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Marquette Men’s Soccer Preview: vs Northern Illinois

The Golden Eagles look to continue their winning ways on Sunday morning.

Buffalo v Northern Illinois Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

1-0! Please don’t pay attention to the fact that it took three minutes longer than regulation to get there!

I kid, I kid. Marquette men’s soccer going to overtime in their first match in 14 months is no big deal. So it took the lads 93 minutes to put one into the net. Let’s focus on the good news, which is that Loyola Chicago didn’t figure out how to put one into MU’s net in 93 minutes as Beto Soto’s overtime golden goal was the only marker in the match.

Marquette is still figuring some things out this spring. Three men made their MU debuts at the first kick of the Loyola match, with transfer Harvey Read and redshirt freshman Jonathan Robinson starting in the back and freshman Beto Soto starting up front. Four of Marquette’s seven subs in the match were also gents making their blue and gold debuts. Jai Hsieh-Bailey and Noah Madrigal are freshmen, keeper Chandler Hallwood is a transfer, and Nick Guido sat out as a redshirt in 2019. 18 players made the field and seven of them had never played for head coach Louis Bennett before.... and Marquette still won at the end of the night.

Now, we have to admit that Marquette was a little lucky to win. After all, Loyola did outshoot MU 13-7 in the opener, including a margin of 10-3 in the second half. Hallwood made all three saves that Marquette had in the match after he had subbed into the match replacing Jackson Weyman. Two of those were in the final three minutes of regulation, including a really great leaping tip over the crossbar in the final 30 seconds.

Like I said, a little lucky.

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, and MU got enough luck to end up with a 1-0 win in the opener. Next step: Get a little bit better and get a few wins where you’re the clearly better side for 90 minutes.

Match #2: vs Northern Illinois Huskies (0-0-0)

Date: Sunday, February 7, 2021
Time: 11am Central
Location: Andy Glockner Memorial Bubble, Valley Fields, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Streaming: with Dan Avington on the call.
Live Stats: Sidearm Stats
Twitter Updates: @marquettesoccer

Marquette is 16-10-2 all time against Northern Illinois with wins in four of the last five and 10 of the last 12. Marquette has won the last two meeting, including 2019’s 3-1 encounter that featured all four goals in the opening 35 minutes. Shouts to Josh Coan.

That Marquette match in 2019 dropped Northern Illinois to 0-4-1 on the season, but they bounced back with a 7-7-1 record the rest of the way. I can’t really tell you what the projection for this season is for the Huskies, because it appears that the MAC is not doing a preseason poll, or at least they haven’t done one yet. They went 2-3-0 in the six team MAC last season and lost in their first game of the conference tournament to end the season, so take that for whatever you want.

I also don’t know what to make of NIU’s exhibition victory over Butler back on January 30th. The Huskies won 3-1 by scoring all three goals in the final 30 minutes of action after trailing 1-0 up to that point. The important point here is that the Bulldogs are the favorite to win the Midwest Division of the Big East, which is the same division where MU was picked to finish fourth out of five teams. But NIU closed them out and won in an exhibition match. But we also don’t know how seriously Butler took the exhibition which was broken up into three 30 minute segments instead of two halves.

Northern Illinois returns four of their top five scorers from the 2019 campaign, but the one they lost was top scorer (and former Golden Eagle) Jan Maertins, who had a team high seven goals and three assists to top the charts with 17 points. The good news is that the next three guys on the stat sheet were all north of 13 points. Twin brothers Anthony and Nick Markanich had 15 points and 13 points respectively, while Alex Welch, who scored against Butler in the exhibition, had 13 points. Welch actually led the team in assists with seven, while Anthony Markanich was #2 in that column with five helpers.

Martin Sanchez appeared in 14 of NIU’s 18 matches in 2019, logging the most minutes out of the three keepers that played at over 1,200. The redshirt sophomore from Minnesota clearly went through some things the last time we had college soccer, allowing 1.68 goals per 90 minutes and only stopping 71% of shots on frame. If Marquette can generate quality chances, things should be able to tip in their favor.