For the eighth time in 10 matches in this spring season, Marquette men’s soccer headed to overtime on Saturday afternoon at Valley Fields. For the sixth time in eight overtime matches this season, the Golden Eagles emerged with a victory. This time, it was a 1-0 win over Butler.
Lukas Sunesson scored his team leading sixth goal of the season and his second overtime game winner of the year in the 94th minute thanks to a penalty kick created by a foul drawn in the box by Beto Soto on the far right side of MU’s attacking area. It went a little something.... like this:
It was maybe the most muted golden goal celebration I’ve ever seen, but perhaps that’s because the Golden Eagles could see that Butler keeper Gabriel Gjergji did snag a little bit of Sunesson’s low rocket before it popped into the net to end the match. Maybe everyone knew it was a little bit lucky to win. Maybe everyone thought it was a little tacky to have a huge celebration when, to a certain extent, the referee’s decision to award the penalty kick decided the match as opposed to either team making an outstanding play to put the ball in the net in extra time. Maybe they just didn’t want to run and jump and shout and celebrate quite literally right in Gjergji’s face after he didn’t quite come up with the stop on the PK. Who can say?
The goal and thus the win moves the Golden Eagles to 8-1-1 on the season and 5-1-1 in Big East play. They have now clinched one of the two Midwest Division spots in the Big East tournament with one match left to be played. That gives Marquette three straight conference tournament appearances after missing three straight from 2015 through 2017.
While the match was decided on a penalty kick, I don’t think you can say it was an undeserved result for the Golden Eagles. Marquette had the advantage in terms of offensive opportunities in the match in regulation, outshooting Butler 14-6 and outdoing the Bulldogs 6-3 in shots on goal. MU really put the pressure on in the second half, firing off nine shots against just three from Butler, and the Golden Eagles forced Gjergji to make four saves to keep the match scoreless through 90 minutes. Two of Gjergji’s second half saves came in the final four minutes as the Golden Eagles mounted a final push to attempt to avoid sending the contest to overtime.
Up Next: The originally schedule Chicago State match for next weekend has been postponed, which I suspect actually means cancelled at this point of the season. As such, Marquette will be off until Saturday, April 10th, when they travel down to Cincinnati to face Xavier for the regular season finale. First kick on that one is set for Noon Central. Marquette will be looking to clinch the Midwest Division title in that match, while the Musketeers may be attempting to finish the season with a league win after going 0-4-1 up to this point. Xavier will host Butler on April 3rd before welcoming in the Golden Eagles in the regular season finale.