The good news is that Marquette men’s soccer didn’t lose for the fourth time in Big East play and eighth time this season on Saturday night at Valley Fields.
The bad news is that Marquette also did not win, going to a 1-1 draw with Connecticut. That is MU’s sixth straight match without a win in Big East play, dropping them to 0-3-3 with four matches left to go. The Golden Eagles are actually winless in their last seven matches overall, as there was a 2-1 loss to Saint Louis mixed into the middle of league action.
The first half ended with the two sides still scoreless. UConn had the overall offensive edge, outshooting Marquette 5-4, but it was the Golden Eagles that made the most of their opportunities. Half of MU’s shots were on frame, and Huskies keeper Michael Stone had to make two saves, both in the first 11 minutes, to preserve his clean sheet through 45 minutes.
Business picked up in the second half, as the first shot for either team shook the twine. Thanks to passes from Beto Soto and Lukas Sunesson, that shot came off the foot of Marquette’s Mitar Mitrovic, and the Golden Eagles led 1-0 in the 51st minute.
Soto ➡️ Sunesson ➡️ Mitrovic ➡️ GOAL#WeAreMarquette pic.twitter.com/evKiu2zSih— Marquette Soccer (@marquettesoccer) October 16, 2022
In the 68th minute, Marquette keeper Chandler Hallwood finally made his first save of the match. It came on UConn’s eighth shot of the match, and it obviously preserved his shutout. It preserved it for a whole one second before Scott Testori made an impact less than a minute after subbing onto the pitch.
Scott Testori with his third goal of the year and it's another big time goal for the Huskies! pic.twitter.com/mgpH9QNHDx— UConn Men's Soccer (@UConnMSOC) October 16, 2022
A great play by Testori to make a heads up play and equalize the match. Also a bit of bad luck for both Hallwood and Tristan Ronnestad-Stevens, as Hallwood’s save on Soren Ilsoe tipped upwards towards Ronnestad-Stevens’ arm, and he twisted his body away from committing a handball and thus giving UConn a PK.... but the twist also moved him out of position to get to the ball before Testori did.
Sometimes fractions of an inch and fractions of a second are the difference, and that was the case here.
Both keepers would be busy over the final 20 minutes of the match. Both men made two saves, including a great leaping save by Hallwood in the 73rd and another fantastic reflex reaction by the MU keeper to paddle away a close range attempt right in front of him in the 87th minute.
73' | What a save by Chandler Hallwood!— Marquette Soccer (@marquettesoccer) October 16, 2022
MU 1 - UConn 1#WeAreMarquette pic.twitter.com/Osr7fkmQ5E
87' | UConn Chance— UConn Men's Soccer (@UConnMSOC) October 16, 2022
Great buildup play by the Huskies but Testori is denied his second goal of the game. pic.twitter.com/aZiDwN1VuL
The fourth save of the game by Michael Stone might be the most important one in the entire match, or at the very least, it was the most impactful one in the entire match. I’m just going to turn it over to the UConn Twitter, because that way you can see the final 28 seconds of the match and I don’t have to try to explain exactly what happened.
FULL-TIME | Both teams going for the winner in the final minute. Michael Stone comes up BIG with a save at the death to earn us a point on the road!#StandByMe pic.twitter.com/bwTRTHNXVp— UConn Men's Soccer (@UConnMSOC) October 16, 2022
Yep, both teams had a crack at the net in the final 20 seconds. Somehow, it’s actually good news that Hallwood didn’t make a save on UConn’s attempt, because I think Marquette doesn’t manage to counter attack as well as they did if Hallwood is throwing the ball down the field instead of what I believe is Edrey Caceres launching it towards Soto and Abdoul Karim Pare with his foot.
I think it rules that UConn put up the final 28 seconds of the match. Good job giving the people what they want, Huskies.
My God can you imagine if Soto had figured out the timing to chip it over Stone instead of full fledged firing it and hoping it pops through? Not criticizing him, just mulling over the possibilities.
Up Next: Marquette has four tries left for a win in Big East action, and two of them are coming up in the next week, one on the road and one at home. They’ll be on the road for an afternoon contest against DePaul on Wednesday, since the Blue Demons don’t and presumably never will have lights at Wish Field. DePaul is 3-4-6 on the year and also winless in the league at 0-2-4. They’re coming off a 1-1 draw against #13 Xavier on Saturday in Chicago where the Blue Demons scored in the 69th but allowed the equalizer in the 77th.