A 54th minute goal was the deciding difference between Marquette and Wisconsin in their men’s soccer contest on Wednesday night, as sadly, the Golden Eagles lost, 1-0, to their in-state rivals. Marquette drops to 3-6-0 on the season as they wrap up non-conference play for 2018.
Wisconsin’s goal from Andrew Akindele in the 54th minute was more of a tragedy for Marquette than merely providing the match with its final score. Wisconsin had outshot Marquette 8-1 in the first half, and through the first two minutes of the second half, they had already forced freshman keeper Cedrik Stern to make his second and third saves of the night to keep the match scoreless. Less than one minute after Martin Alba subbed into the match for Zak Wegner just past the 53 minute mark, this happened.
That’s Alba left laying on the pitch as Wisconsin pushes forward to create the goal for Akindele. Now, the good news is that the redshirt senior stayed in the game and played another 20 minutes, so he’s clearly mostly okay. Alba has had a notorious problem with staying healthy for the Golden Eagles, playing in just 23 matches in the past three seasons. When he’s healthy, he’s usually been a starter for Louis Bennett, although he’s been playing limited minutes as a sub these past few weeks.
The bad news is that Akindele’s goal was enough for Wisconsin to hold on for the win. Marquette was able to assemble eight shots against the Badgers following the goal, and made UW keeper Dean Cowdroy make two saves to preserve his clean sheet. One came in the 65th minute off the boot of Diego Nunez shortly after a corner kick, and the other came in the 69th minute off the head of midfielder Luka Prpa. MU would manage three more shots after Prpa’s attempt, and it reads like a brunch buffet of ways to shoot that aren’t on net: Blocked, High, and Wide.
We have to give credit to Cedrik Stern here. This was the third appearance of the year and thus his career for Stern, and this one went MUCH better than his first two. Against both Saint Louis and Michigan, the German let in three goals in the first 30 minutes of the match, thus rendering most of the remaining hour somewhat meaningless. Here he made three saves and allowed only Akindele’s game winner. Improvement is improvement, even if at least some of the improvement goes to the defenders in front of Stern making his life a little bit easier.
Up Next: As mentioned before, Marquette is now done with non-conference matches, leaving them the seven games remaining on the Big East calendar for the season. Up next is Georgetown this coming Saturday at home in the Valley. The Hoyas are 5-3-1 on the season after losing at home to #6 Louisville earlier this week, and the Big East preseason favorites are just 1-1-0 in league action after two weeks.