When the moment presents itself to you, take advantage of the opportunity.
It’s a simple idea, but it’s one that benefited Marquette men’s soccer big time on Saturday night. Not just once, but twice, as the #23 ranked Golden Eagles went down to Indianapolis and came back with a 2-0 victory over Butler. The win moves Marquette to 7-1-1 on the year and 1-1-0 in Big East play. Since it’s MU’s first win in league action, that moves them to three points in the table… and into a five-way tie for first place, with Akron and their two draws (more on that later) as the only team in the Midwest Division of the Big East to not pick up a win yet.
The first big moment came in the 23rd minute, when Marquette played a ball out in front of the Butler net. Two BU defenders were there, and easily corralled the ball…. But both Abdoul Karim Pare and Mitar Mitrovic were relatively nearby, and instead of BU’s Alejandro Moroso-Maza making a strong definitive play with the ball to deposit it somewhere less worrisome on the field, he let it dangle on his foot just long enough for Pare to take it away from him and boot it past keeper Caleb Norris.
A strong play in a big spot by Pare to be sure, but at the end of the first half, it wasn’t an undeserved goal by Marquette, either. The Golden Eagles outshot the Bulldogs 9-3 in the first 45 minutes of the match, and five more shots had to be stopped by Norris to keep the margin at 1-0 at the break. On the other end of the field, MU keeper Ludwig Malberg had to stay on his toes, as Butler made the most of their chances, putting two of their three attempts on frame, but Malberg made the stops on both of them.
Butler had a little bit of an advantage in opportunities in the early part of the second half, tallying three shots in the first 20 minutes against just one for the Golden Eagles. MU had the better shot, as Norris had to make another save on a Pare attempt in the 47th minute. With the game still very much in the balance in the 67th minute, Butler flubbed a throw in deep in their own end. Antonio Costabile stuck his head in front of the thrown ball, nudged it towards Brooklyn Merl, and ZIP, it’s in the net, 2-0 Marquette!
The goal is Merl’s sixth of the year in nine matches, and keeps him in a tie for the most goals scored by a Big East player this season alongside Georgetown’s Jacob Murrell and St. John’s Nicolas Fleuriau Chateau, both of whom also netted a goal on Saturday night.
Believe it or not, that’s when Marquette seized control of the match. The Golden Eagles would use their offense to keep the Bulldogs at bay for the remaining 25 minutes, outshooting their foes 5-2. Two of those Marquette attempts would have to be saved by Norris to keep the match’s score where it was, and a third cracked off the right post instead of going in the net. Meanwhile, Malberg went the entire second half without needing to make a save to preserve his fourth shutout of the season.
How about some highlights, courtesy of GoMarquette.com and FloFC?
Up Next: Marquette will return to action with a Friday/Monday home two-fer next weekend with one Big East contest and one non-conference match. The league match is against St. John’s, who moved to 4-3-2 on the year after going to a 1-1 draw with #4 Akron on Saturday night, but that’s not even the whole story. The Red Storm took red cards — PLURAL — in the 26th and 48th minutes, including one to make a save that led to a missed Akron penalty kick and still secured the tie. Monday’s match is against Northern Illinois, and the Huskies lost their fourth consecutive contest on Saturday night, losing 2-0 to Evansville to drop to 2-6-0 on the season.