Marquette men’s soccer had one final chance to record a win in Big East play on Wednesday night. The Golden Eagles came in with a record of 0-5-4 in league action, and were already eliminated from contention for the conference tournament. No matter what, the match with St. John’s would be the end of the 2022 season.
And, boy, let me tell you, Marquette went out with a bang.
The Golden Eagles scored early, recording the game’s first goal in the 7th minute, then recorded what would be the match winner in the 34th minute, THEN picked up a man advantage on the Red Storm thanks to a straight red card immediately thereafter, then tacked on three more goals in the second half. Only a very late penalty kick ruined the party, as Marquette snagged the 5-1 victory over St. John’s to end the year at 5-9-4 overall and 1-5-4 in the Big East.
Beto Soto opened things up with a free kick from the right side of the St. John’s goal that was part perfectly placed skill shot and a teeeeeensy bit of luck as it caught the right carom to deflect off the post as well as SJU keeper Zenden Hart.
Marquette’s second goal went to Lukas Sunesson as he added to his team high in goals on the year on Senior Night. It came on a penalty kick generated by a frisky backheel play from Abdoul Karim Pare to put the ball out in front of Sunesson, and he drew the foul in the box. St. John’s seemed quite frustrated with the call, and after Sunesson cracked it into the bottom right corner of the net, it was 2-0.
The goal was Sunesson’s seventh of the season and 27th of his Marquette career. That ties him for the 10th most goals in program history with Cory Butler and Marshall Morehead, and it’s the most goals scored by any Marquette player in their career since C. Nortey had 30 when his tenure at MU wrapped up in 2015.
The red card came almost immediately after the restart, as MU’s Harvey Read charged forward to provide a header to SJU’s pass forward and Nigel Griffith extended his boot more than waist high to attempt to corral the ball in. Read’s run came from behind Griffith, so he had no idea that Read was going to be anywhere near his foot, but the referee elected to call it a dangerous and unnecessary play and sent him off. Less than two minutes later, SJU associate head coach David Janezic was sent off after a play in the general vicinity of the Johnnies’ bench. Unclear exactly what happened there, as the bench was not on camera at the time, but it seems clear that there was some unsporting language used from the bench.
ANYWAY, it was 2-0 Marquette at halftime even though the Red Storm had an 8-5 advantage on shots through 45 minutes. MU had the man advantage though, and that showed up in the shot numbers after the break. The Golden Eagles doubled up the Johnnies 14-7 in that department in the second half, but it didn’t actually turn into a third goal until the 72nd minute.
Not the most stylish goal from Brooklyn Merl, but it was a crafty play to use the ball’s natural bounce as he bodied it to the ground and take advantage of Hart being a bit out of his net to attempt to play the ball.
In the 86th minute, the Golden Eagles added insult to injury, except the injury was theirs. Harvey Read, he of the kick to the head earlier in the match, scored on this header, on a run that looked an awful lot like the one that landed a cleat on his head. That’s Donovan Jones on the free kick, making big use of his nine minutes of action in this contest in just his third appearance of the year.
Just trying to run out the clock with minutes left and a 4-0 lead? NOPE. MU got an advantage almost right away after the restart, and about 80 seconds later, Noah Madrigal found himself standing in front of a wide open net after backup netminder Ryan Foley’s challenge on the ball failed.
Jonas Moen is going to owe Chandler Hallwood a Coke, though. There was no reason for him to body Wesley Leggett in the box, even taking into account Leggett bodying Tristan Ronnestad-Stevens off the ball seconds earlier. Moen crumpled Leggett to the ground, easy PK call for the referee with the clock past the 88th minute mark, especially with nine cards already shown in the match and three of them past the 85th minute mark. Send the “y’all are going to cool it, and cool it now,” I’m fine with it.
In any case, Leggett popped home the PK to end Hallwood’s clean sheet with less than two minutes to play. That stinks, but it didn’t have an impact on the outcome.
The season is over now, and so we have to say farewell and THANK YOU to the seniors on the men’s soccer roster: Zyan Andrade, Ben Barkley, Chandler Hallwood, Alex Mirsberger, Harvey Read, Alan Salmeron, and Lukas Sunesson. It has been a wild, wild ride for these guys at Marquette, including everything from the program’s second ever Sweet 16 run, which happened to come amidst the unprecedented weirdness of playing under COVID protocols to beating the #1 ranked team in the country for the first time in program history, to having to fight to the very last match of the year for the team’s first Big East win of the year. It’s been all over the place, but these guys kept working and putting in the effort, on and off the field. That’s commendable and we have to tip our caps to them. Best wishes in whatever comes next, lads.