Every year, both men and women’s soccer compete against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. On Monday night, the women ended a 27 game unbeaten streak, beating UWM 1-0.
Sadly, the men could not equal that feat, falling to the Panthers in the 46th Milwaukee Cup, 2-1, at Valley Fields.
Marquette opened the game strong, finding early crosses and maintaining a stranglehold on possession early, but no ball found the back of the net. The Panthers grew into the game and started holding the ball more, and eventually, on a break, found themselves lucky enough to watch a cross deflect off the left post and into the path of Milwaukee striker Sean Holmes, who slotted home from close range in the 29th minute to put the Panthers ahead. Honestly, in real time, it didn’t look like there was much any Marquette player could do on the goal; Leo Villa forced a tough cross, Luis Barraza played the ball right on the post, and the rest of the defense stuck with their men for the most part. One whacky deflection later and the ball found the wrong foot. The post giveth, the post taketh away.
The half ended with teams fairly even; both enjoyed spells of possession and chances to either extend the lead or even up the score. Freshman Alan Salmeron came on for his college debut (more on that later), playing in the midfield alongside Martin Alba and Luka Prpa.
UWM opened the second half strongly and they were rewarded with a badly played ball that found its way to the foot of Josh Kaye and into the back of the net on a short cross. Pure defending mistake and completely preventable. Marquette looked defeated for the next few minutes (actually, for the first twenty minutes after the break), misplacing passes, not communicating well, losing possession, and scrambling to make defensive plays.
Lucky not to come completely undone and give up what felt like an inevitable third or fourth Panther goal, Marquette battled back to find a spark in the game’s final moments, when future All Big-East defender Patrick Seagrist (Sam’s note: I am in full Patrick Seagrist stan mode, he’s one of the most talented players I’ve seen in the gold and blue, although granted I have only been around since 2012 in terms of my Marquette soccer fandom) put a header into the back of the net after a corner kick was knocked out to Zak Wegner, who played the ball into Diego Nunez, who managed to flick a header across goal and over about 7 Panther defenders to find Seagrist.
Unfortunately, a second goal was not to be, with the heroic efforts of the Milwaukee keeper stopping 4 or 5 fantastic shots from finding the back of the net. The Panthers bent but didn’t break, and they are to be commended for playing a tough game and keeping Marquette from completely breaking down their defense (he says, while frantically googling how to fire an entire university into the sun).
Such is life. Marquette will need to bounce back after the tough derby loss and re-focus on their Big East campaign. They have their first three points, and they need to probably tally 14 to guarantee a berth in the Big East tournament. The Golden Eagles go out to New Jersey (eww, New Jersey) on Saturday to compete with the Seton Hall Pirates.