A 23rd minute goal was all she wrote Saturday night as the Marquette men’s soccer team defeated Creighton 1-0 to stay perfect in Big East play.
The match was the first time the Golden Eagles faced Creighton as a member of the new Big East, but it also marked the opening of the newly renovated grandstands at Valley Fields.
The 2013 season has had its ups and downs, but the surprise win on Saturday along with the 4-0-0 start to conference play is finally displaying Marquette’s true colors.
Four games into Big East play, the team sits comfortably atop league standings with 12 points. It defeated ranked conference opponents Butler and Creighton, and with Georgetown falling to Xavier over the weekend, the Golden Eagles are in the driver’s seat with no signs of taking their foot off the gas.
“We’re 12 points in the Big East right now, so that’s huge for us,” redshirt junior goalkeeper Charlie Lyon said. “We’ve got a week to prepare now for next game, so to come in and get on a good roll like we have is huge just to really start to pull ahead away from everybody else.”
Shot totals were even at the end of the match. The first half had both teams even at seven a piece, but the difference was Marquette took dangerous chances and Creighton did not.
One of these chances, which seemed routine, was the eventual game winner. In the 23rd minute, senior defender Paul Dillon ran uncontested down the left touchline and sent in a cross. The cross landed on the right foot of redshirt sophomore forward C. Nortey, who one-timed the half-volley past the Bluejay net minder and ran to the student section for a Lambeau Leap-style celebration.
Nortey refrained from his normal backflip celebration after being advised by athletic trainers to stop backfliping for the time being.
“Paul gave me a great a ball tonight, and I made a good run, and I just tapped it in, and I didn’t know what to do with myself,” Nortey said. “My trainer asked me to not flip for a little while so I’m keeping it on the d-low.”
Backflip celebration or not, the goal is Nortey’s fourth game winner in as many Big East games for Marquette and is a team leading seventh goal on the season.
Energy levels from both teams heated up following the goal. The game became a bit chippy and tempers were tested, forcing the referee to pull out a couple yellow cards, but when the final whistle blew, Marquette completed the upset and the shutout.
Lyon’s clean sheet is his sixth of the season and third in Big East play. Coach Louis Bennett credits the shutout to the stellar performances and consistency from Lyon and the backs.
“Lyon is really coming into his own, I mean as a leader as well as a captain,” Bennett said, “and with Axel (Sjoberg), Eric (Pothast), and Brady (Wahl) playing some of the best soccer they’ve played, I think its fantastic. I mean credit to all.”
The squad now has a much-deserved break after playing five games in two weeks. They have seven days off before traveling to face Providence in Rhode Island Saturday at noon.