While Marquette is 2-0-0 for the first time since 2000, the team knows there is plenty for it to improve upon.
In victories against Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Wisconsin-Green Bay, there were periods in which the team was on its back foot. Marquette might be giving the ball away a bit more than it would like, and that is something it can improve upon.
“What we’ve been talking about lately is just keeping the ball,” redshirt junior Adam Lysak said. “We kind of put ourselves in a hole when we give away the ball and have to chase, and the thing we can improve upon the most is definitely keeping the ball, especially in the offensive third.”
One way to do that in the mind of the team’s head coach, Louis Bennett, is to get the ball to junior midfielder Bryan Ciesiulka more.
Ciesiulka scored the first goal against Milwaukee and controlled the tempo against Green Bay. Bennett says there’s much more to Ciesiulka than most see and that he is one of the country’s best.
“He is a fantastic player,” Bennett said. “A lot of people see a quick, explosive guy but they don’t realize that he’s tactically very savvy and he has the ability, because he has a low center of gravity, of keeping the ball under pressure and playing simple.”
One way to make the results a bit more assured is to take more chances. Marquette has out-shot its opponents in both games this season, and while it has scored four goals, there are still plenty left unscored.
Senior winger Anthony Selvaggi has been one of the positives of the season so far and has been a consistent menace on the right wing. He says the team has yet to reach its potential and more chances need to be taken.
“I think we haven’t had the best game yet that we can have,” Selvaggi said. “Attacking-wise we definitely need to put the ball in the back of the net more. As a team offensively, the chances are there, and it’s just a matter of capitalizing on them.”
This weekend, Marquette starts its weekend off by hosting Illinois-Chicago. The Flames beat the Golden Eagles last season in the team’s first game of the season, 2-1 in Chicago.
The Flames have a few impressive players, including senior midfield playmaker Ivan Stanisavljevic, who has been predicted by many to be the Horizon League’s player of the year.
Bennett expects a tough challenge from the Flames and says he has an idea of what type of style his team will be up against.
“They like to get separation,” Bennett said. “The minute they lose it, they drop back to keep you in front of them. Then as soon as they’ve got you in front of them, they try to keep you there, and then they’ll break.”
On Sunday, the team heads to Des Moines, Iowa to take on Drake. Bennett says the team will be challenged on the trip.
“Going to Drake and winning at Drake will be very difficult,” Bennett said. “It will be high energy. They play off campus at a community field. It’s fast and furious and will be very difficult.”
One huge difference for the team this season is that all of its players are fit. Unlike last season, they all can train together, a huge difference from barely having enough for training last season. Now, the team can get play together more and be even better than last season.
“It makes a world of difference,” Lysak said. “You can go into practice and everyone is fit and no one is leaving because of a cramp or leaving games early because they’re running out of air or their muscles just can’t handle it.”