This is the team’s second win and shutout. The defense was once again a key factor in the win, only allowing seven shots and no shots on goal until late in the second half.
“We limited Xavier to not that many chances and the chances they did get were kind of half chances, they were chances from pretty far out,” senior defender Paul Dillon said. “We’re finally getting to where we want to be, standing people up, keeping them in front of us, and not giving away little pity goals.”
Redshirt junior goalkeeper Charlie Lyon was not pressured often, if at all, and recorded his fourth clean sheet of the season.
Neither team started off strong. The first shot of the game was not registered until the 16th minute. Marquette didn’t have a shot until the 27th minute, but after the first shot, the Golden Eagles gained momentum and put some quality chances together.
Those chances piled up, and in the 31st minute, Marquette struck.
Starting in the defensive end, defender Eric Pothast blocked a shot and, in transition, freshman Coco Navarro fed redshirt sophomore forward C. Nortey at the midline. Nortey beat two defenders and, using the last defender as a screen, cranked a shot down the middle and beat the keeper for the game’s lone goal. Nortey backflipped in celebration.
His performance earned him a spot on the Big East Men’s Soccer Weekly Honor Roll and his goal was nominated for the best of the week by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
In the final minute of the game, Xavier earned two corners, but the first was knocked out and the second was cleared and Marquette escaped with 1-0 result.
Even though Marquette won the game, it was by no means its best outing this season. The offense put up a season-low 10 shots and three shots on goal. However, the strong defense and ball work led to the result.
The return of senior midfielder Bryan Ciesiulka provided Marquette with a major emotional lift. The all-American has been out since the season opener against UW-Milwaukee with a concussion. Ciesiulka came on as a substitute in the 25th minute and played 58 minutes in the game.
“He was a little exhausted at the end of the game,” coach Louis Bennett said. “(Ciesiulka’s) now back in the mix in that position, it just makes us stronger in the midfield.”
The schedule only gets tougher from here, and so do the breaks between matches. The Xavier game kicked off a three-game road trip in a span of eight days.
Preparations will be short between matches, with upcoming opponents UW-Madison and Villanova.
“We’re not even thinking about Villanova,” Dillon said. “Other than that, just Madison is the focus right now.”
The road trip continues Wednesday night as Marquette takes on in-state rival UW-Madison in the final non-conference game of the regular season.