big East tournament quarterfinals on penalty kicks this past Saturday night, #4 seed Marquette went to a 1-1 draw after 110 minutes against #1 seed Creighton in the semifinals on Wednesday night. That mean that more penalty kicks with a spot in the Big East championship game on the line.

After each team missed twice in the first four attempts, no one missed again until THE TWELFTH ROUND. That miss went to Creighton’s Julius Fohr, which set Josh Coan up for this:

My goodness.

Marquette wins the PK shootout, 10-9, and thus, it will be the Golden Eagles heading to Washington to face Georgetown on Sunday for the right to hoist the conference championship trophy. Instead of hosting the Hoyas, Creighton will be sitting and waiting to see if they have enough in their pocket to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

There was a shade of eerie familiarity to how the teams went about scoring the pair of goals in regulation. If you’ll recall, Creighton won the regular season meeting after answering a late Marquette equalizer in less than a minute. In this match, we saw Luke Haakenson clean up his own rebound to put the Jays up 1-0 in the 23rd minute.

Marquette keeper Luis Barraza made a wonderful save on Haakenson’s original attempt on the cross into the middle, but a combination of three players’ feet tangling up with each other allowed the ball to find the back of the net.

The Bluejays had the lead, but Marquette knew they could score against Creighton. They did so in the regular season, so there was no reason to believe they couldn't do it again. It turns out “again” was less than two minutes later, as the Golden Eagles returned the “immediate answer” favor from earlier in the season.

Patrick Seagrist got Zak Wegner free in the deep left corner, which led to a floating ball out in front of the net. CU keeper Paul Kruse, who had a claim on Barraza’s Big East Goalkeeper of the Year trophy, made a play to punch it clear. Except..... he only poked at it, which gave Luka Prpa a chance to push it back on net. Kruse got another partial touch on the ball leading to it bouncing into the net for the equalizer.

As important as Coan’s PK and Prpa’s goal were to Marquette advancing, the man of the match was Barraza. The first half was mostly even, with Creighton outshooting MU 9-5. The second half was a different story, with the Jays bombing away for 12 shots against just three for the Golden Eagles. Barraza made saves on three shots in the first half, and another four in the second to push the match to overtime.

He then made this save midway through the first overtime to keep things going:

And then this play as time was running out in the first extra session. A masterfully played sequence, because if he mistimes it, the ball is either in the net for the winner, or he commits a foul that awards Creighton a penalty kick.

On top of those plays, Barraza made a save on both of Creighton’s missed PKs in the early stage of the shootout. If he puts together another performance like this, MU might just find themselves celebrating on Sunday afternoon.

Up Next: Marquette will visit our nation’s capitol to face #2 seed Georgetown in the Big East title game on Sunday. First kick is set for 1pm Central, and it will be televised on FS2. The Hoyas advanced to the championship with a 4-0 win over Providence on Wednesday afternoon. Marquette and Georgetown went to a shocking scoreless draw during the regular season, as the Golden Eagles had to put together a shutout over the final hour with only 10 men.